What can I Expect from Solar Generation?

Well hopefully it’s too soon to tell. But, as promised I can now publish my first few day’s solar panel electric generation statistics. I don’t know how this compares with other solar array homes in the area or indeed anywhere else. If anybody reading this has any comparable data for these dates from sites in Devon or anywhere else in the UK, please post a comment. It would be good to evaluate at this stage of my journey!

After these first few days I can only think or fret! that the average created here of 2.16 kw per day would take approximately 26 years to repay the investment at today’s feed in tariff rates. That’s without any faults or replacements during the period. In other words, going on these first few day’s figures I could only advise that you avoid a solar panel investment like the plague!

This graph shows my solar pv generated electric over 4 days from 21/11/11 to 27/11/11.

First Few Day's Solar Generation Figures

Now before anybody goes away and does something silly or cancels an order for their solar module system – please remember this is only my first recorded statistics for my system, a small 2kWh system in the bleak mid winter … I’m thinking this anyway!

On cheerier note – how did those Morcambe and Wise lyrics go

Bring me Sunshine, in your smile,
Bring me Laughter, all the while,
In this world where we live, there should be more happiness,
So much joy you can give, to each brand new bright tomorrow,

How is the Solar Electric Monitored?

Now that the panels are up – I can monitor the solar pv electric generated by either the Sunny Boy inverter panel or alternatively using the generation meter. The generation meter provides just a digital readout which is basically all you need as this is what you will get paid on. As it’s all very new to me I’m not sure how these readouts and figures will be collected.

Solar Electric Generation MeterSunnyBoy Inverter LCD Panel

The Sunny Boy inverter however shows a little more detail with the help of some visual representation of the data using graphs and symbols on a black & green LCD panel located on the front of the unit.

The inverter apparently also employs blue-tooth connectivity which sounds rather exciting so I will probably give this a go at some point. I’ve already got my eye on this little device from Amazon.

Belkin Mini Bluetooth Adapter I think that it will be ideal for connecting to the Sunny Boy inverter via bluetooth. And for the price (details here) I think it’s a good deal and as the description below states, it will also have other uses too.

Product Descriptionn – Belkin Mini Bluetooth AdaptorStays connected to your laptop for quick and easy Bluetooth connections. This small adapter simply plugs into one of your laptop’s USB ports, quickly connecting you to the latest Bluetooth wireless technology. The Mini Bluetooth Adaptor communicates with mice, headsets, printers, phones, and other devices enabled with Bluetooth technology. Stays connected to your laptop for quick and easy Bluetooth connections. This small adapter simply plugs into one of your laptop’s USB ports, quickly connecting you to the latest Bluetooth wireless technology. The Mini Bluetooth Adaptor communicates with mice, headsets, printers, phones, and other devices enabled with Bluetooth technology. Features:Uses standard v2.0 + EDR and USB 2.0 to provide optimal performance Distance range of up to 10 metres Distance range of up to 10 metres Works with most devices enabled with Bluetooth technology

I’ll order one of these little blue-tooth devices and blog my findings on here later. For now though I can only monitor via the previous methods mentioned above. And as far as yesterday went, remembering is was not a full day of generation, it’s not looking too bad. The weather has been pretty kind for my solar panel installers this week. I will publish my first few day’s statistics at the weekend.

My Solar Panels Are Up!

The installation of my solar pv system was completed today after a slight delay with parts.

Monday saw the installation team turn up nice and early. Two chaps worked on the roof cutting tiles and fitting the solar panel rail mounting brackets to the joists. Whilst inside the house I had one electrician installing the new fuse box / consumer unit and another working upstairs fitting the Sunny Boy inverter and subsequent wiring to the loft area. Apparently, although everything was there on on Friday, they could not start fitting the panels due to the solar panel mounting clamps not arriving.

On Tuesday no work was carried out due to these missing clamps and on Wednesday nobody turned up at all! Very poor communication received here as I could have gone back to work. However, later after chasing-up to see what’s happening I was informed that the clamps had just arrived that evening.

Thursday, after taking another day-off work, saw the fitters arrive bright and early to complete the installation. Looking back this delay did give me the chance to spot the intended space upstairs left for the generation meter. After explaining that I understood that this meter was to be fitted next to the electric meter it was thus fitted as originally planned. Having the meter here will then enable future generation meter readings to take place by a third party should the electric companies so wish without traipsing through the house.

Solar Installation All Set To Go!

After lots of buts and deliberation the time has finally arrived for me to take my first steps in to the world of solar power harvesting and generation.

The scaffolding arrived and was erected today with good advisory comms prior from the installer. He has also informed me that my property was one of three in the area set to start on Monday morning with a solar pv install. As my array was relatively small it should be completed by Wednesday for a GRID connection and customer handover.

