Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The sunshine is free...

...but our Solar PV system wasn't!

However, we are now generating up to 3,000W (3kWh) of electricity per hour, IF it is bright and sunny, and only between the hours of say 11am and 2pm.
But as the days get longer and the sun climbs higher in the sky the frequency and intensity will increase. On a cloudy foggy Winter morning the system produces some 200-300W, with other words we can just about run 2 or 3 100W light bulbs off it. The maximum capacity of our system is just under 4kWh - our typical daily household usage is around 24kW. And of course we use most electricity early in the mornings and in the evenings, after dark, when our Solar PV system produces absolutely nothing: Zilch, zip, zero, null. Never mind.

It all depends on the weather, of course, but based on averages the prediction is that our Solar PV system will save us approx. £250-£300p.a. in the cost of purchasing electricity. In addition to that we get paid (this is called the Feed-in-Tariff or FID) 41.3p for each kWh we produce and use ourselves, and 44.1p for each kWh we export into the national Grid at times we produce more than we use. And that FID is guaranteed for 25 years and Tax Free. My only worry is that it is guaranteed by The Government... and I think our politicians have been know to break one or two promises to 'the people' in the past - but let's be positive for now!

Guests in Homelands bed and breakfast can see the sun at work by looking at the Inverter in the Guest Utility Room, when they get some fresh milk or browse for maps and walking routes.  A Solar inverter or PV inverter is a type of electrical inverter that is made to change the direct current (DC) electricity from a photovoltaic array into alternating current (AC) for use with home appliances and feeding back into the National Grid. The Inverter displays the current (in both meanings of the word) generated in real time: So the moment the sun pops up from behind a cloud the reading jumps up - a wonderful sight. And your milk is kept cool.

Our system has been installed by GSM Ltd from Gloucester - they have had a bit of a struggle installing this system as it was done during one of the worst winter months the UK has experienced for some 30 years. GSM specialises in air conditioning, heat pumps, ventilation systems, and renewable energy systems.

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