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Found 22 results

  1. Hi, does anyone know (for certain) whether retro-fitting battery storage (AC coupled) to an existing Solar PV Installation that benefits from the old FIT requires the installer of the battery to be MCS Certified so as not to compromise the FIT payments? ...or can anyone point me to where it is confirmed either way?
  2. Hi Folks! Having used BuildHub as a learning resource for a little while, I've pulled my finger out and got a sign-in. After a year of getting our ducks in line, we are about to apply for planning for a home on our smallholding in Somerset. It may be on the optimistic side, but we are aiming for an off-grid build, to passive house standards (intending to get certified), primarily from sustainable materials. The design is very close to complete now, and the next stage for us is to put our plans in front of a design review panel. Part of the reason for this, is that our planning application will be made under paragraph 80e (previously paragraph 79, before that paragraph 55). (A national planning policy, first established in 1997, which sets out various circumstances which can enable the erection of new isolated dwellings in the open countryside.) I understand that getting a good report from the design panel is a significant step towards success with this planning route. The fundamental plan is to try and build: A 4 bed detached home Concrete-free foundations Using load-bearing straw bale construction technique To achieve an overall carbon negative construction Off-grid A large PV array Several large lithium batteries for storage Bore hole for water WETs system to process grey/black water Achieving passive house certification We still have a lot to figure out, but I'm learning more every day. Thanks for everyone on here for contributing to BuildHub as an information resource.
  3. Have quite a long drive and approximately 2m tall retaining wall. Looking for solar powered down lighting similar to street lights. I may need to extend upwards to get lights at correct height but that ok. I really want to install solar powered only, but need decent performance in winter. Panel size shouldn't be an issue as I have loads of space on a south facing part of the hill. Anyone using anything they can recommend?
  4. Hello, We already have a 6.3kw PV array on the house with battery storage. We are wondering if it would be viable to add a further 4 panels, about 1.4kw, onto the garage roof. The garage has a 2.5mm underground feed from the house and a small CU. I believe we could use the existing cable to feed the garage generation from the inverter back to the house but that it could not be recorded on our fits meter or utilised to charge the batteries. Can anyone confirm that is the case? Also if we decided to run a new cable from the new garage inverter to the house and via the fits meter, a distance of about 30metres, would there be a noticeable voltage drop ? and what size cable would be best?
  5. Hi All, I hope you're keeping well! I just wanted to introduce myself 'Joe' to the forum as I have been a long time reader and now hopefully getting closer to starting my own build. The forum is such a great resource for information and the knowledge of the users is simply amazing - I really do appreciate everything I have read here as it has helped me so far on my journey. I am hoping to learn as I go and all being well, I'll be able to help others as I pass through each stage of the build and gain my own knowledge and experiences. The house is a two story house with a connection to single story building for the kitchen, dinning and living area which in total is approx 330m2 sitting on 0.8 of an acre. It will have a ground source heat pump, with underfloor heating on the ground and first floor, mechanical ventilation heat recovery system and a PV solar array with battery. Windows triple glazed throughout. The current SAP report SAP rating: 92 A Environmental: 93 A If I have missed anything I will update the above. All the best, Joe
  6. I can get up to 18 panels on the south facing roof of my self-build and I'm looking to finalise my solar pv system specification and pricing. Below is the first quote I've received for supply of a 6kW system in response to my outline specification (i.e. up to 18 panels, all black, in-roof mounted): Would appreciate advice on the suitability of the specification and the items included. Anything in here that I should definitely not use? Does the pricing look reasonable? Where else should I be looking to buy the solar pv system from? TIA
  7. Hi there. We're upgrading our sixties house in Sussex with a GSHP, underfloor heating and a new hobby room (separate building) with a goodly chunk of solar PV to go onto its roof. The hobby room will have a separate ASHP. The insulation in the house has also been improved. We've done most things in the house but the new hobby room is yet to be built (we have planning permission) and we're just at the stage of re-wiring the existing house. Octopus have installed a three phase smart meter, although we only have two phases to the house (and that ain't gonna change). Stumbled across this site and wonderful forum when searching for how the importing and exporting of power is going to work with two phases, potentially phases both generating and using power. Any experience or knowledge in that area gratefully received! Cheers UncleK