The weather is also looking good for next week – unlike what I was expecting compared to this time last year. I have booked some time off to be around for at least part of the installation process and handover.

I will try and get some photographs during the install to post on this blog and later in the week hopefully be able to give some data feed-back from my first day of generation.

For now though, Scaffolding up and ready for solar PV installationI have attached a photograph of my roof showing scaffolding up and ready for the solar installation team on Monday. I may, if I get time, get up there myself over the weekend  and do a few jobs. I need to seal a soil pipe stack and also the surrounding tile flashing needs re-pointing. Then if weather permits I will get some of the moss off where the solar panels will cover. I know, I am fussy but now is the time if I want to to it!


Solar Panels Ordered But…

Having committed to purchase my solar panel array and system, it did come at a cost. Partially down to my initial reluctance to commit caused by the problems already mentioned, and also down to the solar rush caused by the pending tariff changes – this has forced me to accept a different module to enable the culmination of the order.

Although still a Sanyo panel, the installer informed me that he could not get the more efficient Sanyo HIT-N240SE10 panels in time but could procure the larger HIT-H250SE01.

He also stated the panels would be at the same price as already quoted and that they would also give me a further 74.8 units per annum.

This could well be a good thing as I originally wanted ten of the slightly smaller panels, but due to a roof surface area restriction noted at time of survey it was found that I only had room for eight. So now with the bigger HIT-H250SE01 module I will gain a little more from the space available.

So, to confirm, my order has now been placed and the system will be made up as follows:

8 x Sanyo HIT-H250SE1 modules

The SANYO HIT(Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) solar cell is made of a thin mono crystalline silicon wafer surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers. This product provides the industry’s leading performance and value using state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques.

    More Clean Energy
    HIT can generate more clean Energy than other conventional crystalline solar cells.
    Efficiency 20.8%
    Module Efficiency 18.0%
    Output / m2 180 W/m2

1 x SMA Sunny Boy SB2000HF Inverter with

    Max DC Input Power: 2100W
    Graphic display
    Bluetooth technology

1 x Schuco Module Mounting System

I have also taken the opportunity to have a full distribution board upgrade at the same time. The current board has long been overdue for an upgrade.

Hope I’ve Made the Bright Decision!

After several back & forth emails & discussions, and also after all the errors and mistakes within the paperwork and quotations which didn’t stop at the those previously mentioned, a decision has now been made. My father has decided to go with another solar energy installation provider that was also quoting on his system of choice. If fact, the required solar pv panel system set-up is one of this company’s specialities. All that remains for his install is getting a confirmed date to proceed. He’s chasing-up and emailing today for a commitment – Back again to the ‘We all want it yesterday scenario’ – sorry about that but due to these blasted tariff changes we do!

I on the other hand, am a little hampered for time, although I’ve received a rather attractively priced specification quote from the same Solaredge solar electricity installer, I will not be able to get a survey completed and an installation prior to the cut-off date of December 12th.

So far I have delayed my final decision due to the uncertainty of the standard of work that I may receive after such erroneous paperwork. The system quoted is not my first choice and thus again is causing me concerns and doubting the ability to deliver the finished product. On the other hand the guy that I have been speaking with seems a really pleasant chap and knowledgeable about the system quoted.

The paperwork issues I have finally put down to this particular solar installation company being so busy, this, together with the fact that he also rolls up his sleeves and works along side the solar install team on the roof also had a bearing.

Another point, although quite a large point was trying to get a confirmed installation date. I already knew that other installs were be carried out in the area and also due to the expected climate changes that could well be on the horizon – I wanted to get a fitting date during November. This would also then enable me to sort the necessary FIT application paperwork in plenty of time.

I was eventually able to commit to my solar installation date of 21st November 2011… hooray!

Solar Quotation Received – But!

I guess with all the recent solar tariff reduction publicity lately it must be a pretty worrying time for businesses in the green energy industry especially those specialising in the solar pv market. It’s probably quite a panic to get in as much work as possible before the 12th December deadline – I know that I’m beginning to feel the pressure to get a system arranged before this date. And without these tariffs I’m not sure that I believe it will be possible to realise my desire and continue my solar journey.

I was expecting to get my quotation on Friday, but it arrived today, early by email with a phone call too. After reviewing the quotation I found that only the solar panels matched that what I had asked for at the time of the survey. No mention of the solar edge system that I had researched and wanted. My father’s quotation was the same and this has given us a reel dilemma. His system requires the solar edge system to have a greater chance of success. Being an East West split our researched found this system to be the best choice or you would require two inverters and two arrays! But his quotation had no mention of this detailing only one larger inverter for both the arrays.

This uncertainty, has now, together with the two quotes that hardly resembled our requirements left us with a lot of concerns.