The Great 'Get Paid To Generate Energy' Hunt

edited 20 April 2010 at 9:21PM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    What's the average deviation from S of your panels? My roof would need two sets of panels, each at 45 deg from S (one pointing SE, the other SW). If you resolve the angle to give you the area pointing south, you need sin45, which is .85 i.e. my roof would only get 85% of the solar energy of a S facing roof of the same area. Perhaps that's where your 15% loss comes from too?

    I notice you say you have 2 inverters, one for each string. I had that in my quote too, but a discussion on here implied only one inverter was necessary for two strings. Anyone throw any light on that?
    Hi

    The idea of using two inverters would be to provide two powerpoint trackers, one for each of the groups of panels facing in different directions. The MPPT ensures that the inverter is operating efficiently for the panel generation on each array. You can optionally buy inverters which contain two MPPTs and therefore eliminate the requirement for two separate inverters, an example of this would be the SB4000TL. A single inverter with two powerpoint trackers should not be as expensive as two separate inverters, and in the case of the SB4000TL provides transformerless operation, which should be more efficient than standard inverters with transformers,

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • edited 14 February 2011 at 5:21PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 14 February 2011 at 5:21PM
    Hi All

    Interesting article released today .....

    http://www.solarserver.com/solar-magazine/solar-news/current/2011/kw07/ims-predicts-7-drop-in-crystalline-silicon-pv-prices-in-1q-2011.html

    Effectively a further 7% drop in pv prices predicted for Q1/2011 with the trend continuing in Q2 and onwards ...... what is really interesting is that the chart in the article shows a significant reduction in the cost of silicon wafers which, going forwards, far outstrips the predicted panel price reduction ... looks like they are anticipating that the manufacturers will be rebuilding their margins at the same time as cutting prices !! ....

    I wonder whether these reductions will be reflected in the UK supply chain ?? ... ;)

    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • edited 17 February 2011 at 9:24PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 17 February 2011 at 9:24PM
    Hi All

    A little more information regarding German turnkey solar pv prices (fully installed) to support the position that UK supply chain and installers margins are overinflated .....

    http://www.renewablesinternational.net/cost-of-turnkey-pv-in-germany-drops/150/452/29911/

    It seems that, according to recent market research involving 2758 array owners, the average cost of solar pv installations in Germany in 2010 was €2.74/Wp, which equates to approximately £2.31/Wp.

    Remember, this is an average for the year and should therefore be logically considered as being on mid-year 2010 economics. Current Q1/2011 prices will reflect the second-half 2010 reductions and the large reductions from January this year.

    Putting this into context, a 3.96kWp system in Germany would have been fully fitted for an average of around £9147 last year, and both their installers and wholesale supply chain still made a profit, whilst in the UK the comparable baseline seems to be in the region of £14.5k.

    I just wonder what the average cost of a 4kWp system would be right now in Germany, probably somewhere between £8.6k & £8.9k would be a good guess ..... makes you wonder, doesn't it ??

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • Doc_NDoc_N Forumite
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    zeupater wrote: »
    I just wonder what the average cost of a 4kWp system would be right now in Germany, probably somewhere between £8.6k & £8.9k would be a good guess ..... makes you wonder, doesn't it ??

    You'd think it would make sense to wait to as near 31 March 2012 as you can - except that the tariff looks set to change long before that date now. Probably quite soon, in fact.
  • german market is vast
    40% of the worlds market
    huge scales of economies
    zeupater wrote: »
    Hi All

    A little more information regarding German turnkey solar pv prices (fully installed) to support the position that UK supply chain and installers margins are overinflated .....

    http://www.renewablesinternational.net/cost-of-turnkey-pv-in-germany-drops/150/452/29911/

    It seems that, according to recent market research involving 2758 array owners, the average cost of solar pv installations in Germany in 2010 was €2.74/Wp, which equates to approximately £2.31/Wp.

    Remember, this is an average for the year and should therefore be logically considered as being on mid-year 2010 economics. Current Q1/2011 prices will reflect the second-half 2010 reductions and the large reductions from January this year.

    Putting this into context, a 3.96kWp system in Germany would have been fully fitted for an average of around £9147 last year, and both their installers and wholesale supply chain still made a profit, whilst in the UK the comparable baseline seems to be in the region of £14.5k.

    I just wonder what the average cost of a 4kWp system would be right now in Germany, probably somewhere between £8.6k & £8.9k would be a good guess ..... makes you wonder, doesn't it ??

