Update time!

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Time to get the sweet corn in. This is the 3rd bed in.

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Done!

First bed has garlic and broccoli

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Salad bed!

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Bean bed (4th and final)

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And a nice Belgium Blonde on the brew!

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Garden clearup

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Doing the jobs that should have been done in September… A quick snip to the raspberry canes and at the back you can see that I’ve completely stripped the brambles back, mounted some green trellis and wound the brambles up. Yes, I’m trying to tame the brambles…

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Meantime Helen cleared up the dead mint, planted some spring onions and fed the strawberries. They’re in their last year really so we need to plant some more up this year.

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Last years bean bed was cleared up, garlic planted (see last post!) and netted them so the chickens or cats don’t get it.

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The greenhouse needed a bit of a tidy and Helen was the woman for the job!

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The chickens are happy enough when you ply them with meal worms.

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And finally the grape needed trimming. It went bonkers last year claiming everything in sight. This is now set up a bit more traditionally with only fourish vines. Hopefully I’ll get better grapes.

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Elephant Garlic planting

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Every time I went into the lean to I’d go “oh God I need to plant the garlic… Well finally I got round to it with a little help from Sam.

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Elephant Garlic is much bigger. Each clove is the size of a small standard garlic.

The first garlic was given to us four years ago by our neighbour and generally it’s done well, but never actually splits into cloves. This year’s was given to us again by our neighbour and planted far too late again!

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Plant about 1″ below the surface

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Help optional.

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Energy Graphs

I do like gadgets and the emonpi system is an excellent gadget for keeping an eye on my panels.

The below graph is an interactive snippet that allows you to look at energy generation on the fly (Yellow is Solar) including how much I’m importing/exporting to the Grid (Green Line) and how much power I’m using in total (Blue).

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Solar generation

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Having bought and installed an emonPi, I can now remotely  review my solar generation vs usage. Bit worried that my panels continue to generate 170w in complete darkness.

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Let them eat grass

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It’s got to the time of the year when the garden is low on productivity and the chickens can free range and clear up the parasites that have dug themselves into the top soil.

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They’re obviously enjoying themselves

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And its time to empty the compost heaps onto the beds so I was very pleased to see this in the first one I turned.

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Generation

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Yesterday we managed just under 10kw (up from a measly 60w on Friday, but they were commissioned just as they got dark)

Today its been very foggy and dark, yet we’ve still managed about 4kw and its only lunch time.

I lose the Envoy on Monday night so I’ll only be able to work it out by checking out the meter.

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Panels

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No generation yet, they’re not plugged in but we will by tomorrow!

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Solar Panel install #2

 

 

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Cashing in on bright days

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The day has finally come for solar panel installation.  When I originally looked into it we discovered that the east roof was in fact North East (useless) and the west was completely shaded by the neighbours property.  The south could support 4 panels (almost 5, but about 5 cm off!).  We did talk about the garage roof, but because it was an assortment of 2×6 and 2×4, badly spaced and woodworm infested and the felt was almost at end of life, it would require the replacement of the roof (an expected cost, but not once necessarily required right at that moment)

Then the garage roof suddenly failed and water was pouring in over my mains board.  Not a very good position, so it was decided to replace it post haste.  We replaced with 2×8 (so a party can now happen on the roof) or a solar farm.

The system is just under 4kw (14 panels), installed by Clive of Complete Renewables (http://www.completerenewables.co.uk/) who’s a local Essex installer.  We specifically went with him because he likes to use LG panels.  I was also very interested in the microinverter solution he used from Enphase.  These allow any of the panels to be shaded without impacting on the others production (unlike normal inverters which are slightly less efficient in shading).  Another interesting feature is the Enphase Envoy which picks up powerline signals from each of the micro inverters and allows you to monitor each panels production – though sadly this is current under fees.  I’m thinking of getting an Envoy in a few months when it’s rumoured they’ll be releasing a new one which handles an “affordable battery solution” – I’m interested to see how this compares to the offerings by Tesla, though I think I may find that the Enphase microinverters make the Tesla solution incompatible.

Anyway Enphase, if you’re listening I’d love to tie my generation stats into my blog for people see what I’m generating, so feel free to hit me up with an offer on an Envoy I can’t refuse.

Why I’m having it done right now before the winter is because the solar FIT payments from the government finish in January, so if you’re not quick, your payback will be affected.  Payback for this system is about 8.6 yrs.

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