graeme m

Any news on Solar panels

Recommended Posts

As the plan is to run our new home on electrickery we need high yield panels, especially as the roof is is some what limited in space. So what is the latest on PV panels?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The issue is what do you want? 

 

Solar PV generates power when the sun shines. That is not necessarily when you want it.  

 

If you have the freedom (retired, work from home etc) then you may well be able to use all the big appliances like washing machine etc in the day and heat your hot water in the day.

 

For space heating, the problem is there is not enough sun when you need it most in the winter and possibly too much in the summer.

 

In the past that was neatly solved by the FIT. You got paid for what you generated, so it didn't matter much, you were in effect using the grid as a battery.  But now the FIT is so low, you get paid a lot less than the import rate.  This brings into question is it now worth signing up to the FIT?

 

My belief now is probably not.  It's possible to buy a 4KW complete system for just over £2K and install it yourself.  It would probably cost more than double that for an MCS install to claim the FIT.  A quick search suggests at current FIT rates you are looking at a 14 year payback time. So you have to question is it worth it?

 

Personally I intend to install at least 4WK of panels, sourced as cheap as I can, and DIY installed.  I will focus om maximum useful yield rather than max total yield, siting one string facing east to start usable generation as early in the day as possible, and the second string facing south to take over as the sun moves round. Possibly a third smaller string facing west as well.  That will reduce the total yield, but give a slightly more even and longer usable yield making the chance of self usage more likely.

 

And the other element is looking at battery storage to try and store some of what I am unable to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, ProDave said:

This brings into question is it now worth signing up to the FIT?

 

My belief now is probably not

I think it probably is, as long as you get a competitive quote for the installation.  There are two rates, the 'Deemed Usage' and the 'Generation Rate'.  It i only the generation rate that has been cut.

A lot of the costs in fitting PV are nothing to do with the FiT rate or the MCS system i.e. cost of scaffolding, labour rates, structural reports etc.

But there are companies that just put in high quotes and hope they sell a few.  We all know a few people that equate price with quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am not aware on any major breakthroughs recently, though Tesla (and others) have talked about the roof tiles becoming the panels.

 

When I looked at this about 2 years ago, high yield = high cost of panels and the break-even point went up from about 8-10 years with a basic / cheap-as-chips system to over 12 years with the high-yield panels. Assuming professionally installed and FIT registered. So went with cheap 250Wp per panel to give 4kWp in total and paired it with an Immersun to divert to DHW. We also try and tune our living to take advantage of PV - e.g. running washing loads or ASHP. I went with roof-integrated fit which not only gives a nicer appearance, but also saved me money on tiling.

 

Battery storage is horribly expensive right now and I don't see how it could pay back. More cost-effective to either use DHW to store excess or to export to the grid (I see the grid as a a large "battery" in this sense).

 

Of course this will change as electric cars come to the fore and there is better integration between car battery and the grid. I suspect this is the way forward rather than stand-alone battery just for local storage. But of course will also depend on your use-case e.g. if you drive to work in your electric car then you have lost the opportunity to charge the car battery from excess solar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, SteamyTea said:

I think it probably is, as long as you get a competitive quote for the installation.  There are two rates, the 'Deemed Usage' and the 'Generation Rate'.  It i only the generation rate that has been cut.

A lot of the costs in fitting PV are nothing to do with the FiT rate or the MCS system i.e. cost of scaffolding, labour rates, structural reports etc.

But there are companies that just put in high quotes and hope they sell a few.  We all know a few people that equate price with quality.

Very true.

 

But in my case it will all be ground mounted, so for me very cheap to make suitable frames and fit the panels. But I suspect an MCS company might force me to use a very expensive proprietary ground mount frame instead.

 

I will look into it when the time comes. I might be able to do what I did last time, and install it myself on behalf of the MCS supplier. In effect I became an unpaid employee of the company for 2 days and installed it myself and they charged me a much lower rate just for the paperwork, but it is not easy finding anyone that will do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, ProDave said:

It's possible to buy a 4KW complete system for just over £2K and install it yourself.  It would probably cost more than double that for an MCS install to claim the FIT.

Not comparing like with like - "install it yourself" is only free if your time is worth no money. If you are working to pay the bills then this is not necessarily the case, I had limited time during our build and so decided to focus it on where I could add most value. E.g. procurement where I could easily under-cut my builder for most materials.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, ragg987 said:

... though Tesla (and others) have talked about the roof tiles becoming the panels.

