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  • FIRST POST
    • teachergirl
    • By teachergirl 2nd Jan 11, 8:25 PM
    • 646Posts
    • 1,940Thanks
    teachergirl
    So now I have a solar PV system how do I make the most of it???
    • #1
    • 2nd Jan 11, 8:25 PM
    So now I have a solar PV system how do I make the most of it??? 2nd Jan 11 at 8:25 PM
    Dear all. I know there are several threads about solar PV but many of them are debating whether or not they are a good idea and if the free ones are worth having. All of which is valid debate. Stuck in the middle of some of these threads I have found the odd tip about how to make the most of the generated electricity but they can be difficult to pick out.
    So I wondered if we could have a new thread where people share their tips for making the most of the electricity that they generate.
    Our system was put up just before Christmas in a snow storm. We haven't exactly generated much electricity but as we are all at home for the holidays we have changed our usage habits and used our appliances during the day. When we go back to work we will have to use the timing devices to get our appliances to come on during daylight. Now at the moment that is the only thing I can think of doing. However I have picked up so many handy tips from these forums I wondered if we could share our ideas as there are bound to be some clever people out there who have lots of MSE ideas
    Thanking you all in advance

    Official MoneySavingExpert insert: There are some great hints and tips on how to get the most from solar panels. Thanks to all who contributed!
    Last edited by Former MSE Debs; 21-02-2012 at 8:19 PM.
    Paid off mortgage early, still working to help kids through uni then planning to retire.
    Declutter challenge 56/364
Page 107
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 15th Mar 12, 1:59 PM
    • 6,312 Posts
    • 7,640 Thanks
    jackieblack
    Jackie, if Mch is poor, try this site afterwards:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/anomacts/

    Click on sunshine, and Mch 2012 then see how this year compares to an average of 30 years.

    Weather has gone bad here too, freezing fog, it's almost like Winter!

    Mart.
    Originally posted by Martyn1981
    Hi Martyn
    Someone, (I think it may have been zeupater) pointed me towards that website around this time last year.
    I do have a look occasionally, it's interesting to see how my % generation vs prediction compares.... it's generally been pretty accurate
    Not of any real use, but interesting (if slightly nerdy )
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
    (Revera linguam latinam vix cognovi )
  • degs
    Had my Solar Panels installed last month and took great delight in seeing my disc type metre going backwards, and actualy winding the reading back. To my reasoning if it winds back 10 units then I have to use 10 units to end up were I started from so the 10 units are free. Last week B.Gas wanted to fit a smart metre but on finding I had solar panels said they aren't compatable and fitted a small digital metre. I might be wrong but I don't think these new metres wind back when you feed in.
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 17th Mar 12, 8:23 AM
    • 4,327 Posts
    • 7,439 Thanks
    Martyn1981
    Had my Solar Panels installed last month and took great delight in seeing my disc type metre going backwards, and actualy winding the reading back. To my reasoning if it winds back 10 units then I have to use 10 units to end up were I started from so the 10 units are free. Last week B.Gas wanted to fit a smart metre but on finding I had solar panels said they aren't compatable and fitted a small digital metre. I might be wrong but I don't think these new metres wind back when you feed in.
    Originally posted by degs
    Hi degs, you're right, they don't wind backwards, but that'll save you having to pay for any backwards units!

    As you get 3.1p for the assumed export units, any backwards units would go against future import units, so you'd be paid twice for export (and at the full import price too).

    At least it's been sorted fast, so need to worry about getting it fixed later, or having to pay money back, if you got an undersized import bill as a result of a lower reading.

    Mart.
    • John_Pierpoint
    • By John_Pierpoint 17th Mar 12, 10:30 AM
    • 8,214 Posts
    • 7,375 Thanks
    John_Pierpoint
    If you small white postcard sized meter with a liquid crystal display is like mine, it flashes one flash per Wp being imported and displays constant red when exporting. It also cycles round through its registers and now displays rEd - attempting to make alphabet out of its display - to let the meter reader know that someone has been fiddling the meter.
    This will be interesting when the supply company makes its 24 monthly inspection of the equipment as required by legislation.

    It is a very simple way of know if the panels are making spare export electricity, the import meter if red and the generation meter is flashing away at a speed you soon get good at recognising. Side by side in my hall.

