Sending 1.2 Million Tweets

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~7,006 times.
A beautiful blue sky with scattered clouds. Text reads 2586 Watts - 68% battery.

Back in 2014, I set up a rather silly Twitter account - @OxfordSolarLive. The premise was simple. A camera took a photo of the sky above my house. It took a reading from my solar panels to see how much electricity they were generating. It superimposed the reading on the photo. Then posted it on… Continue reading →

Is a smart electricity tariff worth it?

by @edent | # # # # | 4 comments | Read ~1,962 times.
A graph of energy consumption.

(Long and data-filled post ahead!) I've switched to energy provider Bulb (£50 off if you join using that link). They offer a "peak time" electricity charge which looks like this: 23:00 to 07:00 = £0.0815/kWh 07:00 to 16:00 = £0.1235/kWh 16:00 to 19:00 = £0.3263/kWh 19:00 to 23:00 = £0.1235/kWh By contrast, the standard tariff… Continue reading →

Talking Solar Batteries With BBC Click

by @edent | # # # # # | Read ~180 times.
Terence pointing at a laptop

A few weeks ago, I had a delightful chat with the BBC about our solar battery storage. You can watch it on iPlayer starting about 7m 30s in. Community battery technology is here. It is feasible. And it just works. The solar panels on our roof generate more power than we can use - so… Continue reading →

Solar Battery and Alexa - in 30 lines of code

by @edent | # # # # # # # | Read ~126 times.
A list of phrases used to activate the device

Amazon Alexa is a fun little bit of kit. But it can be tricky getting it to work with all your smart devices. Not every company has an Alexa skill - just like not every company has an app. Using Flask-Ask it is possible to bring Alexa smarts to a range of previously mute devices.… Continue reading →

Amazon Alexa and Solar Panels

by @edent | # # # # # | 5 comments | Read ~11,555 times.

I can now query my solar panels via my Alexa Amazon Dot Echo thingie (why so many names?). I flatter myself as a reasonably competent techie and programmer, but fuck me AWS Lambdas and Alexa skills are a right pile of shite! Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but they're a pain in the… Continue reading →

Inspecting Solar Panels using a Drone

by @edent | # # | 2 comments | Read ~168 times.

I'm probably not the first to do this - but it was a fun way to learn just how tricky it is to control a cheap quadcopter even in mild weather. This video has no sound. Your browser doesn't support HTML5 video tag. Good enough quality to make sure the panels aren't covered in bird-mess,… Continue reading →

My solar batteries on BBC's You & Yours

by @edent | # # # # # # # | Read ~142 times.

Always a delight to be interviewed by the BBC again. This time, talking about our Solar Batteries. You can listen again on the BBC iPlayer. The solar stuff starts at 14m 30s, with my interview at 17 minutes. You can also hear my electric car being charged 🙂 Being interviewed by a nice man from… Continue reading →

Meet Maslow - The UK's Answer to Tesla's PowerWall

by @edent | # # # # # # | 15 comments | Read ~9,196 times.

Even in the depths of British winter my solar panels'll still happily convert what little sunlight we get into delicious, free-range, organic electrons. Nice! Most of our domestic energy use is in the evening. So, when I'm out at work I can schedule the tumble dryer, robot vacuum cleaner, and WiFi rice-cooker to consume energy… Continue reading →

Drive the car, tuppence a mile!

by @edent | # # # | 4 comments | Read ~558 times.

(To the tune of the popular Mary Poppins song.) How much does it really cost to drive an electric car? Well, I've had my BMW i3 for a few months, so I thought I'd crunch the numbers. As part of the UK Government's OLEV scheme, there's a subsidy for installing car charging points at home.… Continue reading →

Solar Charging Electric Cars

by @edent | # # # # | 10 comments | Read ~1,125 times.

Regular readers will know that I have solar panels and an electric car. Is there any way to hook the panels up so they directly charge the car? Can I set my electrical system up to divert surplus electricity into the car when my house isn't using it. This is what I do with my… Continue reading →