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My Solar PV

Updated on December 14, 2012

My Solar PV installation, and how its performing

In this Lens I will tell you all about my Solar PV installation on the roof of my small mid terrace house in Coventry, UK. How its fitted, what the bits and bobs are and how disruptive the fitting was (it wasn't) how it works, and how its performing. Plus would Solar PV be worth it for you? a quick look at the generation tariffs in the UK and the changes that are happening.

the panels on the house
the panels on the house

Solar PV and me!

We have fancied solar PV for years now, even when we did an attic conversion 7 years ago I looked into it, but it was expensive, and no one seemed willing to talk me into it (builders were either sceptical or oblivious). Then summer 2010 we were looking into having a rear extension and again I looked into it, but again the builders were sceptical so it didnt happen. But in the summer of 2011 my sister suddenly had panels fitted, and it re piqued my interest. Unfortunately It took a couple of weeks to get round to following up the thought, at which point the UK government announced they were going to halve the "feed in tariff" and chaos ensued. We did get our panels in time (probably, its still not entirely confirmed but the energy company have said that the application was received on time and that we should get the higher tariff...)

So what have we got? 10 x 2.3w panels on a mid terrace 1930 house, with a ESE facing roof, with the Inverter in the attic room. How much did it cost? £9500 (upped a bit because of the deadline I'm sure as my sisters 14 panels only cost £500 more) How long will it take to pay for itself? in theory 8 years, but we'll see....

The Bits and pieces

There are a few bits and pieces to a solar PV installation

The most obvious is the PANELS themselves, these will go outside, preferably facing south (mine are ESE, not perfect, but thats the way the house is!)

Inside you get an INVERTER (the big yellow box in the picture), which converts the current from your panels into a form that can be used throughout your house having been fed into the mains via a METER which monitors your production. In our case the generation meter is next to the mains meter, so Ideally the lights is flashing on the generation meter (which shows its got something to count) and is on on the mains meter (which shows it hasn't got much to count, if anything) as then we're not paying for any power!

The inverter and the meter both have cut off switches, and the Inverter can also be isolated from either end (the panels or the mains)

The INVERTER is powered by the panels, so once the sun is up the inverter powers up before any power gets anywhere else. If I'm working in the attic (my office) I hear it click on as it powers up, and then click again as it starts feeding power through, both good noises!)

2012 solar pv generation
2012 solar pv generation

The First Years Performance

A summary of the panels first twelve months performance.

My panels have been in for a year now, so here is nice visual summary of how they have done this year. The dark green is the kwh of electricity produced, the light green is the number of hours the inverter was active (so the time there was enough daylight to be actually generating power).

The total estimated generation for the first year was 1939kwh - the actual has been 1890kwh - but as the chart shows the Summer wasn't particularly good, June shouldn't be a dip!

The first Years Money!

So how much cash have the panels generated?

This is a confusing one, as EDF were very slow to register my FIT application, and then never asked me for any readings, so although I have been paid for all my generation up to the beginning of December it wasn't 3 monthly as it should have been but rather one payment in June of £353.80, and one in December of £516.06. Giving a total payment from the electric of £869.86.

The predicted money from the FIT payment was £869.80. So whilst I have generated slightly less electric than predicted, I have been paid as predicted.

The thing I can't for the moment work out is how much I've saved through using the free electricity as its being produced by the panels, as that invloves researching past electricity bills online - which is a lot harder than it ought to be! and has left me somewhat confused.... not the easiest things in the world to work out, as they are all for different time periods.

We have whenever feasible been using the dishwasher and washing machine during generating daylight hours, so should have saved some more there. The predicted saving was £126.06.

Would you get solar PV? a Poll

Would you consider solar PV? is it too expensive? or just pointless? Let me know what you think

Would you get solar PV?

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Your Comments on Solar PV - let me know what you think of this lens, and Solar PV in general.

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