TransAmDan

Solar Panel Installation 4kW system

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Well decided to go Solar Panels, did think about it around 3 years ago. A few companies were out there saying they give you free panels, I guess they get their money back by effectively renting your roof. However my roof is an odd shape and they wouldn't do anything our of the norm. I found a company recently that design a system for your needs, you choose how many panels you want. Up to 4Kw system gets more money per kWh than if you have larger system. I went with a company called ProjectSolar. Checked various review, and so many were positive.
The surveyor came around chatted about the system, measured up. The system should generate 3500kWh per year, my electric usage last year was 2500kWh, so thats a good start, I use less than I generate. So my electric bill should be free for ever now as the energy I sell back to the national grid should our weight what I buy in. So deposit paid on 24th Oct 2015. The system will be installed this Thursday coming 29th October 2015.
Some time ago well about 2.5 years ago I brought floorboards and beams for the left. Where the left insulation is very thick now, there is no point compressing it, so I brought the beams to raise the floor level by 4 inches. As the solar install team will need access to the left, I thought well its about time I got my finger out ans get the floor down up there. Took Friday off work spend the whole day up there. Quite a bit of time was used just moving stuff around, like moving the 8ft long boards on top of the boards I've already put down so they are out of the way. So I got a few hours in at it over the weekend, and took Monday off work to carry on. Floor all complete now. Its great, gonna be soo much room for more storage.
The solar panels are going on two roof faces as the front of the house gets the morning sun, and the side gets the evening. The panels are quite wide angle so at mid day both will be generating power.
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Ran out of 2x4 beams, need around another 12 meters. There is a local saw mill that sells wood at a very good price called Goodwillies. I need it in 1.5meters lengths, although the Trans-Am can take 2.4meters long. So I nipped down there, they do 3 meter lengths and give you a workbench and saw to guy your own wood, so directly in half worked out perfect. Fitted in the Trans-am too.
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So quickly got these screwed down and popped some boards over the top, and job done
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Now to wait until Thursday.
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Comments

  1. AmericanThunder's Avatar
    Interesting. But how much have you paid for the solar panels and based on 1000kWh being sold back to the national grid how long is your ROI?
  2. TransAmDan's Avatar
    Panels last over 25 years, when they are 20 years old they are 93% the power output than they were new. It is a long term investment, pays for itself in 9 years. Which is a farily long time. It does offset my carbon footprint a little against the Trans-Am
    So after 9 years, I still won't have to pay for electric, well my income should be higher than my usage, fingers crossed.
  3. AmericanThunder's Avatar
    9 Yr ROI? thats not bad.
    When the daily driver was converted to LPG i had a 9 month ROI but achieved it in 8 months due to the mileage I was doing.
    Given the cost (I would anticipate) of solar panels, 9 years doesn't seem to bad.

    Do the installers fit a lightning conductor? A house in Swindon had panels and was hit by Lightning at the beginning of the year. The explosion blew the roof literally right off!
  4. TransAmDan's Avatar
    There will be meters installed that you can log into with an App or Browser to see how much your house is producing. I will find that interesting, I wonder how much a day like today would produce, low sun but not cloudy. Apparently there will generate quite a bit of energy even when cloudy, but how much... it would be nice to see the units. I'm sure I will keep the blog updated with the results I find.
    Our house isn't the highest point in the area, but yeah a good point about lightning conductor. There will be a good earth path to the meter cupboard under the stairs which doesn't work in its favour against lightning.
    The sales man wasn't pushy, but always in the back of your mind you don't know if they are inflating the figures, so I worked out quite a bit myself from the known results. However the one figure I couldn't find elsewhere if how much will my panels generate in a year, they estimated 3500kWh, but is that a true figure? Which is partly why I wanted to write this blog. So other people that don't know how much it can produce may be able to find the answer here.
  5. TransAmDan's Avatar
    Well they are on the roof. Need to wait for the EPC and another certificate before I can apply for the feed-in tariff stuff.
    Looking cloudy and dark out there, its around 15:30 now and I can see it producing eleccy, not a lot, but it is generating.
  6. an88fiero's Avatar
    Sounds good Dan. Looked last night and we produced 4500kwh so far this year - we are definitely heavy users lol
  7. TransAmDan's Avatar
    Is your heating electric? We have gas heating, so that's a large chunk not on the electric bill.
  8. an88fiero's Avatar
    No we have gas heating - not sure why we are so big users!
  9. TransAmDan's Avatar
    Took a couple of photos of the house this morning while i walked to the shop to get some milk


    At first seeing the side of the house mostly blue was a little different, but it does grow on you. a few houses around here also have solar panels. The most I've seen is 10 panels, I managed to get 16 up there, the side of the house certainly helps ans its a huge roof area. this gets the direct sun after mid day till sun set.
    Then in the loft is the inverter, this is about the size of a microwave, sits nicely on the wall.

