Solar Power

Old Aug 8th 2022, 5:38 pm
  #16  
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Default Re: Solar Power

Originally Posted by Jack_Russells4ever View Post
In my village usually once a year EON schedules (2) days of scheduled power shutdowns to repair and upgrade the power lines which means about 8 hours per day of no power and ocassionally during a bad thunder storm the power has been off a few times for 2 or 3 hours due to a fallen tree branch etc. So, by itself power cuts would not justify the outlay for solar.

I think if prices skyrocket the investment in an offgrid solar system would be worth considering.

I have 3 phase power already and would install a 3 phase offgrid system were I to go down that route.

True the payback time for the equipment and batteries would probably be a long time. But given the state of things in our current world it would be worth it to me if prices for power escalate.
If you have a grid tied system properly sized then you are insulated from the price increases. If you ask EON for more capacity than you currently need then you have some expansion for the future (e.g. charging an electric car or/and changing the heating system to a heat pump) You don't have to install all the capacity from the beginning so you can add more panels later. What makes the change is the inverter connected to the grid, a higher output inverter causes a new contract to be needed but you can add more panels downstream without the involvement of EON.

Of course if EON changed their business model, tore up the existing contracts and demanded everyone did monthly reconciliation then the figures for off grid might change. But even then IMO over sizing the panels and limiting the output to the grid to get more power in the winter / spring / autumn (for me) would make more sense than gong off grid and buying batteries. As far as I can see the pay back time for batteries will be longer than the expected life of the batteries.

One advantage of being grid tied is if there is a fault with the PV system you still have grid power to fall back on. Off grid means any fault you are on your own. This can be a problem - I have no mains water connection, if water stops coming out of the tap I can't just phone the water co. I have to get what ever is wrong fixed myself which means I get the tool box out because I can't wait days for some sort of trades person to turn up who doesn't know the system anyway. And yes I keep a selection of spares on the shelf to cover off likely failures.

I am just about to install PV and my inverter will be 3 phase 10kva and I have been told that I must install at least 8 panels but I will need more than that to cover my current needs. I plan to install enough panels to cover my annual usage based on the annual panel output calculated by PVGIS and I will be reconciling annually so my annual electric bill should be just about zero plus the standing charge. That's the plan anyway.........
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Old Aug 8th 2022, 7:21 pm
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Default Re: Solar Power

Peter, once again thanks for your comments. Much appreciated..
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Old Aug 9th 2022, 6:38 am
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Default Re: Solar Power

I have read this thread with interest but there's no mention of costs involved.
I am totally ignorant when it comes to inverters and how the whole system works. Obviously, there are many factors involved in the cost of a solar set up but a ball park figure for starting out would be helpful.
Also, what about maintenance? Does it need an annual check up, clean etc?
Thank you
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Old Aug 9th 2022, 6:57 am
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Default Re: Solar Power

Paul, there are so many variables in solar equipment and the needs asociated with each location it is difficult to even guess as to the cost. As from the previous comments on the thread their are grid tied and off grid systems, there are where allowed also on grid/off grid capable systems.

If you go with a grid tied system you will not need any batteries. You will just need the solar panels, the rack to hold the panels either on your house or ground mount type depending on your situation and the power inverter plus associated cabling and electrical components to connect a system to the grid.

If you do a total off grid system you need the solar panels and rack to mount them, you will need the inverter and batteries. Then you must decide how much storage capability you need for your requirements and what your budget will allow, there are traditional lead acid batteries, gel cel batteries and Lithium batteries. Some users may even add a LPG capable generator or diesel model to charge the batteries in the event they are not getting enough charge from the sun.

Maintenance would be cleaning the solar panels to keep them working at top capability plus maintaining the system batteries if an off grid system plus keeping an eye on the electrical connections of the system. Bear in mind of your panels are roof mounted someone has to climb on the roof to clean them or repair them in the event of trouble. Ground mounted systems are much easier for a DIYer to take care of.

If you were allowed to grid tie a system that can also run when the grid goes down you will also need a transfer switch set up.

Last edited by Jack_Russells4ever; Aug 9th 2022 at 7:02 am. Reason: added thought
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Old Aug 9th 2022, 9:17 am
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Default Re: Solar Power

Originally Posted by PaulinEger View Post
I have read this thread with interest but there's no mention of costs involved.
I am totally ignorant when it comes to inverters and how the whole system works. Obviously, there are many factors involved in the cost of a solar set up but a ball park figure for starting out would be helpful.
Also, what about maintenance? Does it need an annual check up, clean etc?
Thank you
Wot Jack said above +1
A quick dip into Google showed a 3 kWp system for between 1.2 and 1.7 Mft. plus some EON work which depending upon your current consumer unit could be around 250,000 ft.
Maintenance is low - almost fit and forget. If the panels get very dusty then a hose down will help but usually people just let the rain do it. Most panels come with a 25 year guarantee which guarantees 80% of rated output after 25 years. Inverters have a shorter guarantee (about 10 years I think)
As said above a single phase supply is now limited to 2.5 kWp which I would suggest that 2,000,000 ft. should see it done but there is a bucket full of variables that could make a mess of that price. A couple of years ago the payback time of a grid tied solar panel set up was estimated to be between 8 - 11 years but now that is probably (a bit) out of date.
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Old Aug 9th 2022, 6:56 pm
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Default Re: Solar Power

Thank you both for your replies. They pretty much answer my initial questions.
I was always concerned whether it would be worth it.
If we ever go down the route of solar, it will probably be grid tied, although I do I've the idea of being completely independent and not relying on outside influences.
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Old Sep 1st 2022, 9:53 pm
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Default Re: Solar Power

Just installed an off grid system which has 5 panels 1.2kw with lifepo4 battery bank total cost £2200, if you work out based on current prices then it doesn't make financial sense, it does allow 3 days back up power for critical items and to keep below average energy usage cap. if thinking of batteries they can not be charged below 0 degrees so a shed is not good a cob outbuilding is a good choice.
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