  8. I am in the process of designing (with architects!) and commissioning a small low-energy house which will rely mainly on solar pv for energy. There is no gas at the property. I have over 15 years experience of solar thermal and solar pv. My current house uses solar pv exclusively for hot water for more than 7 months per year, uses gas for ch & backup hw for colder months. My current 3 immersion design cylinder has proved very effective. I have trawled through various heating and dhw designs including thermal stores and multi-tank solutions but cannot reconcile the different requirements (eg thermal stores need a good temperature gradient to provide dhw - heat pumps provide 55º as a working maximum). I have also noted comments on this forum. (“Hot water and heating are different – keep them separate!”) However I’m still looking for an efficient & effective solution. I am considering using a large unvented cylinder (say 500 litres) which will also act as a buffer for a heat pump and a thermal store for underfloor heating. For at least 8 months of the year the total input would be from solar pv through immersion heaters. For the colder months there would be the possibility of input from a heat pump. Primary heating would be through 3 immersion heaters. I have included a diagram. I see the following as advantages : 1. A single tank with straight-forward plumbing. No complex valves or diversions. 2. Separation of circuits for input/output. Antifreeze needed only in the heat pump circuit. - Better heat transfer to UFH with water than with antifreeze mixture. (and much less of it) 3. Ability to maximise use of solar pv (8kW) throughout the year. 4. Possibility of running as a fully electric system without heat pump - under consideration for at least one year to assess relative costs. Also provides alternative heating if heat pump fails. 5. Typically : we boost heat in the mornings (before 9.00) and in the late afternoon/early evening. Background temperature maintained at other times (although with a good store in the slab this will become less pronounced). Best efficiency from an ASHP will be when the outside temperature is highest and the best use of solar pv will be between 9.00 and 17.00. So having a facility to store heat at these times will maximise both efficiencies. I recognise one potential problem: In our current location, with excessive water hardness, cylinders frequently deposit more than 0.5kg calcium salts per year. We have completely avoided this by quality water softening and would do so in the new location. Although the physical design is simple the efficiency will depend on the control circuits. I propose to design & program these myself rather than rely on the current commercial provisions which seem to be over-complicated but still limit options to those provided by manufacturers. All of the plumbing would be installed by G3 qualified tradespeople. So I would welcome constructive guidance … 1. Is there any commercial system which already follows these lines which I’ve missed? 2. Has anyone on this forum taken a similar line – with what results? 3. Are there any genuine down-sides which I’ve missed?
  9. With the big reduction in the feed in tariff it seems like you need to use any power generated to gain any benefit from the PV panels, or add yet more kit like batteries to use at a later time. This is a big investment and with limited winter sunshine, when supply demand is highest, does solar PV still make sense for a typical 4 bed home? Or can I use the money saved in a better way to keep energy demand down perhaps?
  10. My planning permission contains commitments for installation of solar PV, air-source heat pump and rainwater harvesting. I'm not wanting to go through another round of planning variations so I will install them. However, I suspect if I'd done a full cost benefit analysis then it would be difficult to justify the rainwater harvesting in particular. The solar PV hardware appears to be getting much cheaper (haven't looked at install yet) but the Smart Export Guarantee tariffs don't look particularly attractive (5.6p/kWh). ASHP makes sense I feel as there is no gas supply available to site although some of the installed prices appear astronomically high (e.g. £11-12k). Does anyone have any evidence that these eco features more than pay for themselves in purchase premium on a house sale making them "no brainer" territory?
  11. Hi all, We are early in our self build journey having just been granted planning in principle for our plot. We have an architect and have had first discussions with a broker, so the money side of things looks ok too. Cost and efficiency are big motivators as we currently live in an old house which haemorrhages both heat and money, Will also be our home for the next 30 odd years so running costs important. Have only now just started the bulk of our research as it took three years to sort the plot and didn't want to get ahead of ourselves. Will probably have questions on absolutely everything.Thanks!
