Solar Plants (Reposted from Energy)

Back in 2010 I had solar panels installed and, until last year, they were brilliant. Investment cost recovered by year five so everything from there on was money in the bank - or so I thought.

Last August the inverter failed. Repairing it was more expensive than replacing it so I got a new one with a five year guarantee.

At a show recently we saw a stand for Solar Plants, nothing to do with plants but with a different type of inverter which takes each panel in parallel rather than in series. That claims to improve output by 15 - 17% and means that if one panel goes faulty, the others keep working, plus it has a 20 year guarantee. It all sounds good except it would take another five years to recover the outlay.

My gut feeling is that I'm better off staying as I am - especially as I only renewed the inverter last year (5 year guarantee but they have offered a "buy back" discount on it).

Thoughts?

Replies

  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    I've recently upgraded mine, but it didn't cost 'too' much, and my inverters (now sold) were out of warranty. But crucially my system had a fair amount of shading.

    Do you suffer from a lot of shading, what size system and specs, how much do you generate, how does it compare to PVGIS (see section 5 of FAQ's link in my autosig).

    TBF you need decent improvement, perhaps 10%+, and a decent price.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • ASavvyBuyerASavvyBuyer Forumite
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    What make is the alternative inverter and how many panels do you have?

    Sounds like what they are proposing is a Solaredge Inverter with optimisers on each panel.

    We have that, and it works very well; especially good if you have any shading problems.
  • Goldwing1Goldwing1 Forumite
    161 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Hopefully the following answers the questions.

    I have seven panels rated at 1.29KWp producing around 1200 units (HWh?) per annum which currently works out at around £620 per annum.

    Yes, the proposed inverter with optimisers. No problem with shading.

    I could just sit on my hands until the guarantee runs out (4 years time) and then make a decision assuming I don't move (No plans to).
  • pinnkspinnks Forumite
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    If you have no shading then it is difficult to see what a Solar Edge or similar approach would add (SMA and others now have similar offerings), other than allowing production to continue if and when a panel fails.

    There is of course an increased risk with SE-type installations that the additional kit on the roof could fail before panels start failing. To be honest though, both are probably reasonably low risk.

    So, I would probably stay with what you have.

    Indeed, I have shading issues and have considered upgrading but the additional production of perhaps 500 units per year or, for me, about £100 would just not warrant the cost.

    Annoying/frustrating? Sure, but sometimes it is simply better to suck up ones less than optimal decision and move on...
    Wiltshire - 5.25kWp
    3.5kWp: 14 x Phono Solar 250 Onyx, Sunny Boy 4000TL, WSW 40 degrees, June 2013
    1.75kWp: 7 x Phono Solar 250 Onyx, Sunny Boy 1600TL, SSE 45 degrees, March 2014
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