    I am expecting a drawn out "misunderstanding" with my supplier.

    ==============================================

    This site has been discussed before:
    http://www.ref.org.uk/fits/index.php?order=commissioned&dir=asc
    I do enjoy the retrospective commissioning dates, do we really believe this one was powered up as a Hogmanay celebration?
    FIT00007357 1 IV24 Hydro Commercial 50 1922-01-01 No Export HD/EXGEN/01 Scotland N/A Highland R00016SYSC

    Any way getting to the point:
    Some adopters of retro (?) fit PV panels seem to be on a "PV-N/0-4/01" deal; some on "PV-N/0-4/02"
    My contract with British Gas appears to be "PV-R/0-4/02"

    My guess is that the "R" represents retro fitted as against new build.

    Anyone know what the difference is between 4/01 and 4/02 deals?
    Last edited by John_Pierpoint; 17-03-2012 at 11:09 AM.
  • Brian99
    If you small white postcard sized meter with a liquid crystal display is like mine, it flashes one flash per Wp being imported and displays constant red when exporting.
    Originally posted by John_Pierpoint
    Eh ?? It flashes once per watt-hour, ie 1000 times per kWh.

    Watts = flashes counted per hour

    or (easier to do!)

    Watts= Flashes counted per minute x 60
    • EricMears
    • By EricMears 17th Mar 12, 9:14 PM
    • 2,020 Posts
    • 3,536 Thanks
    EricMears
    Measuring generation or consumption by watching flashing lights would be almost a full time occupation ! There are electronic devices around that can do the counting for you and display the result.

    Or there are plenty of cheap meters around that give a very good idea of current flowing in a particular wire by clamping a sensor around the cable. One such meter clamped around main supply cable is pretty well useless but it's reasonably easy to rearrange house wiring such that generation and supply can be measured in separate cables. Depending on your level of expertise it would either be a DIY job or you may need professional help.

    Two such basic meters and a bit of mental arithmetic would do the job or there are some meters that can accept multiple inputs and do the arithmtic for you.
    N Derbyshire.
    4kwp S Facing 17.5deg slope (dormer roof).
    • John_Pierpoint
    • By John_Pierpoint 18th Mar 12, 12:57 AM
    • 8,214 Posts
    • 7,375 Thanks
    John_Pierpoint
    It is not completely rocket science.
    It is an LED a grown-up version of the little flashing red light in modern cars to warn off thieves.
    One glances at the two meters:
    The importing consumption meter is on permanent red.
    The generation meter by its side is flashing at one flash every two seconds.
    So we have a home grown generation of 30 x 60 = 1.8 kW, so turn on a small heater, perhaps the tumble drier on the "cool" setting or ideally a 1kW immersion heater if I had one.

    It is not actually as calculating as that, a quick glance registers as "free juice" ! - click on the immersion = two flashes on the generation meter to one (say) on the importing meter = 1/3rd price electricity.
    If its the other way round: pause - Ah DW has just turned on the kettle.

    John

    PS. Anyone know what "PV-R/0-4/02" signifies ?
    Last edited by John_Pierpoint; 18-03-2012 at 1:01 AM.
    • Kernel Sanders
    • By Kernel Sanders 18th Mar 12, 1:12 AM
    • 2,733 Posts
    • 1,188 Thanks
    Kernel Sanders
    or (easier to do!)

    Watts= Flashes counted per minute x 60
    Originally posted by Brian99
    Or, even easier (and quicker!) to do

    Watts = Flashes counted in 36 seconds x 100


    Also, from another thread...
    You can also estimate your generation by measuring the frequency of the flashes with the stopwatch on your phone; simply divide 3600 by the timing, hence every 12.00 secs = 300W, every 9.00 secs = 400W etc.
    Originally posted by Kernel Sanders
    Last edited by Kernel Sanders; 18-03-2012 at 1:22 AM.
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 18th Mar 12, 7:21 AM
    • 4,327 Posts
    • 7,439 Thanks
    Martyn1981

    Anyone know what the difference is between 4/01 and 4/02 deals?
    Originally posted by John_Pierpoint
    I didn't, but I do now!

    Normally you'd owe me a beer, but I'm just as nosey as you, so I had to find out, once you asked.

