Sunday, 6 May 2012

Red Letter Day for Solar Output.

We had our system installed on the 6th June 2011. The installers used the official government formulae to calculate the potential output we could reasonable generate.
Bizarrely, we have achieved the output promised exactly one month earlier than anticipated. Today's figures will take us beyond  2185kW/year giving us an even better return on our investment than anticipated.

  • Size of system. 2.66kWp
  • Number of panels. 14
  • Physical system size. 20sq mtrs
  • PV system output. 2185 kWh/year
  • Annual solar radiation. 1027 kWh/year

Those of you who use the SMA Sunny Beam monitor may be in for a pleasant surprise when checking your total output. My "Official" output meter whose figures  I use each quarter for FiT payments reads 2190, my Sunny Beam monitor shows 2149. The 41kW difference is down to the conservative nature of the monitor, SMA state it is intended to give you an "Indication" of output, but shouldn't be relied upon to accurately reflect "actual" output.

Yet another black mark against this brilliant hardware-useless software device.

It's too early to give actual "Return on Investment" (ROI) percentage figures for the year but I'd anticipate around 11%. I'd be VERY interested in other peoples experience based on their ROI. The initial high costs of an installation, but, higher FiT, compared to hugely reduced equipment and installation costs recently could show very different figures.

I'm a very happy guy, who's enjoying making the right decision 12 months ago. 

How about YOU?

I can only apologise for the lack of posts recently. A combination of holidays and illness have distracted me from the pleasure of detailing my solar powered experiences. Happily I'm back and feeling much better.

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  1. My 'useless' Sunny Beam monitor told me that we had a grid fault earlier this week. The 'fault' was that our grid voltage was higher than the voltage produced by our inverter - so nothing was being exported.
    This, our installer told me, can occur in country locations when demand is low but is unusual in towns such as ours. Anyway, sitting with his laptop in his van outside and using the inverter's Bluetooth connection he changed our output voltage. The fault disappeared immediately.
    Our inverter is in the roof so without the Sunny Beam I would not have known about the problem. Say no more?

    1. Hi Geoff. Perhaps you're right! Sometimes devices do provide a function we're not aware of. My complaint about the monitor is based on the many services we assume it will provide, but doesn't.
      Will you receive any payment from the installer or your power company for the missing exported output?
      Good luck.

    2. If I could prove what the loss was I would have a go. Honest.
      Incidentally, we have a 20 panel 3.9 kWh installation, installed November 2011 in North Norfolk. When the sun last came out properly, aided by clouds acting as reflectors, I noticed occasional output over 4.1 kWh.
      As I'm a Mac user, Sunny Beam offers me less than it offers you but I'm still pleased to have it. (When time allows I will connect it to a Mac to see if I can access whatever stored data there is).

  2. Hope your feeling better

    missed your posts

  3. Well done sir. Must be a good feeling knowing that the system has performed better than anticipated. Hope mine does the same. Very early days for us.

    May is not looking too good at present.

    We have a 3.9 kw system but the highest we have generated at any point in time has been 3.69 kw. I think this is set by our inverter which has been set to be building regs compliant and not put any more than 3.6 into the grid without the agreement of the grid.

    1. Hi Pete. Thanks for your kind comments, I am feeling much more like normal.
      My system is rated at 2.66kW, the highest output I saw last Summer was 2.56kW. As far as I'm aware there is no limiter on the inverter which is a Sunny Boy 2500HF inverter. I'm assuming that it should have a +/- factor to cope with anything above 2.5kW?
      March output was so good it seemed like we were going to be sub tropical, April and May has brought us down to earth with a bump...

      Best regards.