My Solar PV – FAQ (Glasgow)

16Jun11

Here is a list of ‘frequently asked questions’ that may help interested parties in the area considering Solar PV.

Q. Am I happy would I do it again?
A. Yes/Yes

Q. Is it right for everyone ?
A. Depends on your roof location (southerly and not shaded by trees/buildings/mountains)
……. and whether you can stomach a long-term investment
ie 10 years to break even !
(not for elderlys in there twylight years, mobile youngsters or wobbly relationships !)

Q. Can you recommend your installer ?
A. Yes, heartily – Highly recommended

Q. Technical Part – What do you have ?
A. System is a 3.95 kw peak rating installed by Tom Morley, Solar Technology, Edinburgh. Yingli polycrystalline panels and an Aurora PVI 3.6 inverter

Q. Poly or Mono ?
I am poly cos’ that’s all that was available at the time.
I have no advice on this, I would probably go for the best price for decent construction quality.

Q. What the financials/numbers
A. Installed total cost was approx 14k, I was fortunate to also gain a grant (~ 10k to me).
First year return or ‘contribution’ from FITS plus export plus less import electricity
~ £ 1650
A very rough rule of thumb is 50p per kwh

Q. Scotland is cloudy and rainy these panels are silly .. surely ?
A. Well we certainly don’t need to clean the panels !
Levels of collectible solar radiation is far better further south in Cornwall or the Sahara for sure, here are my figures in kWh for the last year. (note Dec to Feb is next to nothing)
J 500, A 430, S 340, O 190, N 75, D 29, J 66, F 11, M 250, A 460, M 500, J 500 *

Q. What is the most you have generated in a day ?
A. 27 kWh, yes it was a sunny not a cloud in the sky great day
However, today was good, certainly no heat wave has been okay and I got 23 kWh
Paradoxically, these panels become less efficient in hot weather and derate due the high surface temperatures on the roof, even by 20-25% that’s why the difference between sweltering hot and bright and windy is not so large.

Q. What about Solar Thermal (hot water heating)
A. I would have liked to do this and have reserved some roof space for this system, however, this may require a lot of extra plumbing, it does not attract the same high FITs, and for now if you have mains gas it far cheaper to use your efficient combi boiler.  The case is better if you have no mains gas supply (or a hot tub!).

Q. Do you log monitor your energy usage and solar generation  ?
A. Yes, browse through the other blog posts, I log all the electricity generate, used, exported as well as gas etc

Q. Big or smaller installer ?
A. I only had small installer quote that did not employ salesman that was I guess 18 months ago.  Drive the best price and watch out for all the predictable smoke/mirrors double-glazing sales trickery.
At the end of the day the cost is due to  the parts and spending time drilling fixings onto your roof, oh and profit as well.

Q. Is it money-making or planet saving or green ?
A. Another interesting debate, but I do believe in using less and being flexible in our energy expectations. ie a longer debate for another time !

Q. Is there better ways to spend the money (on becoming energy-efficient)
Again another lengthy consideration I really can’t answer for you – Insulation, monitoring, send children to an orphanage, cruise, drink etc etc etc

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