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Solar power. #683504
16/01/21 04:47 PM
16/01/21 04:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 466
Wisconsin
Sportster Offline OP
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Sportster  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 466
Wisconsin
How many of you get your housing power needs from solar?

I’m excited about the trend towards electrification for the sake of our climate, however, I do appreciate some of our wonderful automobile combustion engines.

I’m thinking about building a free standing solar array that tracks the sun and installing batteries in the house to supply all of our power needs.

Any thoughts, experiences you’ve had?

Thanks.


2015 M3W, Morgan Aero Racing Stage 1, Garage 56 Stage 2, sport black, saddle tan, jeweled SS dash.
Re: Solar power. [Re: Sportster] #683513
16/01/21 05:28 PM
16/01/21 05:28 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 9,685
Gloucestershire, UK
Hamwich Offline
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Hamwich  Offline
Needs to Get Out More!

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 9,685
Gloucestershire, UK
Originally Posted by Sportster

I’m thinking about building a free standing solar array that tracks the sun and installing batteries in the house to supply all of our power needs.


Are you thinking of one of those Sunflower arrays? Very neat looking but flippin' expensive. We thought about it but went for a roof-mounted system in the end. If you want to be self-sufficient for electricity then you'll have a problem in winter. We have a total of 9.6KW but on an heavily overcast winters day we get no measurable output at all. Also bear in mind how much excess power you're expecting to export back to the grid. Anything more than 3.6KW and you'll need a special arrangement with your distribution network operator (DNO).

The way that batteries work means you'll not be able to run high-current devices like electric showers even for very short times. With a fairly standard 4KW array even in the middle of the day you'll be unlikely to see 3KW production, and a battery can only deliver c. 3KW at peak so a 9KW power shower is going to be too much for it. We have a zero-carbon contract with our supplier and that provides us with guilt-free power over and above our production capability.

Image on here runs completely off grid so he'll know far more about the self-sufficiency aspects than I.


Tim H.
1986 4/4 VVTi Sport, 2002 LR Defender, 1957 R4 CV, 2005 Ferrari Vipar
Re: Solar power. [Re: Sportster] #683514
16/01/21 05:30 PM
16/01/21 05:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,346
Derby
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PhilRoyle Offline
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Joined: Aug 2011
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Derby
We have ten solar panels on the roof. Had them now for about eight years - luckily we got in just before the feed in tarrif dropped. These few panels have now paid for themselves and for most of the year the house ticks over just using the power generated during the day. We do not have a battery to charge as it would take us about fifty years to break even on it by which time I would be about 120! Also we feel good being "greenish".


2010 4/4 sport - le mans green
Re: Solar power. [Re: Sportster] #683519
16/01/21 05:35 PM
16/01/21 05:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 19,123
Suffolk
John V6 Offline
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John V6  Offline
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Suffolk
We have a 3.9 kWh array. We don't have batteries due to the cost here in the UK vs the benefit.
It faces due south & has generated 8351 kWh in 2 years. An average of 11.41 Kw per day.
The size of the array is governed by the UK gov support scheme. Others on here have panels & batteries.
My problem of course is you make most power in the summer when you don't need it.


JohnV6
2006 Indigo Blue Roadster S1
2014 Brooklands Edition Roadster "Brookland's Belle" #5 of 50
Re: Solar power. [Re: Sportster] #683522
16/01/21 05:38 PM
16/01/21 05:38 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 466
Wisconsin
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Wisconsin
Appreciate the feedback so far. All goods thoughts.

Will have to research this thoroughly regarding the experience in our part of the country, especially during winter.


2015 M3W, Morgan Aero Racing Stage 1, Garage 56 Stage 2, sport black, saddle tan, jeweled SS dash.
Re: Solar power. [Re: Sportster] #683527
16/01/21 06:17 PM
16/01/21 06:17 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 466
Wisconsin
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Wisconsin
Just looked up the sun flower solar panel design ( Smartflower.com ). They are a very nice design. Don’t know if it makes sense financially but from an architectural design, somewhat self sufficiency, and green point of view intruiging.

Last edited by Sportster; 16/01/21 06:18 PM.

