Amazon Alexa and Solar Panels

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 […] Read More

Inspecting Solar Panels using a Drone

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, […] Read More

My solar batteries on BBC's You & Yours

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 […] Read More

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

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 […] Read More

Drive the car, tuppence a mile!

(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. […] Read More

Solar Charging Electric Cars

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 […] Read More

The Eclipse's Effect on Solar Power

The headlines were clear - Upcoming solar eclipse to wreak havoc on Germany's solar power output screamed the headlines. Although the reality was slightly more prosaic. Although it's only one data point, I'd like to show you what happened to our solar panels during the eclipse. The full day graph shows a clear dip during […] Read More

A Year Of Solar Panels - Open Data

It's been a full year since we had solar panels installed on our semi-detached house in Oxford, UK. By coincidence, the panels were switched on during the Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year. So, how have they performed? Tracking Solar Performance - The Easy Way The solar panels have a generation meter. […] Read More

Fronius and PVoutput

I've been playing around with - it's a community site which lets you quickly and easily publish live details of your solar panels. I couldn't see a pre-built library for my model of Solar Power Inverter - the Fronius - so I thought I'd build one. Important: the PVoutput API doesn't run over HTTPS. […] Read More

The Solar Solstice

As regular readers know, we've installed solar panels on our house in Oxford. The panels were originally installed on 17th December 2013 - that's pretty close to the winter solstice, where the UK experiences the lowest hours of sunlight. Today is the summer solstice. Time for Druids to dance around Stonehenge as we celebrate the […] Read More