Case Studies . . .
Below is a case study by Mr Nicholas Lee in Denham describing the installation of solar panels in his own words. Nicks property has 5 roofs that were possibilities for the installation of panels on a south east or south west orientation as well as a small flat roof area.
We have a large house with many different Roofs none of which point due south. Therefore I was somewhat nervous about the idea of installing solar panels as to whether or not they would be effective. I need not have worried Jay worked through the various options with me while we were selecting which roofs to use and which solar panels to buy. I was very impressed with how he was able to meet up regularly to go through the various designs which evolved over time.
We selected the all-black LG 250 W panels which look almost invisible on our roof. Unlike others with silver strips within them these ones are pure black blending in perfectly with our roof.
We also selected solar edge as our inverter which has a fascinating web and iPhone application that allows one to monitor the generation of electricity moment by moment. This in fact allowed us to move some of the panels and expand the system based on our initial measurements. This was only helpful because of the complex roofs we have and for a simple or small system is not necessary but is fascinating to be able to monitor the electricity generated.
Installation of the panels was quick easy and their work is of the highest standard. Everything was explained to myself and my wife. He arranged for all the permissions and getting the feed in tariff from our energy supplier ScottishPower was easy although interestingly the contract they sent had an error in the feed in tariff reducing the feeding tariff by a factor of 100 times!
I would recommend having a solic 200 which monitors any spare electricity that the house is not using and passes this to the immersion heater. This has enabled us to switch off our gas boiler for the summer and heat are hot water entirely by electricity. Though I would warn people that immersion heaters are not thermostatically controlled like hot water gas boilers are and that the hot water is very often at over 60°C. This is enough to scold which is not a problem in mixer taps or thermostatically controlled shower units however is a problem with separate taps but there is a very cheap £30 option which can be retrofitted to single taps to limit the temperature of water coming out of a hot water tap to 43°C. We had to do this in a downstairs loo for safety reasons.
I also purchased a Watson monitoring system that does very much what the solar edge system does in providing web-based information on the amount of electricity you're generating the amount you are using and the amount that is being exported. It also has a useful display which we have located in the kitchen to indicate the amount of electricity we are using. Although this is somewhat academic as spare electricity usually goes into our hot water tank but once that is up to temperature and negative value indicates a good time to put on the dishwasher or washing machine. Interestingly we measured the electricity of both the dishwasher and washing machine and found that the dishwasher utilises twice the amount that a washing machine uses but unsurprisingly the tumble dryer is the highest usage. However with an immersion system there is little point in having the Watson electricity switches which switch on appliances when there is spare electricity.
I've changed our monthly direct debit payment was ScottishPower to payment on invoice as it is difficult to predict our energy usage and therefore monthly cost. They were somewhat reluctant to do this and it did require several phone calls. Nevertheless there online graphical display of our usage of gas and electricity shows a dramatic fall and for the same period last year our electricity bill has more than halved and our gas bill is virtually nil over the summer. Obviously this will increase as the winter months come on.
However we have also taken the opportunity to modernise our central heating system with the Evo home digital control system. This system replaces the thermostatic valves of each radiator and monitors the hot water tank temperature. With a central monitor and an iPhone app you can control precisely the heating in each room at any particular time of day. The system displays the room temperature as well as the desired temperature that you have set. This gives a very precise control compared to the standard radiator valves.
Overall the system is exceeded our expectation provided plenty of dinner party talk and I would wholeheartedly recommend people to consider solar panels.
My view also is that this is a good investment providing over 10%* return per year which is tax-free and guaranteed. The investment in solar energy to one's own home is a far better investment and a far better return than ISAS or other investment.
Jay and his going green renewables company are highly professional incredibly knowledgeable very enthusiastic I would highly recommend them as installers of renewable energy.
* These returns vary for each individual installation.