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mick2me

Has the sun set on solar power?

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Have been thinking about fitting solar panels but some of the latest reports are not good!

Anyone got them or are considering getting them ?

Has the sun set on solar panels? - Telegraph

Unfortunately, the days of 43.5p feed-in-tariffs are over. The Government announced last November that it was going to slash the tariff to 21p per kilowatt hour, If you think 21p sounds too little, last week's proposals indicate that the price will come down... to 13.6p per kilowatt hour. This equates to a 68 per cent fall in the rate since December.

Has the sun set on solar power? | The Sunday Times

HOUSEHOLDS have been left frustrated after paying thousands of pounds for solar panels on the promise of huge savings that have failed to materialise.

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The really important thing is to buy a good system We have a German made system and not the Chinese rubbish being pushed by some companies.In the last 6 month period we had a CREDIT of just over $1000. We use a lot of power all day also.

Mind, all our hot water comes from a separate system and even in winter ,the water never gets cold.

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Surely you need sun for solar panels to make power?

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If you read the piece linked to the Daily Telegraph, it looks like the sun never really rose on solar power. At the end of that article, there are a number of messages which highlight relevant points. Such as......

The original figures promised were based on a government subsidy which was always prone to change at any time; guess what's happened.......

The returns don't seem to be quite what was promised. It will take many years before energy savings will pay off the initial outlay.

What happens if the panels need maintenance/repair? Some of the companies who fit them may be little better than double glazing outfits who will inconveniently disappear just when you need them.

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A friend of ours has a farm where he's converted all his farm buildings into office space, and has a very nice little earner thankyou. He's got 3 massive solar power units in a field which rotate to follow the sun. He powers all the office units and his house with this solar power. It's cost him a fortune to install but he reckons he'll get the money back in a very short time as he installed it before the rate went down. He's also installed a heat pump in the field which gives him piping hot water to his house. We've never even considered solar panels on our house as we have too many big street trees around us that we don't see much sun!

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I have had them on my roof since 1998, before the Government in France started to finance some of the price of them, ours are for our use and not for selling the electricity to the grid, and to tell the truth, we save more money that way than selling to the grid,

But what anyone fitting solar panels has to keep in mind is, you pay thousands of pounds for solar panels, but they do not pay for themselves untill they are around 15 to 20 years old, and in that time you have repairs like a new inverter and or battery to add to the calculation, (we have had to change a panel, due to hail )

They do save on the monthly electricity bill, but you have payed 1000's of pounds for that, by paying for the panels, and your real saving, comes only in 15 to 20 years when you break even..............

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Most of the modules are now made in China irrespective of trade names, even the big companies are producing the actual cells in China where costs are low, some import them back to their parent companies in Germany, Canada, UK etc to make the cells up into modules, many leave it to their Chinese subsidiaries now days.

One of the best modules on the market are AUO made totally in China, they have multiple country compliance listings, extremely well made.

The Chinese are starting to get their act right in QC, although when it comes to iron and steel castings, they have a long way to go..

I have four AUO high voltage 280 Watt modules sitting outside ready to mount in a frame, and will be ordering another 12 modules within the next month or so.

My battery house, I'm going total off grid, is gyprocked and first coat of "mud" has been applied to all taped joints, waiting now for it to dry...Should be ready for primer and paint by the end of the week, then it's install the frame for the inverters etc, 2 by 4Kw units, bring the batteries in from outside where they have been sitting protected from the weather, 20 by 6 volt deep cycle 380 Ahr each. The 20 batteries will be installed as 5 by 4 producing 24 volts per bank paralleled up...We got a good deal on the 20 batteries, free shipping too which surprised me due to the weight, over 2000lbs!!!

Photos will be taken soon and posted as the next phase of installation goes ahead...

I'm also installing a 700watt wind turbine, followed later in the year by a second turbine..

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I pay just over 200 bucks for a high voltage 280 watt module, shipping is 148 bucks flat, whether I order one or 2000.... They come from a company in California, so 2000 miles by road isn't bad for 148 bucks!!

My first four modules cost me just over 160 bucks last year, they are down to just over 120 bucks each now.

Nearly 30 years back I priced a modest system out for my cousin and it worked out at over $Aus30,000!!! Same system today, well close as inverters are more efficient and true sine wave, would cost around $5000.

The one I'm building here will produce 8Kw continuous and we are still below $20,000..

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My son was telling me about :

Integrated Solar Panel Roofing

Stratco is continuously developing and promoting the latest in solar technologies and environmentally sustainable solutions from around the world. The Stratco SolatopĀ® Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) panel is Australia's first fully integrated building product that will enhance the look of your home or commercial project with its stylish sleek design, whilst reducing future power bills.

What do youall think?

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Having the actual roof be solar panels makes sense to me (provided the orientation works) and hopefully the costs will continue to decline such that, even if there is no money from selling the power, or even a subsidy for the installation, it will make sense in the long run. In my mind, anything that can reduce our dependency on non-renewable resources is a good idea.

Near here there is a reasonable size wind farm - linked to a pump-back storage facility on Lake Michigan. To me this seems like the ideal situation - at night the wind turbines help pump water into the reservoir. The water is then run through turbines at times of peak power usage, and low wind conditions! The pump back facility was originally built to accompany a nuclear plant further down the coast, but linking it to a wind farm makes absolute sense. The wind farm alone is expected to have full pay-back in about 10 years and has a 20 year life expectancy. The conditions for installing the wind farm included the removal, or replacement of the turbines at the end of the life cycle.

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Well here's a piccie of the two inverters and connection/breaker box, wished I had a wider angle lens, bit hard in a small room.