  12. Hi - hoping for some thoughts / advice? I just had a solar pv system commissioned on my 22 year old house. Two storey semi detached. I've had a small amount of excess so far and my mind started wondering how best to use it....I was too late with the blue pills..!!! So, the PV system has an Eddi diverter keeping the upstairs hot tank at 60oC when there is excess. It makes me really want to use the hot tank more than I do currently. I'm also thinking about how to solve a problem I have in the kitchen. Current Hot water cylinder usage: Upstairs hot taps Ensuite Shower (1 adult user, hot flow is ok but not great) The odd bath Kitchen Sink There is an electric shower in the main bathroom that myself and one other adult uses, 3-5 minute short showers each. Flow is good enough from cold tank in attic. PV System: 4.2kw PV array, 6kwh battery, Eddie diverter to immersion Gas Heating - standard condensing boiler (not a combi) and radiators with Thermostatic valves Issue #1: The kitchen hot tap has a 30 second dead leg - 1/2 inch copper pipe feed Issue #2: Options for Triton electric shower in main bathroom - can I use the hot water tank instead? Issue #3: Best use of any additional Excess PV #1: Currently the electric shower and screen are mounted at the foot of the bath. The hot water tank is on the other side of the wall at the foot of the bath. The ensuite is 6 feet away. The existing bath shower hot head pressure isn't the best, it might just be the old hose though. I'd like to use the hot tank for showers but have a fallback like an in line Siebert Eltron system that only kicks in if the water isn't hot enough to give the 38oC shower needed. Maybe add a Digital shower but am concerned about the hot water pressure as I'm on the same level as the tank. #2: For the kitchen I've been looking at instant hot water taps, the Grohe model mixes with the dead leg water and provides hot water until the hot tank water arrives downstairs. I have capacity for some additional background load given I have a battery. Some type of insulated storage tank that buffers the dead leg and keeps itself at 60oC or so would be ideal. I'm trying to avoid paying for more filters though as I've a 6 stage filtration system at the kitchen sink with its own tap already, unless I can integrate that. Instant boiling water would be nice though! I can't see how I'd be able to add a re circulation circuit into an existing house but is that an easy or difficult option? I've no return pipe for it.... #3: One more option I'm considering is adding a second output to the Eddi and connecting it to an LHZ electric heater in the living room - it's the coldest room in the house, 3 outside walls. Undersized Radiator. I'll be doing triple glazed windows and external wall insulation at some point but thought having a second use for excess useful - we have no FiT currently. Might not be enough excess in winter when it's most needed though..... It's great to see the house doing something it's never done before.
  13. So, the PV installers have done their thing but in the attic there's now a new hole where they poked through their DC cables (2 x strings = 4 cables). I did ask them about this and they seemed to think that the tiles take care of the water. I thought the felt was a second line of defense....? Anyway, the inverter etc isn't hooked up yet so I was wondering is this a risk? What are my options? I could create a bend with a water trap / alarm under it from the wires? I'm not sure I'd be able to pass them back outside and back in the felt overlap shown though. I could call out the installers, they were very nice otherwise but technically, on reflection, I think this approach let them down. Thoughts?
  14. Has anyone used/got experience of thin film solar cells? I am getting resistance form HWMBO that PV panels are ugly "I'm not having those on my nice new house!" The plan, at the moment, is for raised seam metal roofing and I understand this works well with TFSP and I might get it past the design guru!! TIA
  15. A sort of sister thread to the one here: This blog entry details the installation of my wall mounted Solar PV system:
  16. Linked to the discussion here: and following a joint purchase of panels with @ProDave I'm planning to install a small, 6 panel array. For simplicity and neatness, I've decided to mount the array on my garage wall. Whilst it is true that this will not maximise generation, it should result in my being able to use almost all of what is generated, and should save some of the expense and work involved in creating a ground mounting system. My plan is to mount the panels, orientated in portrait format, so the top is the same height as the house windows (should look better visually). The question really is how best to mount them. In the linked topic, @Miek provided a link to a supplier of mounting rails, clamps etc. Whilst I could fix the panels directly to timber battens onto which the garage cladding is fixed (using Z brackets) my gut feeling is that it would be better and probably easier to use a rail and clamp system. I've emailed the company to ask, but anyone have a view why I shouldn't use a roof mounting rail system for this job? Any other suggestions welcome.
  17. For anyone considering more than 4kW on their solar PV, I received this from my DNO today and it may be helpful. Note that their quoted maximum turnaround time for applications is 65 working days, i.e. around 3 months. To complete an application, and allow me to send the application to our Network Planner, we would require the following information; · Schematic – Please show all live phases, neutral, earth, lockable isolators, the name & size of inverters being used, a clear demarcation between the DNO and customer equipment and the generation itself. · Site Plan – Please provide a google earth image of the site, and mark the meter point · Completed G59 Application Please can you also provide your MPAN for the above application. We will retain your partial application for 10 days from todays date. If we receive no further correspondence from you by this date, we will cancel this application and delete your records. You are, of course, free to make a new application at any time. Microgen.pdf
  18. Well next week I will pop along to the local consultation event for UK's largest solar farm which will be just down the road from Whitstable in Graveney. It will have 350MW, 4 x the current largest, at peak output and spread over 890 acres. I know what I think - what do you think? Loads on the Web - neatly balanced description HERE from the Guardian.