    HTH
    Z
  • Thanks zeupater and Dave Fowler for the links to the newer calculation and other info. I'll try the figures again when I get a chance.

    @grahamc2003: both of our roofspaces face the same direction, approx 30deg East of South. The difference is in the pitch angle, the lower one (on an extension) being rather flatter than the main roof.

    Re: the two inverters. I did discuss the options with my installer at length. Although the two strings face the same direction, one being flatter than the other leads to its output dropping off quicker as the sun gets low (and also maybe working better when the sun is very high in summer), so it was calculated that the two strings would work better indpendently than tied together. I assumed that a single inverter with twin MPPTs would therefore be used, but when it came to agreeing the exact detail of the installation the supplier told me that its calculations showed that it would work more efficiently with two separate inverters than with a single one with 2 MPPTs.

    I have not got the required knowledge to question this, but as they seemed to be highly professional and trustworthy in other aspects of our transaction, I saw no real reason to. Also, although they did acknowledge that installing two inverters would be more expensive, the agreed quote for the system did not change (ie they absorbed the extra cost of this change of specification which they had proposed) so I was quite happy with that!

    Andy
  • Doc_N wrote: »
    You'd think it would make sense to wait to as near 31 March 2012 as you can - except that the tariff looks set to change long before that date now. Probably quite soon, in fact.

    Does it? I've not heard that. The only think I have heard is that the larger installations may be excluded from the FIT scheme.
  • Doc_NDoc_N Forumite
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    Does it? I've not heard that. The only think I have heard is that the larger installations may be excluded from the FIT scheme.

    I've got Chris Huhne's written ministerial statement of 7 February in mind (http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/fits_rev_wms/fits_rev_wms.aspx).

    The second bullet point has a distinctly weaselly bit in brackets:

    The FITs review will:
    • Assess all aspects of the scheme including tariff levels, administration and eligibility of technologies
    • Be completed by the end of the year, with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012 (unless the review reveals a need for greater urgency)
    • Fast-track consideration of large scale solar projects (over 50kW) with a view to making any resulting changes to tariffs as soon as practical, subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny as required by the Energy Act 2008.
  • edited 18 February 2011 at 1:14PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 18 February 2011 at 1:14PM
    daytona600 wrote: »
    german market is vast
    40% of the worlds market
    huge scales of economies
    Hi

    I agree that the German market is the largest, but really question the reason to link economies of scale to a national market size, especially considering that both Germany & the UK operate within a single and unrestricted european market with free cross border flow of product.
    Economies of scale would apply to manufacturing product, but the same product is available in the UK as Germany ....
    .
    Economies of scale would apply to shipping, but when considering wholesaler or larger installer volumes there would be little difference between the UK & Germany. Delivery from the wholesaler to the installer would be similar in both markets comprising somewhere near 0.5% of total price ....
    .
    Economies of scale would apply to the volume based discounts available from the supplier to the installer, but this is the case whether the installer is based in the UK or Germany. Small installation companies operate in Germany and are able to compete in that market whilst still making a margin.
    I just don't see where 'economies of scale' make a real difference, although I have seen the term used a number of times to defend current UK inflated pv pricing. When everything is considered, there are only two areas which can be responsible for the inflated prices, the margins of installers and wholesalers (which not all installers use anyway !!).

    I'm sure that if I was running an installation company and believed that the wholesaler was effectively 'ripping me off' I'd soon make use of the european single market and the fact that english is the international language of business and change the supply chain .... after all MCS is installer and product based, not wholesaler.

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • grahamc2003grahamc2003 Forumite
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    daytona600 wrote: »
    german market is vast
    40% of the worlds market
    huge scales of economies

    I'd say the very high price of panels in the UK is due almost solely due to the FIT.

    It's obvious that people are prerpared to pay more for goods if they have a government guaranteed return of an index linked tax free £1500pa with the fit as opposed to an approximate £80pa return if the subsidy didn't exist.

    The price with the fit will then be governed by what most people think is a reasonable lifetime return for the investment, and the cost price to the installer is irrelevant under subsidy conditions. These days, a 10% simple return, equating to an approximate 8% irr (or real rate, after inflation and capital costs) is almost guaranteed to set the price in the £15k area. (The demand would outstrip the capacity of the supply chain to install if the price were less typically). If the fits were withdrawn tomorrow, you'd see demand, and therefore the price, plummet to a level of cost price (which itself would also drop) plus a much smaller margin, imv.
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