Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Are "YOU" using less electricity with Solar Panels?

Although I have complained about the software, and usability of my SMA SunnyBeam monitor on a number of occasions, I wouldn't be without it.  Link to piece. 
If, like me you want to monitor and record the readings from your system it is an absolute necessity. The alternative would involve daily readings from your inverter or output meter at the same time each day. The advantage of a device which automatically stores the information and can be kept anywhere in the house is worth every penny.

Since our systems installation in June 2011, I've recorded on a weekly basis my electricity and gas usage. At the start of my second year of solar generation I decided to record the weekly kWh generated as well. The intention would be to establish if any useful pattern emerges of how I'm using energy, combined with how I'm generating it.  

As you can see from the graph, Summer months have seen my generated output soar over my usage from the grid. Obviously, this will alter later in the year, but I will update the monthly figures to show the trend.

In October 2012 I will be visiting the Solar Power UK Exhibition at the NEC Birmingham.Link to exhibition details My main attention will be centered on  the latest trends in technology for storage devices. The current costs are probably uneconomic for the home consumer, but in the same way that PV panels have halved in price during the past 12 months I suspect that a realistic method of storing your daylight generated power is just around the corner.

Wouldn't it be fantastic to store ALL of your excess generated power during the summer months ready for those dark winter nights? Think it won't happen soon? Well I can almost guarantee that within the next decade you'll be even more pleased that you installed solar power 

Twitter: (@solaricarus)


  1. Professional Engineer recently published an article on this very topic by one of the companies pioneering the technology: Saft (http://profeng.com/columns/well-all-switch-on-to-energy-storage) who predicts: “At the individual level, I can see a time when domestic Li-ion energy storage systems, no bigger than a fridge-freezer and linked to roof-mounted solar arrays, become as unremarkable as PCs are today.”

    Aside from not being convinced the winning technology will ultimately be Li-ion based (carbon nano tubes will no doubt play a part), more importantly it would take an incredible leap of faith for me to envisage Icarus’ vision of storage systems that even out seasonal variation. One that operates on a (far less ambitious) 24 hour cycle would already have ticked many of the boxes for me.

    1. Hi Drambo. I'm obviously more optimistic about the advances in technology than you. President Obama has invested over $90bn in alternative energy. I'm hoping that worldwide investment and concern for global warming will provide the goods.