 

about 18 years ago I worked for a company that made laser machining tools. One of the machines we made was for processing these small "roof tile" panels.  I still see no sign of that product hitting the mass market.  I suspect the huge number of interconnections and how to make them reliable and simple is the issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should add, one area where prices are lower is in optimizers like Solaredge and Tigo. If your array has local variations then these will help squeeze every last drop from your investment - e.g. if you have partial shading from a tree or roof-ridge, or perhaps your array is split into multiple locations and orientations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We thought long & hard about fitting PV.

We decided that, hopefully, this is where we will stay it was worth it.

The heating, hot water & MVHR etc will all be electric. We will use any excess generation to heat & store as hot water & set washing machine for during the day.

We will still receive the deemed usage & the FIT.

Eventually battery storage will become viable & next car will be electric.

We decided it was future proofing & more cost effective to fit at this stage, we have gone for in roof panels, while slating the roof.

We believe electricity prices will continue to rise, especially if they build the new nuclear plants at exorbitant cost.

We found the cost of optimisers very expensive & were advised that only really needed if shading was an issue (in which case why would you fit PV anyway)

& that a good quality string inverter was the way to go.

Binky from the electricians forum was very helpful with totally independent advice as he was not selling anything.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ProDave said:

 

But in my case it will all be ground mounted, so for me very cheap to make suitable frames and fit the panels. But I suspect an MCS company might force me to use a very expensive proprietary ground mount frame instead.

If I had a FIT capable company I would offer a fee based service to check and connect up a self installed system and then register it. Anybody out there up for it cos then I might register mine - otherwise not. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ProDave said:

Very true.

 

But in my case it will all be ground mounted, 

 

Many years ago a chap I used to work with moved to Australia. His house was fairly remote so was off-grid. He built a ground mounted solar array that tracked the sun. From what I remember he said it was quite rudimentary so cheap to build but did make a huge improvement to yield. Unfortunately he died a few years ago so I can’t get any details of his solution but it might be worthwhile to look into to see if it is either DIY-able or if there is off the shelf solutions now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, MikeSharp01 said:

If I had a FIT capable company I would offer a fee based service to check and connect up a self installed system and then register it

There is more to MCS than just registering a system. If your idea was viable, it would have been done as the industry was riddled with crooks.

 

3 minutes ago, Siochair said:

He built a ground mounted solar array that tracked the sun

Modules are so cheap compared to a decade ago, it is just cheaper to add more.

 

There is still the DNO limits to adhere to if grid connected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

Modules are so cheap compared to a decade ago, it is just cheaper to add more.

 

There is still the DNO limits to adhere to if grid connected.

 

You also hit planning problems if using a ground mount system - Permitted development only allows 9m2 in England, Wales IIRC (14m2 in Northern Ireland)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Alphonsox said:

 

You also hit planning problems if using a ground mount system - Permitted development only allows 9m2 in England, Wales IIRC (14m2 in Northern Ireland)

I had the foresight to include them on the planning application, knowing the trees create too much shading for a roof system.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 05/01/2018 at 14:02, ProDave said:

The issue is what do you want? 

 

Solar PV generates power when the sun shines. That is not necessarily when you want it.  

 

If you have the freedom (retired, work from home etc) then you may well be able to use all the big appliances like washing machine etc in the day and heat your hot water in the day.

 

For space heating, the problem is there is not enough sun when you need it most in the winter and possibly too much in the summer.

 

In the past that was neatly solved by the FIT. You got paid for what you generated, so it didn't matter much, you were in effect using the grid as a battery.  But now the FIT is so low, you get paid a lot less than the import rate.  This brings into question is it now worth signing up to the FIT?

 

My belief now is probably not.  It's possible to buy a 4KW complete system for just over £2K and install it yourself.  It would probably cost more than double that for an MCS install to claim the FIT.  A quick search suggests at current FIT rates you are looking at a 14 year payback time. So you have to question is it worth it?

 

Personally I intend to install at least 4WK of panels, sourced as cheap as I can, and DIY installed.  I will focus om maximum useful yield rather than max total yield, siting one string facing east to start usable generation as early in the day as possible, and the second string facing south to take over as the sun moves round. Possibly a third smaller string facing west as well.  That will reduce the total yield, but give a slightly more even and longer usable yield making the chance of self usage more likely.

 

And the other element is looking at battery storage to try and store some of what I am unable to use.

Hi Dave, I had them on my old house for 7 years so I know the pros and cons. We live in the sunniest part of the UK so are better off than most with Solar. I agree Fits is not worth the cost of a recognised installer. I'd just like to know if there's any new inovations coming to the market as we need to get as many KW as we can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The issue is I have a small south facing roof at a low pitch 30m2, there's no space in the garden for panels, there is a large garage with a flat roof of 28m2 but as a condition of our planning Arun Council (howk Spit) have removed any permitting developement rights so I'm not even sure we can use the garage roof. The plan is to prepare the house for batteries and install once they become viable.  I can fit a gas boiler as back up but was hoping to avoid this. I'm just not sure we can get enough KWs from the space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, graeme m said:

The issue is I have a small south facing roof at a low pitch 30m2, there's no space in the garden for panels, there is a large garage with a flat roof of 28m2 but as a condition of our planning Arun Council (howk Spit) have removed any permitting developement rights so I'm not even sure we can use the garage roof. The plan is to prepare the house for batteries and install once they become viable.  I can fit a gas boiler as back up but was hoping to avoid this. I'm just not sure we can get enough KWs from the space.

