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Solar by numbers?
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OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 9:21 am    Post subject: Solar by numbers? Reply with quote
    

As you know I've recently got myself qualified as an electrician as well as MCS certified. As a result I know full well the pitfalls and potential dangers of dabbling with anything electrical. Also how valuable actual practical experience is needed as much as theoretical.
That said most of the electrical work I do is using tried and tested methods and materials. I.e. if its an average ring main you use 2.5mm cable; lighting 1.5mm, standard sockets, switches, etc, etc.

What I want to do is set up a set of recommended systems for Off-Grid solar PV installations. Watching many discussions on here and other forums I feel a lot of people are put off (and sometimes put down) by over-complicated explanations that go way beyond what is needed for the average DIY person to put together a safe/effective system.
I know there are some people here who are much more knowledgeable than me on the subject who might help?
Crucially with the specific components named (with example prices). This might stop a lot of enthusiastic people buy mismatched components that either never work together or fail early.
Why do I want to do this? Well I've started a group in Otley (now named Practically Green) and will soon be putting together a website with all manner of info on how to live a greener life - based on local conditions (i.e. what grows well here, what's available locally, best use of solar PV, etc).

Here's what I'm thinking of:

A set of systems (including wiring specs and layouts) suitable for powering different sets of devices - and perhaps a couple of example prices and suppliers for each.

Examples:
A low power set - charging phones, shed lights.
Mid range intermittent - Pumps, small electrical tools, PCs, Laptops and the like.
Mid range continuous - fridges/freezers...

Of course there are endless combinations and applications but in the end I'm sure most can fit into one of only a small set of categories with a few options for each depending on the use (for example MSW or PSW inverters).

What do you think?

Graham Hyde



Joined: 03 Apr 2011
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Hi Otley lad.
I welcome your setting up the Practically Green group but solar or any other off grid system in my opinion should not be included.
We all know that an off grid system will not save money, the batteries alone (cheapest deep charge cycle 75 pounds each x 20 = 1,500 pounds and last about three years) take care of that. As for the enviromental issue, if you already have a mains supply you are installing an addition generating and battery system. The energy used to manufacture these items and transport them is a lot more than the that used by the generation of the mains electricity.
The only sensible use of off grid systems is that, when you are off grid the rest is just a con.
Regards, Graham

Graham Hyde



Joined: 03 Apr 2011
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Hi Otley lad.
I welcome your setting up the Practically Green group but solar or any other off grid system in my opinion should not be included.
We all know that an off grid system will not save money, the batteries alone (cheapest deep charge cycle 75 pounds each x 20 = 1,500 pounds and last about three years) take care of that. As for the enviromental issue, if you already have a mains supply you are installing an addition generating and battery system. The energy used to manufacture these items and transport them is a lot more than the that used by the generation of the mains electricity.
The only sensible use of off grid systems is that, when you are off grid the rest is just a con.
Regards, Graham

OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Graham Hyde wrote:
Hi Otley lad.
I welcome your setting up the Practically Green group but solar or any other off grid system in my opinion should not be included.
We all know that an off grid system will not save money, the batteries alone (cheapest deep charge cycle 75 pounds each x 20 = 1,500 pounds and last about three years) take care of that. As for the enviromental issue, if you already have a mains supply you are installing an addition generating and battery system. The energy used to manufacture these items and transport them is a lot more than the that used by the generation of the mains electricity.
The only sensible use of off grid systems is that, when you are off grid the rest is just a con.
Regards, Graham


Sigh - there's always a naysayer wanting to add their negative twopenneth.
I'm not asking for a debtate on the pros or cons of Solar as you can see if you read my OP. If you've nothing positive to contribute please keep you views for more relevant threads.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44721
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

OtleyLad wrote:
Sigh - there's always a naysayer wanting to add their negative twopenneth.
I'm not asking for a debtate on the pros or cons of Solar as you can see if you read my OP. If you've nothing positive to contribute please keep you views for more relevant threads.


If you don't want people to be honest then why post on a public forum? It's his opinion, based on what I believe is his own experience. You can take it or leave it but to respond in the manner that you have is in my opinion uncalled for and serves noone.

I am quite sceptical of the environmental benefits of battery based solar systems for the same reasons as Graham, they ain't really that cheap or green!

OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

tahir wrote:
OtleyLad wrote:
Sigh - there's always a naysayer wanting to add their negative twopenneth.
I'm not asking for a debtate on the pros or cons of Solar as you can see if you read my OP. If you've nothing positive to contribute please keep you views for more relevant threads.


If you don't want people to be honest then why post on a public forum? It's his opinion, based on what I believe is his own experience. You can take it or leave it but to respond in the manner that you have is in my opinion uncalled for and serves noone.

I am quite sceptical of the environmental benefits of battery based solar systems for the same reasons as Graham, they ain't really that cheap or green!


My response is uncalled for? I was simply asking for ideas on system configurations - not to hear people's negative dumping.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44721
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

OtleyLad wrote:
not to hear people's negative dumping.


To which I repeat, this is a public forum, people have opinions that may differ from yours. They may choose to express them, if this disturbs you then you need to rethink whether you should be posting for advice on a public forum, maybe you should have subtitled the post "Positive vibes only"?

crofter



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 2252

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Solar by numbers? Reply with quote
    

You did ask

OtleyLad wrote:
What do you think?


FWIW I agree with Graham.

Graham Hyde



Joined: 03 Apr 2011
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Hi Otley lad,
I'm sorry if I upset you. It was not my intention.
If you re read my email ( you may have missed this focusing on the negative part) I support you setting up the Green group in Otley.
My concern was you including a non-green item.
I used to be involved in Grren issues when working and part of my role included lecturing at Green events. The largest audience I had was just over 1,500 paying delegates. Cost of attendence was the equivelent of 150 pounds,. there was howerer more than just me talking.
Please keep submitting post, I always l look forward to opening 'Otleylad'.
Regards, Graham

Pilsbury



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 5645
Location: East london/Essex
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

As i have mentioned before i would love to set up a single panel linked to a battery with car charging ports available for my phojes, ipads, tablets and so on, it might cost more than the electricity it generates but if we are ever going to brek away from carbon based electricity i beleive every little helps.
If every house had a small appliance charging station demand from the grid would drop.
The next step up for me would be a shed based system which would probably be high demand for short periods if i ever got round to wood working again.
I have zero knowledge or experiance on this but i hope you can accheive what you are aiming for.

As for the negatives above i do understand what your saying but another way to look at it is to say why bother installing a woodburner if ypu already have central heating and yet that principal is heavily endorsed on downsizer....

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34416
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I think it's the fact that the batteries and solar panels require far more regularly sourced (coal made) electricity to produce than they will ever save. The same is not true for a wood burner.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44721
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Pilsbury wrote:
why bother installing a woodburner if ypu already have central heating and yet that principal is heavily endorsed on downsizer....


I agree, and although we have one it wasn't my idea and I don't really endorse them, they are more polluting than coal, the only benefit is that you're not using fossil fuels.

Much better to reduce demand (always)

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34416
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I would, however, like to see Solar for Dummies.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44721
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Nick wrote:
I would, however, like to see Solar for Dummies.


Not a bad idea, but it's not a brilliant solution finacially or environmentally, although it certainly has it's uses

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34416
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 14 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Probably not, now. However, the same is true of electric cars. But, if we don't shift units now, the barriers for reducing the costs won't ever happen. Battery technology is rocketing forward, because there is a demand for it.

Also, regardless of the 'costs' if brown outs are likely to become possible, it's an alternative.

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