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Solar power

PostPost by: pauljones » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:16 pm

Is there any solar power gurus amounst us.?

Heres the deal

Im a low user of the crazy black magic sparky stuff. According to smart meter im only pulling 300watts generally. Give or take 4.5 to 5.5kwh per day.
So im after a system that will generate some to cover my 300w, or a portion of it at least.
Im not looking at a massive kwh system for a FiT profit. Just something that will cover my draw and reduce my need on the grid.

Anyone able to point me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance
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PostPost by: Gray » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:55 pm

Most Solar power installations still require the grid power supply to operate. So if the mains power has failed you still do not have electricity. Systems with battery storage can have a grid connection system that allows power supply when the mains is down, but not all do. The grid connection unit has to comply with standards to ensure your power does not get fed back into the grid when it is down, or it could electrocute those repairing the grid. I understand the latest Tesla unit does, but their earlier systems didn't.
If you just want to use renewable power try utility suppliers such as Bulb.
Your local solar panel installer should be able to provide options and quotes. They need to be appropriately registered for FIT eligibility.
There have been a number of fires caused by solar panel installations, mainly from memory due to poor power connectors, work is ongoing to improve standards.
Let me know if you need more information, its not something I deal with day to day, but have lots of information and contacts due to other renewables I'm more involved with.
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PostPost by: baileyman » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:45 pm

Another way to do it is to invest enough in a solar related company that you financially cover your electricity usage.

John
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PostPost by: gherlt » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:32 am

This issue depends a lot in your ethical commitment to solar energy.
If you want to "do something" then financial return should not be an issue, and if it is more about "I do not want to waste fossil/nuclear energy in my home", then it mostly will cost you a lot more money then just being connected to the grid. A lot.

If you want financial return, then invest in some kind of solar farms fonds, they (most probably) invest in projects to have financial return.
On a small scale (aka installation for one home) this is not yet viable without some government subsidies.
And less so, if you want electrical autonomy, more less so in the UK.
In winter you would need a lot of modules to cover a winter day, not to mentioned the batteries needed to "survive" a few rainy days. Lets just say it is not quite cost effective ..


On another level, what I have no information about is if "guerilla phovoltaics" are allowed in the UK.
They consist of a few modules which produce just something between 200W to 500W, just enough to reduce your "standby draw" to zero. They connect to the power socket and are legal (in Germany at least) if they comply with grid specifications (e.g. disconnect when no grid, etc ).
Investment is quite manageable, but also, there basically no financial return. Even if publicity they suggests so.

I did this in Spain on a larger scale (2.000W) and it worked quite well when you do some DIY to reduce costs and if you shift your high consumption processes (dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer) ) into the high production time (that was from 11h to 17h). Now, mistress did not like that and did not use it properly when I was away. Now we have batteries ($$$), no financial return, but quite satisfory days where total consumption is zero... Might detract you from other important tasks on your car, but keeps hands and enviroment clean.
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PostPost by: pauljones » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:44 am

Thanks for the informative responses.

I dont think i want to go off grid so to speak, or have a garage full of batteries.

I think what i want is a small 500w system so taking into effect a 80% efficiency ill be producing 400w. That will cover my needs with spare capacity.
The over production would essentially be wasted because i dont plan on joining feed in tarrifs. Also the 500w would in cloudy days or raining like now would only around 150w at best.

All im looking to do is cover some of my needs and on a good hour maybe even all of it.

I only have a garage roof as space but i do have a cupboard i can put the inverter/ rectifier into.

guerilla phovoltaics sound a good idea. Plug n play
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PostPost by: Gray » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:59 am

I doubt if "guerilla phovoltaics" are legal in the UK, it would have to comply with the UK grid connection regulations. Your house insurance may be compromised if PV is not installed by an appropriately qualified person and it probably will not comply with the Building Regulations Part P - what an unqualified person can do is quite limited.
The feed in tariff (FIT) is a fraction of what it was but would still be worth having as for domestic systems the export is estimated (I think 50% of capacity) and not measured, so the more you use the better financially. To get the FIT you need to use an approved installer, which I would recommend to avoid any potential issues.
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