 

Can you fit an in roof system which is flush without pd? Would that retrofit?

 

Or you could apply for PP.

Edited by Ferdinand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

 

Can you fit an in roof system which is flush without pd? Would that retrofit?

 

Or you could apply for PP.

Ferdinand have a look at the plan and you'll see what we have. The roof is zinc, we can either run between the joins or cut around the panels or sit on top, not keen on the las option.512-1-002-ProposedFloor&RoofPlans-10.pdf512-1-002-ProposedFloor&RoofPlans-10.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Sorry ... thought it was an existing roof. My bad.

 

Could you also or alternatively do a brise soleil like this to shade your windows, which would give you more solar panel area and perhaps fill an energy gap? Would give you 6-10 or so panels, perhaps 1.6-2 kWp or 3kWp+,  depending on density of panels.

 

It is at a Grand Design called Underhill House. Possibly the 1st certified ph in the country.

 

hill_barn_underhill_house3.jpg 

 

More info.

http://www.seymoursmith.co.uk/underhill-psv.php

 

Just an idea. Attachment to the wall might skirt some Regs.

 

 

Edited by Ferdinand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, graeme m said:

Ferdinand have a look at the plan and you'll see what we have. The roof is zinc, we can either run between the joins or cut around the panels or sit on top, not keen on the las option

 

Hi Graeme, that's not hugely dissimilar to what we have planned and, if we get planning, we're hoping to use the Tata Steel panels that incorporate built in PV. The PV is in strips and is bonded to each panel, between the standing seams.

 

Copied below is the response from BIPVCo after my request for information regarding our own plans which may be of some use. I hasten to add, I have no idea if this product is good, bad or indifferent.

 

Thank you for your email. Across a 15.5m roof, you could fit up to 39 Urban panels if you used a 390mm width panel. Lets say 37 to allow for end panels

A 4.8m long roof could accommodate a 219w panel, so that’s 219 x 37 = 8.1kWp across one roof

The cost of each module (excluding the inverters, cabling etc), supply only, would be £361.35 ex vat/delivery

VIZ_0329.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/9/2018 at 11:16, Ferdinand said:

Sorry ... thought it was an existing roof. My bad.

 

Could you also or alternatively do a brise soleil like this to shade your windows, which would give you more solar panel area and perhaps fill an energy gap? Would give you 6-10 or so panels, perhaps 1.6-2 kWp or 3kWp+,  depending on density of panels.

 

It is at a Grand Design called Underhill House. Possibly the 1st certified ph in the country.

 

hill_barn_underhill_house3.jpg 

 

More info.

http://www.seymoursmith.co.uk/underhill-psv.php

 

Just an idea. Attachment to the wall might skirt some Regs.

Not now unfortunately, we'd need to start the planning  process again and that is definitely not happening.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/9/2018 at 17:04, Russdl said:

 

Hi Graeme, that's not hugely dissimilar to what we have planned and, if we get planning, we're hoping to use the Tata Steel panels that incorporate built in PV. The PV is in strips and is bonded to each panel, between the standing seams.

 

Copied below is the response from BIPVCo after my request for information regarding our own plans which may be of some use. I hasten to add, I have no idea if this product is good, bad or indifferent.

 

Thank you for your email. Across a 15.5m roof, you could fit up to 39 Urban panels if you used a 390mm width panel. Lets say 37 to allow for end panels

A 4.8m long roof could accommodate a 219w panel, so that’s 219 x 37 = 8.1kWp across one roof

The cost of each module (excluding the inverters, cabling etc), supply only, would be £361.35 ex vat/delivery

VIZ_0329.png

Thanks for that. We have looked at those flexi panels, they look good but they aren't as efficient at fixed panels. I don't think we'd gain anything but I will look again.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also considered built in pv panels .

spoke to Tesla and they said a uk release is at least 2 yrs away .

i thought they’d be good estetically and save on roof tiles . But if one goes faulty you need to replace otherwise roof exposed ! . So you are reliant on them not failing and a panel of same size etc existing in the future . So ! ; tiled my roof and will fit pv on top of that . PV is a no brainer . Forget fit now . Battery storage is near to being worth it .....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now