Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Solar Update

Since I got a new inverter, I have far better logging of the power output of my solar panels, even on my phone :D

I have a pretty small, 2.1kwp (10 panel) ground mount array in my driveway. Its partially shaded at certain points of the day and year, far from ideal. Nevertheless it looks like we are producing about 44% of our August energy consumption from our solar panels.

Thats better than it sounds, because our electrical consumption is relatively high due to

a) Working from home

b) Having an induction hob electric cooker and

c) Having an electric car that charges from home.

We use about 514kwh of energy in August, our peak is about 800 which is January, and probably due to some electric heating in certain rooms, and more hot food I guess.   If we had a new house, with better insulation (this one is insulated as much as it can be given its structure), and larger rooftop solar with zero shading, I reckon we could probably hit 100% renewable in the summer months. Why new-build homes are not mandated to include solar panels is a mystery to me. Its just such an obvious thing to do.

3 thoughts on Solar Update

  1. The difficulty with mandating solar panels on new build is that the solar panels only provide generating capacity, not storage. The national grid has only very limited storage capacity; demand must match supply at all times.

    It’s like having a water tap that only produces water, at an irratic flow rate, only during certain hours of the day. It’s fine if you have a water tank to store it when you actually need it.

    Ironically, one of the largest potential future uses of electricity, electrical cars, could help solve this as each vehicle can store energy within their batteries. The issue still is that solar will produce during the day, while the majority of electric vehicles would be charging overnight.

    More generation is only part of the energy solution.

  2. I can’t really fit full solar panels at my current house for many reasons not worth going in to. Perhaps when I move in 18 months or so I’d be more able to at a new place.

    What I’d like to be able to do is generate enough power to mostly power the house during the day when the sun is out but nobody is home. Things like the fridge, the freezer, tv recorders, a small computer server and various electronic devices. If I could generate 150 to 200 watts all day during the daytime in summer or even 100 watts, it would replace a decent chunk of my usage. I’d not need any storage at all as I’d likely never be generating much of an excess.

    However there don’t seem to be any options for that. All the devices are either tiny standalone things for use in a caravan or such, or full big installs. I want something that can feed some extra power into my normal house on a small scale.

    But this doesn’t seem to exist, the inverters and control equipment seem to make it entirely uneconomical to generate just 100 or 200 watts to “help out”

    1. Yup, inverter costs really screw it up, although I did notice when I replaced mine that the costs of inverters have definitely dropped over the years.

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