2015 M3W, Morgan Aero Racing Stage 1, Garage 56 Stage 2, sport black, saddle tan, jeweled SS dash.
Re: Solar power. [Re: Sportster] #683534
16/01/21 06:54 PM
16/01/21 06:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 1,610
Aberdeenshire
Image Offline
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Image  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 1,610
Aberdeenshire
Not sure how useful my input will be .... I've lived off-grid for 30+ years .... only thing that comes in or goes out of my property is the telephone line (and I'm thinking of ditching that now I have a decent 4g signal) .... I tend not to think of it as 'self-sufficient' because I can't manufacture the copper wire to repair my wind turbine and my silicon wafer skills are a bit rusty so the solar panels are on their own if they break .... tend to look at it as 'low impact' trying to minimise my footprint without living like a 13th century peasant.

As background I have 75 acres, 50 of which are sustainable forest .... as the killer for renewable energy is anything that requires heating (you won't run an electric stove or electric central heating if you're not grid-connected) ... no prizes where the fuel comes from for those requirements (tho at least wood is carbon neutral) .... I have a small (2m diameter) wind turbine and a small bank of solar panels .... these feed a 400ah battery bank (Trojan deep cycle batteries ... as an American you can get your sniggering out of the way now smile )

I run a Rayburn solid fuel range that supplies cooking, central heating and hot water (and is just the heart of the house ... can't beat a cosy kitchen) ... the turbine/solar gives lights (all LED), central heating pump, laptops/wifi, music and miscellaneous stuff like soldering irons and sewing machine (currently hard at work making new seats for the Mog)

I have a big old vintage open-flywheel lister diesel generator (4.7kw) that I switch on only as needed to run my lathe, pillar drill and welder .... it just sips red diesel but you'd be hard pressed to run heavy duty workshop equipment any other way

I also don't have kids needing 24/7 TV, computer and washing machine services and stream on my laptop rather than having a 46" TV .... something worth considering when it comes to energy requirements.

Unless you have access to a decent all-year stream with good flow and drop then living by renewable electricity alone is a massive ask ....hence my mix of sources and acknowledgement that what I do is low-impact .... the impact being a couple of jerrycans full of evil red diesel a year and a gallon or two of petrol for the chainsaw and quad

There's a lot of solar power users on here but most are grid connected so effectively use the grid as a giant battery, which solves the intermittency problems and the issue about sporadic use of heavy-draw equipment .... what I do is different and more hillbilly smile

K


PS ... this was how I spent yesterday ... knocking down 75 ft spruce trees for winter 2022's firewood


[Linked Image]

Last edited by Image; 16/01/21 07:03 PM.
Re: Solar power. [Re: Image] #683537
16/01/21 07:14 PM
16/01/21 07:14 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 466
Wisconsin
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Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 466
Wisconsin
Thanks for your input, Image.

A lot of great things to consider.


2015 M3W, Morgan Aero Racing Stage 1, Garage 56 Stage 2, sport black, saddle tan, jeweled SS dash.
Re: Solar power. [Re: John V6] #683538
16/01/21 07:21 PM
16/01/21 07:21 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 9,685
Gloucestershire, UK
Hamwich Offline
Needs to Get Out More!
Hamwich  Offline
Needs to Get Out More!

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 9,685
Gloucestershire, UK
Originally Posted by John V6
My problem of course is you make most power in the summer when you don't need it.


One of the factors that influenced our thinking is that as summertime temperatures increase, the ability to run multiple air conditioning units, fans, and freezers from the solar array was quite appealing.


Tim H.
1986 4/4 VVTi Sport, 2002 LR Defender, 1957 R4 CV, 2005 Ferrari Vipar
Re: Solar power. [Re: Sportster] #683703
17/01/21 06:18 PM
17/01/21 06:18 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 1,186
Oxon
PaulV Offline
Has a lot to Say!
PaulV  Offline
Has a lot to Say!

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 1,186
Oxon
I'd imagine in the US there is a pretty advanced solar scene (although whenever I fly into the US I cringe at the flat roofed business parks all lacking solar on their roofs!). For example the UK 3.6Kw DNO default limit is likely different. But have to say I'm looking at adding 12 roof panels this year... although it looks like the Tesla home battery will be a very difficult justification!


M3W5sp 2015, MSCC, MTWC, Oxon UK

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