    Breakdown of PV-R/0-4/02 tariff code:
    PV - photovoltaic
    R - retrofit
    0-4 - upto 4kWp tariff
    02 - second year of FITs. Installs before April 2011 get coded 01, first year. Installs registered April 2011 to Mch 2012 get coded year 02

    Here are some of the sites I hit

    http://www.ref.org.uk/fits/index.php?order=fitid&dir=desc

    click on Back to REF website, to learn more, and

    google PV-R/0-4/02 + OFGEM to find a list of installs and their appropriate codes, scrolling down, the first one to have April 2011 was also the first to be coded 02.

    Quick tip for googling, click and hold your left mouse button to the left of PV above, then holding the button down, drag to just after the M (in OFGEM), let go, then right click in the highlight, and one of the options will be to google the highlighted phrase. Much quicker and accurate.

    Now, about that beer?

    Mart.
    • cazarol
    • By cazarol 18th Mar 12, 10:15 AM
    • 764 Posts
    • 1,641 Thanks
    cazarol
    Caz, sunny explorer is a bluetooth interface, what you need is a model name, possibly a Sunny Boy 4000?

    Hopefully then we can check to see if it has MPPT.

    Edit: apologies for the abbreviation, multi point power tracking, allowing two different feeds that don't effect each other.

    Edit2: Not doing well today, sorry. To measure roof angle, two ways, take the dimensions of the triangle (post them if this is tricky) and use calculus to work out angle. Or watch as 'clever clogs' wife downloads a spirit level app to smart phone and measures the angle by holding it to the roof(s) total time about 1 min. Who do you reckon the smart one is?

    Mart.
    Originally posted by Martyn1981
    Good Morning Mart and all other solar lovers !!
    At last I have got the name of my Sunny Boy, it is a SB4000TL-20, so fingers crossed this is the correct one for my panels etc. It seems that once we had a few days of good sunshine so higher production my system got the hang of it and is now producing quite satisfactorily, imo.
    Yesterday we produced 6.3 and the day before being 6.5, both with not much sunshine at all. Our highest ever is 11.342 on a good sunny day. All in all am feeling a lot happier with production all round. Its just making sure I use as much as poss during the production times, have got timer switch for washing machine etc. Every little helps !!
    only up to 0.812 so far on this damp morning, not much washing done for that production !!
    • EricMears
    • By EricMears 18th Mar 12, 10:55 AM
    • 2,020 Posts
    • 3,536 Thanks
    EricMears
    To measure roof angle, two ways, take the dimensions of the triangle (post them if this is tricky) and use calculus to work out angle. Mart.
    Originally posted by Martyn1981
    Just noticed this (from last month) quoted above.

    Not sure how you'd use calculus to do this ! I'd use trigonometry and specifically Sine, Cosine or tangent - all of which can be evaluated within msExcel
    N Derbyshire.
    4kwp S Facing 17.5deg slope (dormer roof).
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 18th Mar 12, 12:29 PM
    • 4,327 Posts
    • 7,439 Thanks
    Martyn1981
    Good Morning Mart and all other solar lovers !!
    At last I have got the name of my Sunny Boy, it is a SB4000TL-20, so fingers crossed this is the correct one for my panels etc. It seems that once we had a few days of good sunshine so higher production my system got the hang of it and is now producing quite satisfactorily, imo.
    Originally posted by cazarol
    Hello Caz, I was only thinking about you yesterday, and wondering if you'd heard back yet.

    The SB4000TL-20 does have dual MPPT, so is perfect for your split system. It's an inverter that I've noticed gets mentioned a lot on other forums (and it's smaller brother the SB3600 also dual). Both seem to be very well respected, from the comments I've read.

    Glad production is picking up, I'm seeing similar with an ESE orientation, not so much fun 2 months either side of winter solstice!

    Mart.
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 18th Mar 12, 12:40 PM
    • 4,327 Posts
    • 7,439 Thanks
    Martyn1981
    Just noticed this (from last month) quoted above.

