solar panels?

Old Nov 14th 2020, 12:08 am
  #16  
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Default Re: solar panels?

Everyone seems very negative and anti solar here. The key to getting solar pv to work here in Portugal is to buy good quality, mono crystalline panels that deal well with the temperatures at the best price, use as much of the power you generate (some automation can help) and don't oversize the system.

I installed my own 3 phase system in June last year, 900w per phase. Cost around £3000. I installed Owl monitoring which right now shows that since install its generated 8014kwh. I exported (failed to use) 2201kwh for which EDP give you nothing unless you have the old style meter that runs backwards. My supplier is Galp, on bi-horária tariff (cheaper overnight). My latest shows a rate of 0.1982€ per kwh (plus iva), so:
8014 - 2201 = 5813 (kwh I generated and used myself)
5813 x 0.1982 x 1.23 = 1417€ saving since install (1 year and 5 months)
My payback is around 3 years

For a single phase, smaller system, sized right, the export would be less, the initial outlay less so pay back would be less too.

Last edited by Score76; Nov 14th 2020 at 12:18 am.
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Old Nov 14th 2020, 9:31 am
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Default Re: solar panels?

A 3 year payback is very impressive and gives hope to us fence sitters.

How do you identify the older meters that run backwards that you mention?
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Old Nov 14th 2020, 10:20 am
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Default Re: solar panels?


Old style meter
Old style meter is going to look something like this. Electromagnetic field caused by current flow used to spin the disc you can see in the middle plus mechanical gears to count the rotations and turn the dials showing the reading. If you have solar and are exporting then the disc spins backwards so the reading goes down. New style meters are all electronic with digital displays.
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Old Nov 14th 2020, 11:24 am
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Default Re: solar panels?

That's interesting; I was told EDP wouldn't let inverters connect to their system unless their own installer did the work and they sold you the gear.

They give a discount on your power tarrif, but only for a year [as I recall].
That really put me off the whole thing. I just didn't believe their numbers [I am a TERRIBLE sceptic], and not paying anything at all for feed in just rubs wrong.

Your setup for 3,000 sounds like a great deal. Does GALP give you any incentive at all?
I've never heard of a 3-phase synchronous inverter, and I've asked a few times.
I thought they must be out there somewhere.
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Old Nov 14th 2020, 12:39 pm
  #20  
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Default Re: solar panels?

I understood it that anyone could install up to 1.5kw per phase without input from EDP. They sell self install, plug-in panels on their site for this purpose. Upwards of that you need to get them involved and possibly limit export if they require it so best to just stay below that threshold.

3 phase inverters typically start at 5kw making them unviable for pv arrays below that. I use Enphase micro inverters, one per 300w panel, so essentially 9 x single phase systems, wired 3 per phase.

No incentives from Galp other than the 10% back onto my Continente Card every month which is always nice :-)
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Old Nov 14th 2020, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: solar panels?

Originally Posted by Score76 View Post

Old style meter
Old style meter is going to look something like this. Electromagnetic field caused by current flow used to spin the disc you can see in the middle plus mechanical gears to count the rotations and turn the dials showing the reading. If you have solar and are exporting then the disc spins backwards so the reading goes down. New style meters are all electronic with digital displays.

Thanks score76, that's the exact one I have.
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Old Nov 14th 2020, 6:39 pm
  #22  
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Default Re: solar panels?

Then you're one of the lucky ones and you can't possibly lose out with solar pv. During the day whatever panels you had would generate power, you use whatever you use, the excess goes to grid and causes your meter to run backwards. When the sun goes down your meter runs forwards again and you get back what you exported to grid during the day. Just don't over do it and end up with a lower reading from one bill to the next or someone will come and investigate why. They'll change your meter for a digital one that only goes forwards. PM me if you want help sizing/sourcing/fitting.
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Old Nov 15th 2020, 9:16 am
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Default Re: solar panels?

Thank you for both the info and offer, I most certainly will.
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Old Nov 15th 2020, 5:43 pm
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Smile Re: solar panels?

