Monday, 9 June 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday Solar Panels.

Whilst the rest of the UK and significant parts of Europe were celebrating the 70th anniversary of D day on the 6th June 2014. We had a D day (daylight) party of our own as our system was 3 years old on the same date.

Although the 6th June isn't technically the longest day of the year people of my generation always associate it with the 1962 film "The Longest Day.

At this time of the year it's light in the East Midlands around 04:00 and it's about 22: 00 before it's dark, that's 18 hours of daylight and the majority of my output/earnings (60%) occur in the 5 month period April - August.





2013-14 has been my best year yet for output. 





As you can see from the figures above, higher output has resulted in the largest FiT payments yet and the ever increasing cost of electricity has meant that my savings have also grown.

It wasn't a major factor when we were considering installing PV panels on our roof 3 years ago, but electricity costs are significant and rising. I was paying 11.8p per kWh for my electricity in 2011, I'm now using less, but it's a whopping 15.5p including VAT.

We paid £10,000 for the system in June 2011 so we're just over 40% into the pay-back period. The installers predicted between a 7/8 year pay-back which still seems reasonable.

Plans for the future...

I'm determined to make more use of the "free" electricity generated by the system. Unfortunately, all of the existing products available to store or divert excess electricity don't appear to be cost efficient as a retro fit to my house. 
Whilst the idea of heating hot water is attractive, the reality is that it's only really available during the summer months. With two retired people in the house who both shower rather than bathe it seems like an expensive add-on rather than a money saving device.
It would appear at this stage to be equally true for storage devices. I would gladly make a capital investment tomorrow if I could recoup the costs within a 5 year period. All of the products available seem to be expensive toys for rich/ environmental enthusiasts, rather than cost effective solutions.

 Concerns.

We were the first householders in the area to install solar panels. It was a difficult and scary leap of faith for us to make the investment as there was nobody to quiz about the costs or benefits involved.

We now have 10 houses in stone throwing distance who have all decided to take advantage of our south facing position. Foolishly for them (in my opinion) they have all decided to take the "rent a roof" option which provides them with free electricity whilst providing ASHADEGREENER with all the revenue.

I'm a little concerned that on a summers day around mid-day we're collectively generated around 40 kWh, all of which is being pushed into a cabling system installed in the mid 60's never designed or expected to cope with reverse energy production.

I assume that large scale solar installations in the countryside have new and exclusive cabling for their output? I'd be interested if anyone brighter than me has studied the implications of large concentrations of solar generation on existing cabling.



Icarus 
Twitter: (@solaricarus)

No comments:

Post a Comment