    Not sure how you'd use calculus to do this ! I'd use trigonometry and specifically Sine, Cosine or tangent - all of which can be evaluated within msExcel
    Originally posted by EricMears
    Hello Eric, funny the things you partly remember from school. 30 years on but I still remember 'The Cat Sat On An Orange And Had Hiccups', or

    TCS
    OAO
    AHH

    e.g. Tan = Opposite dived by Adjacent, how sad, can't believe that stuck!

    so for my roof angle, which in feet is 7 high, by 12 long, by 13.89 hypotenuse, I can use

    inverse Tangent 7/12, or
    inv Cosine 12/13.89, or
    inv Sine 7/13.89, or

    let my wife use the spirit level app on her smartphone!

    Mart.
    • EricMears
    • By EricMears 18th Mar 12, 12:52 PM
    • 2,020 Posts
    • 3,536 Thanks
    EricMears
    funny the things you partly remember from school. 30 years
    Originally posted by Martyn1981
    Even longer ago it was :
    Some Of His Chums Are Having Trouble Over Algebra
    Sine : Opp/Hyp
    Cos : Adj/Hyp
    Tan: Opp/Adj

    And even earlier than that (so I'm told) it would have been :-
    Some People Have Curly Brown Hair ( Till Painted Black)

    where P was 'Perpendicular' & B was 'Base'

    Computers have taken all the fun away - who gets a laugh from Excel's "Insert Function" ?
    N Derbyshire.
    4kwp S Facing 17.5deg slope (dormer roof).
    • Kernel Sanders
    • By Kernel Sanders 18th Mar 12, 2:30 PM
    • 2,733 Posts
    • 1,188 Thanks
    Kernel Sanders
    Computers have taken all the fun away
    Originally posted by EricMears
    Let's not forget the reason we are able to have fun on here!
  • GaryMo
    I don't remember a phrase as such but just the (made up) word SOHCAHTOA.
    • John_Pierpoint
    • By John_Pierpoint 19th Mar 12, 1:45 AM
    • 8,214 Posts
    • 7,375 Thanks
    John_Pierpoint
    Harvested enough electricity for a round of srinks

    hWh on day of week.

    4.91 Monday
    3.63 Tuesday
    7.60 Wednesday
    12.94 Thursday
    3.21 Friday
    3.23 Saturday
    16.36 Sunday



    30 degree elevation facing SE in S.Essex. 3.6 nominal Aurora inverter.

    Breakdown of PV-R/0-4/02 tariff code:
    PV - photovoltaic
    R - retrofit
    0-4 - upto 4kWp tariff
    02 - second year of FITs. Installs before April 2011 get coded 01, first year. Installs registered April 2011 to Mch 2012 get coded year 02

    Mart.
    Originally posted by Martyn1981
    Ne interesting to see if the government attempts to pick out < 2011-12-12 & < 2012-03-03 commissioning dates any further news of legal developments?
    Last edited by John_Pierpoint; 19-03-2012 at 1:53 AM.
    • Lemoncurd
    • By Lemoncurd 19th Mar 12, 3:00 PM
    • 951 Posts
    • 543 Thanks
    Lemoncurd
    Have just submitted my 4th quarterly FIT reading. We've had our panels for a year so just wanted to check how they'd measured up to the predicted generation. The figure from http://re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pvgis/apps4/pvest.php# was 2880 kWh for the year, double checked my spreadsheet for actual generation and the figure was.......



    exactly 2880 kWh!!!
    Last edited by Lemoncurd; 19-03-2012 at 3:08 PM.
  • RoxyK
    Phew! Have finally read this thread from the beginning, just in time to get an installation date of next Tuesday. I can't wait. My neighbour got panels installed a couple of weeks ago and of course delights in telling me what he's generated that day. Soon I'll have no need to be jealous plus I'll be paying less for better panels

    System will be 3.84kWp (16xSanyo HIT240S40SE10) south facing, 30 degrees with Eltex 4.4HE-t inverter.

    Already downloaded FIT application forms from Good Energy.
    16 x Sanyo HIT 240w panels, 3.84kWp, south facing, 30 degree slope in the SW, 4.4 Eltek HE-t inverter installed 27/03/12
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 19th Mar 12, 6:22 PM
    • 6,312 Posts
    • 7,640 Thanks
    jackieblack
    Beautiful day today , 13kWh generated (best since 1st September 2011), makes up for some of the day of 1kWh and 2kWh we've had lately
    More weather like this, please
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
    (Revera linguam latinam vix cognovi )
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