DSC_0168bmpInverterinstallation02A_zpsd3

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A neat Job John :)

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I welded up an angle iron support frame for the manufacturers back plate, the angle iron frame is bolted to the studs in 12 places as there is a lot of weight in that lot!! The inverters weigh around 70lbs each!! The breaker box weighs around 50lbs back plate around 30lbs and that bus section under the right side inverter about 20lbs.

Each inverter is rated 4Kw continuous, left one will be the master, right it's slave, controlled from a main control unit that senses load. The slave sits idle until the load increases to just above 4Kw, then kicks in. Saves battery power.

I'll be moving the 20 batteries into the room tomorrow or Monday, then I can measure up for cabling.

The batteries weigh just over 100lbs each, so there's a short tonne, that's the reason I poured a reinforced concrete slab 6 inches thick sitting on sturdy piers.

The whole battery house is screened in a "Faraday Cage" which will be grounded to the main earthing rods.

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Thought about Molten salt for storeage Ayup?

While adoption of solar energy steps up around the world, two key challenges remain: how to store the energy created during the day so it can be used through the night and how to dispatch the energy to where it is needed. Both of these problems may be solved by coupling molten salt with concentrating solar power (CSP), according to a June 26 article in Renewable Energy World.

Interesting also how several people I know (like Ayup) seem to `shine' after leaving the slums and confines of St. Anns

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I don't know about salt Stan, but I have hundreds of feet of limestone beneath my feet...

I now live in the Ozarks at just over 1000ft elevation, a couple of years back we had the worst ice storm recorded across several states, from Texas to Kentucky.

We were without power for nearly a week, luckily our heating is wood, and we did have a generator.

Some areas were without power for over six weeks!!!

Now with this Administrations hatred of coal power generation and all the new EPA regulations that have to be implemented on the generators, electricity costs are on the rise and forecast to double or more over the next few years.

Hence our decision to go solar and wind and cut our grid costs down to zero for the house.

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Interesting also how several people I know (like Ayup) seem to `shine' after leaving the slums and confines of St. Anns

Put that down to 'a good grounding' :)

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Or native intelligence and drive. In my year at Blue bell Hill there were 2 classes of 50 and one of just under. Only 1 person passed the 11+

I will not comment on the education at the `Grammar'

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I like the look of Ayupmeducks' setup.

It might even be relevant to England if he is charging batteries up during the day and then using the energy at night.

As a matter of interest, what kind of things can your setup run? Heating, lights, fridge freezer TV etc.

Can you give us some sort of figures for what the load might be and what your system is capable of.

My dream would be to get rid of gas supplied to my house, as the prices are becoming stoopid now.

I've looked into electric boilers and electric room radiators and they all seem feasible depending on whether batteries would be man enough to do the job.

All very interesting. Our greedy energy supply companies might actually be doing us a favour by making us look into self-supply !

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Another priority is to do away with the need for petrol.

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I too started my education at Blue Bell Hill Stan, I think you were there a few years before me, I started there in 1953.

I also had a good apprenticeship as an electrician with the NCB Stan, considered the best in the world, anyone trained by the NCB in any trade or profession had no trouble finding employment in mining anywhere in the mining world.

The system is a 24 volt system, Magnum do a 48 volt inverter too... It can be set up as a single inverter, two, three or a max of four inverters "stacked"..Each being 4Kw continuous output, I have two "stacked"

The specs for four stacked are 17.5Kw continuous, but remember you'd need a lot of battery power for that output!!!

We average 10khrs per day, a kwhr is one unit. My maximum load will be our well pump, which runs at 240 volts at 10 amps, but I can switch that on during daylight or windy evenings, I intend to install a 1000 gallon water tank and run feed the house via gravity for water.

Next heaviest loads are fridge and freezer at 10 amps 120 volts.. 4Kw should be big enough for most of our needs.

Specs on the batteries are make DEKA, 6 volt 370Ahr rating, that's based on a time period for inverter use, these batteries would have over 1000 Ahr rating if used as car batteries!! They are big! I have twenty of them, they will be wired four in a bank, 24 volts and five banks to give 1859Ahr capacity.

As time goes on and if I need extra capacity, I might add another two banks of them, (8) for another 740Ahr's.

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Getting away from petrol (gasoline) is easy - biodiesel! It is VERY easy to make, and can be used in almost any modern diesel engine without any modifications. It burns cleaner than regular diesel too. Some of the waste products need care for disposal, but the biggest waste product can be used for making soap!

John - on your water system, an idea would be to only have the 1000 gallon tank filled when the solar system was generating (should be easy to monitor). Then run a smaller pump from the tank to a normal household system - with a pressure tank so the pump does not run all the time. Since this pump does not need to lift the water very far, it can be a much smaller device. This would eliminate the need to elevate your big storage tank, and give you constant (more or less) water pressure.

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I thought about a small pressure tank and pump to maintain house water pressure Eric, the 1000 gallon tank will be located up the hill next to the driveway, about 20 feet above house ground level.

That's the idea of a tank, so as to run the well pump when either it's windy or sunny, let the elements provide me with energy to pump water.

A late mate of mine in Australia, sadly passed on several years back, lived in a small country village, three houses, post office and small shop, had a water tank to collect his house water in from his roof. He had a small pressure tank powered by a fractional horsepower motor.

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That would work really well - as you said, only run the well pump when it is sunny and/or windy! I like it!

I have always been a fan of "pump back" storage systems. They work well, use off peak electricity (locally provided by a wind farm), and are less of an an environmental issue than batteries. We have a large one near us on lake Michigan. Your idea is basically a "mini" pump-back system, only using the water for household purposes rather than to generate power!

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