Relaunching @edent_solar. Part 1 - installation

by @edent | # | 2 comments

A few years ago, we installed solar panels on our roof in Oxford - I've enjoyed blogging about them. I've released open data from them, inspected them with a drone, and measured what happened during a solar eclipse. They've even been on the BBC!

But the best thing I did, was release this little Twitter bot.

At sunset every day, it created a graph of the day's solar power.

Well, last year we moved house and left the panels behind. After a few months of planning and saving, we had new panels fitted. This is the first in a series of blog posts detailing their installation and configuration.

Specification

SolarWatt 320 Watt panels - 16 of them.
Technical information about the panels.

Delivered in a couple of great big pallets:
Pallet of panels.

Close-up of the gorgeousness:
Close up of panels - lots of fine etched grooves.

Installation

Sadly, we no longer have a south facing roof. Because of the East / West split, we have panels on both sides. Normally panels are bolted on top of the roof. The structure of our roof supports were judged to be a bit delicate, so tiles were removed and panels fitted in their place. I rather like the look:

Roof of our house.

The panels each weigh 20KG - considerably lighter than the tiles they replaced.

We now have lots of spare Redland Delta tiles.

Huge piles of roofing tiles.

Free to a good home!

Electrics

*sight* This did not go well. We'd had a brief inspection of our consumer unit and it was judged to be complex, but basically fine. It was not fine.

The electrician spent lots of time swearing about crossed neutrals, incorrectly placed bus-bars, and inadequate RCDs. We spent rather too long with the power off, occasionally flickering on, only to trip again.

What should have been a day-and-a-half job, turned into 3 days - the last being extremely stressful. Lesson learned - always get a second opinion on anything electrical! But, eventually, the power began to flow.

Tune in tomorrow when I'll go through the specification and configuration of the inverter. Fun times!

2 thoughts on “Relaunching @edent_solar. Part 1 - installation

  1. Paul Leader says:

    Do you have a sense yet as to what effect being east/west facing has on the generating capactiy of the installation?

    Our house is east/west, so I've always been a bit put off getting solar, under the impression that the efficiency would make it a waste of time. Although I guess that depends on how much extra it costs to have more panels as a proportion of the total cost.

    If you don't mind me asking, how much is this installation? I know that panel prices have dropped a lot, but I'm curious if the installation time/cost have dropped too.

    1. @edent says:

      We've only had them running for a few days, so it's hard to tell. You can download the data from our other panels or see it on https://pvoutput.org/list.jsp?sid=25687.

      This time last year, our 4kWp system generated about 22kWh in Oxford. Yesterday in London, we generated about 16kWh on our 5kWp system.

      That's a snapshot, and doesn't take into account weather. After a month we should be able to get a more realistic comparison.

      So, there's probably a small hit in terms of energy generation. But the average house uses 10kWh per day, so we're completely offsetting our use.

      Total cost was around £7k - but we have a townhouse which required extra scaffolding, a larger installation crew, nd we deliberately chose fairly high spec panels and inverter. The fixed costs of installation time and effort haven't changed much.

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