A little late publishing, but here are the first month’s generation statistics for the east-west split solar panel array. These stats are for my father’s 2.64kW system, which employs SunPower 240kW E19 Series solar panels with SolarEdge power optimisers fitted.
These statistics are the very first shown for the east-west system that was installed on 7th December 2011. After all the upheaval and agitation that he has endured over the previous month it’s rather nice to blog about something a little more interesting than installation problems.
Like my own, my father’s expectations were a lot higher than that of the received yield of solar generated electric. Having an installation in December is probable not the best idea if you want to receive instant encouragement and return from your system. After all this was now the darkest and gloomiest days of the year.
When reviewing my first solar harvesting statistics I had nothing to compare with. Seeing these now, although comparison is still very liberal due to the split array and differing size systems, it nonetheless offers some interesting similarities and solar array personalities.
What stands out when comparing these solar generation statistics to that of south, south-east system in particular at this stage is that the east-west split seems to harvest more on dull days. Obviously I can’t compare like for like but I believe that this slight improvement on certain days is down to the power optimisers. Overall the near south facing array trounces the split system during these shorter days, but once the longer days arrive the east-west split should come into its own. It should be rather interesting comparing in the months to come!
The electricity generation statistics are for the period from 8th December to 7th January 2012. During this first month the system harvested just over 37.5 kW of electricity, averaging 1.21 kW per day. The chart also shows the highest spike of generation hitting at 2.51 kW.
After first having a visit from my electric supplier’s meter team who tried and failed to replace my meter due to the fusebox restricting the meter from being lifted off its hook, and then another turn-up without a meter, I have now finally had a new meter installed.
It’s been a rather a troublesome affair for something that really should have been so simple. I had to get the electrician back to move the fusebox 30mm so that the meter could be lifted off a screw hook. Call him back again as I was left with only partial electricity in the house and then take more time off work for the meter man to return.
I thought that having a new electric meter fitted would mean that I would get one of the new Smart Meters. Unfortunately these have had several teething problems and have not yet been released for widespread installations. I will need another visit for this in the future when they have been fully rolled out.
A lot of people are under the impression that if you have solar panels on your property then you get free electric by day. I thought this, or at least I did at first – and you do if you generate enough at the time you want it. Having now had a new meter installed I have come to realise a little more about how this works and how much is free.
You would think that if you are producing your own electric from the sun then you should then be able to use what you generate. But no, you get to use what you require at the time of generation – The rest is fed to the grid. You can not store your own electric for use later, although I have read and also heard about a few set-ups and systems that people are coming up with. For the typical user, myself included, what happens is that if you are using electric by day when the solar panels are harvesting the sun’s rays, it will use this electric first and then either top up from the grid if you require more or export any that is unused.
Let’s say I’m boiling my 3kW kettle and my system is harvesting at 2kWh while the water boils, this would then mean I’m drawing electric at 1kWh from the grid. In effect I would be buying this top-up of 1kWh at 19 pence a unit or whatever the present rate is. Now let’s go the other way, if for example, I’m using my personal computer for one hour. It uses approximately 150 watts per hour. If the panels created 1.2kW for the hour while the PC is switched on, I will have fed the excess, slightly over 1kW of electricity onto the grid. Disregarding any government subsidies this will then earn me 3 pence.
Three pence earnings per kW exported is not really worth worrying about. It is far better practice to plan your day time energy usage and draw less.
As warned yesterday, the government’s Chris Huhne today released a statement indicating that an appeal would be sought. The following paragraph from his statement highlights the uncertainties and risks of a solar installation after the December 12th 2011 cut off date.
“Yesterday, the Court of Appeal handed down a negative judgment on the Government’s appeal against an earlier decision by the High Court. We respectfully disagree with the judgment and are seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. In the light of that, we cannot rule out the possibility that lower tariffs could be applied to installations which became eligible for FITs on or after the proposed reference date. It is important that consumers are aware of this.”
The Energy Secretary of State’s full statement by can be read here.
The government has today lost its bid in the high court of appeal to cut subsidies for solar panel installations. The news will be greatly received by anyone who was unable to beat the original December 12th cut-off date.
The unanimous decision by the three court judges to reject the appeal means home owners will now have until 3rd March 2012 to get a solar system installed and benefit from today’s ruling. But buyers should still be mindful as the government will likely seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Installations from this date will see FIT (feed-in tariff) payments reduced by half.
This will still undoubtedly begin another solar panel ‘gold rush’ as personally experienced in November. I anticipate, contrary to the news of solar panel installation prices dropping recently, that this will now have an influence on prices inflating again until the new deadline has elapsed.
This is the second month’s generation statistics since my Sanyo solar panel array was installed. Within the previous south, south-east solar panel stats blog on 24th December I reported that the system had harvested just over 53 kW of electricity, averaging 1.77 kW per day.
Today’s entry shows that during this month I had a yield of approximately 63.5 kW of electricity from the sun, averaging 2.05 kW per day.
Today marks my first month since my Sanyo solar panel array with Sunny Boy inverter was installed. Within a previous blog, on 27th November after just four days, I posted my first solar electricity generation statistics. Maybe at that time I set my expectations a little high, especially considering it was the end of November with the darkest and shortest of wintry days still to come.
At that time I could not compare these solar stats with other systems in the area. Even now I can not compare like for like electricity harvesting systems. I have however, now that I have my own system, come into contact with others who have offered some feedback. Also since the 7th December, if you have been following these pages, you will have noted that my father is also now an owner of a solar array. This will enable future entries to include statistics for this system also.
As already mentioned, I am a solar novice and this was and still is all very new to me. I’m promoting this blog as my journey in the hope that it will help others. Maybe inspire and encourage others to do the same. Or pessimistically, dissuade them!
Below I have published my first month’s electricity generation statistics for the period from 24th November to 23rd December 2011. If you have not been following, these figures are for a 2kWh solar array facing south, south-east. During this first month the system harvested just over 53 kW of electricity, averaging 1.77 kW per day. The chart also shows some interesting spikes of generation hitting highs of almost 3.5 kW.
A high court judge ruled today that the governments plans to slash Feed-in Tariff incentives was unlawful.
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker responded:
“We disagree with the Court’s decision. We will be seeking an appeal and hope to secure a hearing as soon as possible. Regardless of today’s outcome, the current high tariffs for solar PV are not sustainable and changes need to be made in order to protect the budget which is funded by consumers through their energy bills.”