    Not as many wires as i thought, just a pair from the front and a pair from the side, thats all.


    It has a monitoring gadget installed, this are just current clamp around the cable to measure the usage and how much the panels are generating. On Friday, the software wasn't quite right, it was only showing what was used, not what was generated. So i contacted the software/hardware company Owl Intuition They replies in about 90 seconds, looked into the configuration and fixed it for me. Well impressed with that service.

    At the moment the monitoring isn't performing correct. al the meters and the inverter is showing the correct sort of results. I beleive that the current monitoring probes are configured wrong. Looking at the instruction book it looks like there needs to be another current clamp to have it work in the configuration it is. i have contacted Owl and Project Solar for clues on this, so should hear back on Monday.

    I found out today that the British gas meter not only show the units i have used, but also the units I have exported. Its showing 4kWh at the moment, only about 80p, but thats about how much electric we would use in a day. A lot of our electric today has been free apart from the baking and showers, but it does show there was excess that got exported.

    Between 10am and 12pm i noticed the inverter was showing around 700-800w being generated. At just gone noon it did go up to 1600w, the sun must have come out for a bit. Around 4pm it was showing 300w, the sun was very low and not alot of strength in it, but pretty darn good for an autum day.
  10. TransAmDan's Avatar
    So how does it make money to pay for itself?

    Well there are Generation tariffs and Export Tariffs. These are different things but are two sources of payments.

    Generation Tariffs
    The generation tariff is the main payment of the Feed-In Tariffs and is paid on the total output of the renewable energy system - whether you feed it into the grid or use it yourself.

    Yes, you actually get paid for the energy you use!

    Many people don't realise this because the name "Feed-In Tariffs" suggests the tariffs only apply to what you feed in to the grid. The name was originally applied to the system in Germany, because the tariff was originally paid on that basis. Things have now evolved, but the name hasn't caught up.

    The amount per kWh is dependant on the size of your installation and also the EPC rating of your property.
    It gain the higher rate you need an EPC rating of D or better (C,B or A) Our house was an E when we moved in, done various good things, like double glazing, cavity walls, loft insulation, changed light bulbs. I believe we are a band D and bordering on a band C. The EPC will be coming in the post soon.

    Description For Eligible Installationswith an Eligibility Dateon or after 1 April 2015and before 1 July 2015
    (p/kWh)
    For Eligible Installationswith an Eligibility Dateon or after 1 July 2015and before 1 October2015
    (p/kWh)
    For Eligible Installationswith an Eligibility Dateon or after 1 October2015 and before 1January 2016
    (p/kWh)
    For Eligible Installationswith an Eligibility Dateon or after 1 January2016 and before 1 April2016
    (p/kWh)
    Solar photovoltaic with Total Installed Capacity of 4kWor less, where attached to or wired to provideelectricity to a new building before first occupation Higher rate 13.39

    Middle rate 12.05

    Lower rate 6.16
    Higher rate 12.92

    Middle rate 11.63

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 12.47

    Middle rate 11.22

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 12.03

    Middle rate 10.83

    Lower rate 5.73
    Solar photovoltaic with Total Installed Capacity of 4kW or less, where attached to or wired to provide electricity to a building which is already occupied Higher rate 13.39

    Middle rate 12.05

    Lower rate 6.16
    Higher rate 12.92

    Middle rate 11.63

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 12.47

    Middle rate 11.22

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 12.03

    Middle rate 10.83

    Lower rate 5.73
    Solar photovoltaic (other than stand-alone) with TotalInstalled Capacity greater than 4kW but not exceeding10kW Higher rate 12.13

    Middle rate 10.92

    Lower rate 6.16
    Higher rate 11.71

    Middle rate 10.54

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 11.30

    Middle rate 10.17

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 10.90

    Middle rate 9.81

    Lower rate 5.73
    Solar photovoltaic (other than stand-alone) with TotalInstalled Capacity greater than 10kW but notexceeding 50kW Higher rate 11.71

    Middle rate 10.54

    Lower rate 6.16
    Higher rate 11.71

    Middle rate 10.54

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 11.30

    Middle rate 10.17

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 10.90

    Middle rate 9.81

    Lower rate 5.73
    Solar photovoltaic (other than stand-alone) with TotalInstalled Capacity greater than 50kW but notexceeding 100kW Higher rate 9.98

