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  1. Hello everyone, Recent house purchased and plan for a garden office with PV solar installation. After much frustrating searching for information on solar installation found this forum where people seem to be happy to get into the technical details (unlike websites of companies offering solar installation that I’ve seen). Been a long term renter so my DIY skills low level but IT background so (like to think) have technical aptitude. Looking for advice / voice of experience on a: * 3m x 5m (internal dimensions) garden room. 194 degrees longitudinal axis * 4.2m x 6m flat room dimensions (TBC) * approx 20m from main house at end of back garden * mainly 2 person office Considering installing: 10x 375W AE Power PV panels in E-W facing configuration with ~10 deg pitch 10x S440 optimisers SolarEdge SH3000 inverter Garden Room would also have AC unit Daikin split unit (model TBC) Questions: 1. Can the solar PV inverter be connected to a secondary consumer unit in the garden room or does there need to be a run for generated AC going to the main Consumer unit in the house and a feed from there to the garden room sockets and lights? 2. Maybe depends on answer above but 10mm or 16mm SWA buried spade and a half depth? 3. Looking at CAT6 and / or multimode fibre (intended home switch will have SFP so wondering whether this is a future proofing method into the same trench). 4. Options for digging trench other than by hand - digger hire from Jewson? (Have 1000mm access down side of house) 5. Views on electrical installation for garden room. Which bits need an electrician and or MCS certificate it it worth it, and which bits to do self. There is potential for further PV system on potential house extension (if built) but currently main house roof aspect not ideal for solar (gable end facing south with other main surface north facing) Thoughts welcome.
  2. I've just run across the concept of the "Solar Loft", as proposed for a new 'Eco' development at Bickleigh Village in Plymouth, by Bill Dunster's ZEDProjects operation and Social Investment Company Cornerstone.This is a space outside the superinsulated perimeter on the top storey of a house, with insulation in the floor, and polysolar panels for the roof. These are less efficient than traditional solar panels, but also let a proportion of the light through, and have been suggested elsewhere as a way of mitigating the roast-freeze cycle which occurs in many conservatories.The development is a high density development on the majority of a somewhat larger site - 91 houses in 3.06Ha, with 0.63Ha of woodland left untouched. Most of the houses are 4 or 5 bedrooms. The 5 beds currently advertised are £350,000.I like that strategy, though it leaves teeny-tiny back gardens. The Planning Reference is Plymouth Council 12/01504/FUL and 14/00135/FUL. The latter is currently under consideration, and would increase the proportion of larger homes in response to market demand.There are also live-work units and a building to provide employment for local people as a mini assembly plant for the buildings on the site, which will hopefully roll over into some sort of eco-construction hub for the future. They have done quite well in negotiating a good reduction in the various Section 106 obligations while leaving a notional 20% profit margin.I have not tracked down whether Community Infrastructure Levy will apply, though in most of Plymouth that is only £30 per square meter for residential anyway.I have attached detail of the solar loft for one house type, as included in the Planning Application. As shown, this drawing is copyright the ZEDfactory, and is excerpted here for critique and review.A Solar Loft is a way of using the "low" part of an asymmetric (for South Facing Solar reasons) roof for a benefit without having to add the extra height required to give a fully recognised useable room. The brochure for the development describes it in marketing-ese:At the top of the house a semi-transparent PV roof creates a stunning ‘solar loft’, allowing atmospheric dappled sunlight to flood into the highest room with the best view. The room is designed with good levels of cross-ventilation to avoid overheating and provides an ideal growing space for keen gardeners, or a relaxing sunspace for those more inclined to putting their feet up with a cup of coffee.(Ed: From that, you'd expect it to come with a built-in elf riding a unicorn through the velvety green fields of Arcadia.)It's also an ideal growing environment for your own heat demanding, high humidity requiring crop for quiet sale on the local market. I wonder how many of the people will insulate the roof to stop the heat showing, use the power on tap from the panels, and put something else in there to grow that is not tomatoes?At least that would reduce the number noisy helicopters circling overhead with thermal cameras, since the technology will no longer work.I like the idea, but I think that in the circumstances, I might be more inclined to hoick the whole part of the roof up by about 600-900mm to be level with the ridgeline, and gain a semi-sun-sheltered roof terrance, with the solar panels divided into two sections.If there were privacy concerns for neighbours, then I'd perhaps put a vertical piece of polysolar "window" down the top 1-2m of the wall too.It could be like a balcony in a seraglio; more complex to build than a solar loft, but perhaps more attractive as a foil to the small garden.What do you think?(Photo quoted from Bickleigh Eco Village brochure.)
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