A commercial solar energy system generates electricity from the sun’s rays to power a building’s HVAC system. Made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, the system’s solar modules harvest the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that can be used to power HVAC units, lights, computers and other electrical devices.
The two main types of solar power systems are stand-alone and grid-connected (or utility-interactive) systems:
The stand-alone systems are designed to operate independently of the electric utility grid and sized to supply certain DC or AC loads. In many stand-alone solar power systems, batteries are used for energy storage.
The grid-connected power systems are designed to operate parallel to, and interconnected with, the electric utility grid. This allows AC power produced by the solar system to either supply electricity to the building, or back-feed the grid when the solar system output is greater than the building’s electrical demand. In many states, this may allow business owners to take advantage of incentives to lower operating costs.
The SunSource® Commercial Energy System is a grid-tied PV system that uses Lennox’ solar-ready, 17 SEER Energence® 3- to 6-ton commercial rooftop unit as its platform. By adding up to 6 solar modules to an Energence unit, an effective efficiency of 34 SEER or beyond6 may be achieved. Each Energence rooftop unit can be equipped with up to 17 modules for single-phase or 25 solar modules for three-phase applications.
The solar modules use built-in microinverters to convert the captured energy from DC power to AC power.
The solar modules feed electricity directly to the solar-ready rooftop unit at a single point of connection, using the converted power to run the building’s central heating and cooling system. When the Energence rooftop unit is not operating, excess solar energy is supplied to other devices that use electricity, such as lighting, fans, computers and more. If the system generates more power than the building needs, it is sent back to local electric grid.
To further increase efficiency, a communication module provides real-time online monitoring of system status, energy production and environmental benefits. This 24-hour monitoring system provides data to offer a true picture of the environmental impact and savings achieved.