    Middle rate 8.98

    Lower rate 6.16
    Higher rate 9.63

    Middle rate 8.67

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 9.63

    Middle rate 8.67

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 9.29

    Middle rate 8.36

    Lower rate 5.73
    Solar photovoltaic (other than stand-alone) with TotalInstalled Capacity greater than 100kW but notexceeding 150kW Higher rate 9.98

    Middle rate 8.98

    Lower rate 6.16
    Higher rate 9.63

    Middle rate 8.67

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 9.63

    Middle rate 8.67

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 9.29

    Middle rate 8.36

    Lower rate 5.73
    Solar photovoltaic (other than stand-alone) with TotalInstalled Capacity greater than 150kW but notexceeding 250kW Higher rate 9.54

    Middle rate 8.59

    Lower rate 6.16
    Higher rate 9.21

    Middle rate 8.29

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 9.21

    Middle rate 8.29

    Lower rate 5.94
    Higher rate 8.89

    Middle rate 8.00

    Lower rate 5.73
    Solar photovoltaic (other than stand-alone) with TotalInstalled Capacity greater than 250kW 6.16 5.94 5.94 5.73
    Stand-alone 6.16 4.44 4.28 3.08
    Source:- Ofgem, https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/defau...pv_tariffs.pdf


    Feed in Tariff
    Description For Eligible Installationswith an Eligibility Dateon or after 1 April 2015and before 1 July 2015
    (p/kWh)
    For Eligible Installationswith an Eligibility Dateon or after 1 July 2015and before 1 October2015
    (p/kWh)
    For Eligible Installationswith an Eligibility Dateon or after 1 October2015 and before 1January 2016
    (p/kWh)
    For Eligible Installationswith an Eligibility Dateon or after 1 January2016 and before 1 April2016
    (p/kWh)
    Export Tariff 4.85 4.85 4.85 4.85
    So what does this all mean. Well basically you get paid for generating electricity weather you use it internally or not.

    Say you had a band D house and a <4kW system and you generated 40kWh, and you used 15kWh of this.
    So you get 40kwH * 12.47 paid by the Generation Tariff (£5.08)
    As you only used 15kWh, then there is 25kWh sold back to the national grid at 4.85 per unit, (£1.21)
    Plus the 15kWh you used you didn't have to buy in, saving you what every your electricity supply charges you, around 13.5p per unit so saving about £2.02 from your electric bill.

    One thing to consider, is that your solar system obviously only works during the day. Things on standby around the house may be using 150-200watts continuously. You are buying this in at 13.5p per unit from your electricity company, but only selling back excess at 4.85p per unit. so it pays to used energy when the panels are generating. You can get battery systems to maximise your revenue. However the real kick back is from the Generation Tariff, no matter what you use, you get paid for every unit you generate weather you use it or now. My system is predicted to generate 3500kWh per year, that;s £436 no matter how much electric I use. Last year I used 2500kWh of electric which is around £340, so a lot of the time the electric I use is free, so my electric bill will dramatically reduce and if I generate more than I'm using then I get 4.85 for the excess left over.
    Updated 04-11-2015 at 12:08 by TransAmDan
  11. TransAmDan's Avatar
    All registered now for the Feed-In-Tarrif. Applied to British gas for this so you keep all my fuel gas/ellecy in one place. They pay the same amount as the other company was in the solar paperwork called 'Good energy'.
    Called British gas last Friday to request the forms so i could fill them in. they were emails though shortly after the call. Filled in with copied of certificates and emailed them off. Checked today all was received, and they had everything and emailed me a confirmation to sign. So all that's done and all signed up. That was far easier than expected. Everything went very smoothly. they have the current meter reading so I guess in a number of months they will request another reading. Then I will get a cheque in the post.
    Updated 15-03-2016 at 09:31 by TransAmDan
  12. TransAmDan's Avatar
    Had a call from British Gas, the company I chose for the Fee-In-Tariff, so they pay for the amount of units my solar panel has generated shown on the meter by all the other meters. Every 3 months I need to give a meter reading.
    This was on the 4th Feb. the meter reading was 264.25kWh. They send a cheque to pay that amount.
    Generation Tariff :- 12.47p * 264.24kWh = £32.95
    Export(as there is no export measurement it goes by half of what you generate):- 4.85p * (264.24kWh / 2) = £6.40
    So I got a cheque for around £38.

    Its not the 14th March and the meter reading is 575.73, so generated over double since the reading. 311 units, so in around a month it's generated £40. Plus Sarah has been doing cooking while the solar panels generating more than the cooker is using, we are getting free electric.

    I guess it will be making well over £40 a month at this rate well until around August time then it will drop below again. I wonder what it will peak up to? we shall see....