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Solar Panels

Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

Solar Panels

I could have sworn I posted this earlier!

The people who live in the house at the back of mine are having a solar panel fitted. From the looks of things its for hot water.

Does anyone have a panel for water or electric or know anyone that does? Are they any good? I was under the impression that they aren't very economical in terms of purchase costs and how long they take to break even.
16 REPLIES
shellsong
Grafter
Posts: 2,191
Registered: 03-08-2007

Solar Panels

Depends on whether you're good at plumbing type DIY-- commercial units can cost an arm and a leg to install but a workmate of mine and his dad installed a homebuilt setup in the early 1980s and it worked a treat providing usefully hot water that didn't need much extra heating even in the winter. I don't think it needed any extra heating in the summer! Wink

You can use discarded flat radiators, I believe, in an insulated double glazed frame and you might need a sort of venetian blind to stop them overheating in realy hot weather

You normally angle them to make the most of the low winter sun which reduces their willingness to boil in the summer Cheesy
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Solar Panels

He he he,

I wonder how much it would cost to fit and if the council would allow the fitment of these to a council house. Problem is come winter when sunlight isnt much in demand the electricity and such would have to be found via means of supplier.

This would help me out noend with my electricity usage Smiley
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,877
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Solar Panels

I do belive you can stay hooked up to the grid and even if you are producing enough contribute energy back to the grid and be paid for it. I remember watching a video on it at school when we were doing a topic on it in science...
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Solar Panels

Now thats sounds like a nice idea. Create energy to use and power my systems and house. Create more energy and get paid for it by the leccy board.

Sweet deal I reckon.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Solar Panels

I looked the electricity idea Tom, but was put off by the £15,000 price tag! And I believe that was after a 50% grant. That was a few years back so prices could have changed.

Chilly
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Solar Panels


This makes an interesting read.

Grants are becoming more attractive and the Councils now have an obligation to allow more home power generation. Considering the British Gas price hike recently, it will probably make sense to have some way to supplement your energy by using wind, solar or heat sinks.
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Solar Panels

Chilly,

Indeed £15,000 would put me off for a lifetime. Although if I could argue the council into such a situation whereby they pay for it all ( IE Ill be a beta* tester for our area :lol: ) I would have little cause for complaint.
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

Solar Panels

Second, strike that, third attempt at posting this - I keep getting logged out!

Photovoltaics are still generally too expensive for the home user to do a large scale project. There is a company called Solar Century who makes solar roof tiles and if you were laying a new roof anyway it might be worth doing.

Small scale projects are worth a go - I am intending using a small 5W panel (£37 for two via eBay) to charge a battery to run some LED lights in my Japanese garden. (Once I have got rid of the old concrete patio, built the verandah, laid the stepping stones... :? )

Solar water heating can be viable if you do it yourself, but you do need to be careful about freezing, overheating and not making your roof leak where the pipes go through! The commercial solutions are a bit more efficient, but not so much as to justify the extra cost. I know a guy who made his own and gets all his hot water that way during the summer.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

Solar Panels

My neighbour has completed his project now, it looks pretty good, but I bet other neighbours consider it an eye sore. I'll have to post a pic of it one day.

If I was going to get solar panels it would only be the solar pv ones that would do any good for me. Our gas bill is only £20 and due to go down once Ive finished insulating but the leccy bill is £45 per month and thats with switching all the unused appliences off and enery saving lightbulbs etc.
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Solar Panels

Surely though you would look into electric heating for the home if you are to use solar panels and get free electric Wink
Our gas bill is...actually I choose not to disclose it as I think im getting done over by BG.

Its some £120 a month, for a 3 bed semi, cavity wall insul and loft insul as well.

As for the electric, well we are looking at about the same there 40 - £45 a month. I have 18watt ( ennergy efficient so output is 100watt ) bulbs throughout, fridge freezer is cat A, washing machine is cat A etc. The only things that could be causing this sort of usage are the kettle or my computers. But I cant see a simple 400 watt power supply chewing through that much electric a month surely?
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Solar Panels

Tom - a "unit" of electricity is one kilowatt-hour; so what that means is that using your 400 watt power supply for an hour uses 0.4 electricity units: that makes 9.6 units per day if kept on for the whole 24 hours; thus making a usage of roughly 300 units per month. If you go find your cost per unit, you'll find that's quite a bit of money spent each month on the computer - assuming it's on 24/7 that is.

Thomas
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Solar Panels

To quote myself from another thread;
http://portal.plus.net/central/forums/viewtopic.php?t=38791
Quote

For example 100 Watts, running all year is about £35 per annum.

That is based on a rate of 5p per KWh. Depending on your electricity supplier you may be paying up to 14p per KWh (Our rate with nPower is about 14p for the first so many units then it drops to 5p for the majority.)

Now just because your power supply is rated at 400W does not mean your PC will be using that much. I guess it will average around 100W to 200W. Depending on usage and specification.

So I can see you easily paying £10 per month to run your PC.

Chilly
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Solar Panels

Quote

So I can see you easily paying £10 per month to run your PC.



£10 per month! :shock: I'm shocked. Is there a pedal power generator available?

I can get exercise and power at the same time? Cheesy
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Solar Panels