Originally Posted by Score76 View Post
Then you're one of the lucky ones and you can't possibly lose out with solar pv. During the day whatever panels you had would generate power, you use whatever you use, the excess goes to grid and causes your meter to run backwards. When the sun goes down your meter runs forwards again and you get back what you exported to grid during the day. Just don't over do it and end up with a lower reading from one bill to the next or someone will come and investigate why. They'll change your meter for a digital one that only goes forwards. PM me if you want help sizing/sourcing/fitting.
Thank you for this. I may need your help when I come to this next spring .
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 11:29 am
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Default Re: solar panels?

You shouldn't bank on that reversible meter; EDP has a policy to swap them all out for 'smart' meters, and it's likely they'll be along to do that one day soon.

If you use a lot of power at slow steady rates during the day when it's sunny, panels at today's low prices can pay for themselves anyway.
If you use most of you electricity at night, they won't do much for you [unless you still have that reversible old meter].
It's quite difficult to figure out.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: solar panels?

I am in the latter category. I use night storage heaters for a comfortable house in the winter in my retirement. My meter was changed to a so-called smart meter over 2 years' ago. What I want from the electricity suppliers is for them to reduce the price of electricity by investing more in things like solar power and reducing their costs. I need a lot more than 1.5 KW per phase and I need it when the sun has gone to bed.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 6:08 pm
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Default Re: solar panels?

They're investing in a lot of solar, but that isn't reducing the costs I'm afraid.
Huge installations going in are on contracts signed years ago, specifying high, outdated feed in tariffs.
While they pay us zero for solar energy we might feed into the grid, we pay a fortune for solar and wind energy when we draw it from the grid.

The low night rates we pay now might reverse in future, as more and more PV generation comes online in the country. A lot of commercial users have their own rooftop arrays to reduce their bills.
Solar electricity generation is now economically viable for daytime direct use, for those who use a known amount like supermarkets or factories.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 6:45 pm
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Default Re: solar panels?

The imminent changes are related to charging electric cars, the present infrastructure/grid will not be able to support the extra power. However - as seen in the states - people with electric cars (and their work places) have been installing PV to charge the things thereby getting over the "not having banks of batteries" and even UK Motorway Services are covering their available roof space to power the hastily installed charging bays (obs it's all sublet), As more houses get panels the demand on the grid will probably decrease and the cost to the consumer who is taking power from the grid will go up.
And as for the Moroccans
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/06/m...ntl/index.html
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Old Nov 17th 2020, 11:33 am
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Default Re: solar panels?

What I do not understand is why, having had new wiring and new meter, junction box, etc etc, they have provided a Smart meter but I still have to do a reading every month and fill it in either on the mobilephone app or via the web? I am told that it is not completely set up in this area of deepest central Portugal, 5 km from a nice big town, and I will receive a letter in the fullness of time when they get round to it ... !!! Surely a Smart meter is a Smart meter?
And have you seen the cost of setting up a Plug-in site for your eventual electric car - I am afraid we didn't bother with that ....
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Old Nov 17th 2020, 11:52 am
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Default Re: solar panels?

Originally Posted by Rambling archer View Post
What I do not understand is why, having had new wiring and new meter, junction box, etc etc, they have provided a Smart meter but I still have to do a reading every month and fill it in either on the mobilephone app or via the web? I am told that it is not completely set up in this area of deepest central Portugal, 5 km from a nice big town, and I will receive a letter in the fullness of time when they get round to it ... !!! Surely a Smart meter is a Smart meter?
And have you seen the cost of setting up a Plug-in site for your eventual electric car - I am afraid we didn't bother with that ....
I have a so-called smart meter but I suspect that, like my smart TV, it is not that smart. I don't think it has a modem and therefore cannot transmit readings back to the EDP offices. The other day, I received a telephone call from an EDP employee to say that he would be with me shortly to check my meter, I know not why, but he arrived shortly after. He removed the front protective cover and placed a magnetic device on the meter. He was then able to communicate with the meter. He muttered something about a problem in the area after a night of power failures and then departed. To my mind, that is how they can communicate with smart meters at the moment.

My meter is read by EDP once a year and we settle up the annual bill with either a credit to my bank account from EDP or an additional bill to my direct debits. I pay a regular amount for 11 months, and then the 12th payment if I am still in debt. I don't have to read my meter every month and submit readings since I pay by monthly direct debits.

Last edited by BillBullock; Nov 17th 2020 at 11:55 am.
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