  19. How are solar panels fixed to a roof? I ask because I'd like to buy and install our PV after we have built the roof. I'd like to build the clips / fixing system into the roof at the time we build the roof, rather than dig around in all that expensive insulation and waterproofing after it has been fitted. We are putting the rafters in in the next week or so, and that would be the time to install the anchor points for the panels I have searched YT and found the usual nutcases: Watching most of the videos makes me wince - simple 8mm roofing screws screwed right into the roof with no regard whatever for water ingress. And people carrying heavy weights merrily waltzing around on a steeply pitched roof with absolutely no regard for safety @Construction Channel (he isn't a nutcase) hasn't done his yet, so I can't watch what he's done. Hurry up Ed will you, please? Are there any guidelines for attaching solar panels, any regulations I need to know about ?
  20. Hi, I'm not entirely sure if this post belongs here but there are several components that I think I should consider as part of one solution: Heating and Hot Water. You may be familiar with my project from the introductions forum but I'll present you with my circumstances in any case. I currently have a Combi Boiler heating our traditionally constructed 2700sq.ft bungalow and providing hot water to 2 showers (right now we use 14000 kWh Electricity and 48907 kWh Gas per annum!). We will be updating the current building with thicker loft insulation and better windows, but will still use rads to heat this portion of the house when we complete the renovation. The new part of the house will add around 6000sq.ft and will be built to much better u values using ICF walls and SIPS roof. Here's where I'm confused, I don't know what the best system will be that can provide loads of hot water (7 showers), heat UFH in the new part and also heat the rads in the old part. I'm further confused by mhrv, I've heard this is a necessity in ICF homes, but then heard the speaker at the homebuilding show at NEC state that they're pointless for homes over a certain size. I'm open to installing an ASHP but I'm not sure whether it's necessary or even beneficial when I have the option of mains gas. Lastly, I've a good size roof pointing SE without any shading to speak of so we could potentially generate a considerable amount electricity, but I would have to consider the regulations of having a system over 4kWh and the costs associated, also factoring potential battery storage over and above Sunamp if this too makes sense to use. I don't have a clue where the feed in tariff comes in to all this! There will also be a detached annexe of around 800sq.ft and we will most likely go with UFH and 1 shower, I'm not sure how this should be incorporated in to the overall scheme or whether I should treat it separate. I know its probably a good idea to speak with an energy solutions firm and will most likely speak with Stratford Energy Solutions who have been recommended to me, however, I also know that they may have commercial interests that don't take in to account all of the factors we self builders consider.
  21. I'm getting a few quotes in on PV systems for the roof of my MBC build and I have a slightly tricky issue of how to route the DC cabling from the array, underneath the tiles on a south facing 35° inclination roof, over the ridge and down the north facing side, into the single storey flat-roof garage where the inverter will live. I'd like it all sealed and tucked away where it won't have anything nasty done to it by local rodents or birds, but it's whether there is enough clearance for the cabling and all its protection. Any suggestions, please?
  22. I know there was lots of discussion on the old site about Solar PV with the recent changes by the government on feed in tariffs. I'm still sitting on the fence but need to decide soon and wonder what the general consensus was? I already have planning permission for Solar PV so that's not and issue, but I originally had plans for a 4kw system to take advantage of the south facing roof and the feed in tariff. Now the FiT has been reduced my thoughts are reverting to just self install and free electricity diverted to the water tank via Immersion or such solutions. This is a long term home with slate roof and bedded in panels. At the moment plugin solar have Quote £3100 for a 2 kw system with panels paired with micro inverters as the roof will become part shaded in the evening. The local PV supplier has said it's still worthwhile to go down the MCS FiT route (obviously he would say that :)) and has finger in the air quoted £3.5k which would still create a few hundred pounds return per year. He's also suggesting going for the full 4kw and maybe chuck the other panels on a shed roof to get on the MCS FiT system as a full system. He doesn't have many good things to say about the GSE in roof system but personally i think these are just that (views) and not supported by any facts. He referred to the long term robustness of them having recently fitted some that broke during install. I think the self install vs MCS is a said for the 2kw system if his quote of £3.5k stands but just wondered on the views of 1) going for the full 4kw (future crystal ball gazing with the government's challenges at Hinkley point would the FiT rise and therefore add 2kw separate system later? 2) views on the in roof systems for robustness and heat issues?
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