This post was supposed to be about how I was having a shiny new 3.6kw system installed. Sadly, not.
The original proposal was to have 12 LG 280w panels, attached with Enphase micro inverters wired into a generation meter. This was because they’d be on my East roof and my South roof. The total would give me about 2.6-2.7kw of generation (from a 3.6kw system. Whilst there’s an awful lot of negative media being thrown about by Solaredge and Enphase (what seems to be the biggest comparable competitors) one thing is sure. Micro Inverters work best on shaded split systems and Optimisers work best on single string installations with a single inverter where there’s no shade and you’re on the optimum angle.
With that in mind I was fairly happy with the Enphase system.
My selected installer came out and we had a long chinwag and were pretty much ready to sign contracts. In the course of answering some of my questions, I checked google maps and we both realised that where we were talking about the panels would be North East, not East. If you’re not aware of where the sun rises, it’s mostly South East to South West in the UK. If it rises in the North, your continent has slipped below the equator.
So what to do? Well I do have a very nicely laid new flat roof. It _could_ if we’re lucky get a few panels on it. My garage roof is best because I ought to get seven rows of two panels at the perfect angle to generate the most power during the day. Actually, 14 panels on a single roof, facing South, potentially in a string situation with a SolarEdge system probably would work better.
My single most annoyed gripe about the Enphase system is the pay per play system. I’m not too sure what the current deal is, but basically I have to pay £250 to have a box which’ll monitor my system. If I allow it to connect to the net, it’ll send my generation stats to a pay for service. I can’t actually use my box to its full potential without setting up some sort of man in the middle attack (due to some dodgy SSL handling it’s possible) and coding some sort of interpreter. All I’d like to do is make a page on Waark which shows you my stats if you like that sort of thing. I might pay £250, but to activate my account, I apparently need to pay an additional $250 (not sure what that actually equates to in the UK, in truth it might be £150-250 and I’m not doing that for a webpage on a blog) I’ve heard rumours they’ve gone back to a pay per year service which in itself seems silly. Which is a real shame as it looks so much cleaner and better designed than the Solaredge system, which is cheaper.
I’d also get monitoring software thrown in, which would be cheaper than Enphase. Trouble is, my garage roof was laid by morons without a tape measure. or, a clue it seems. It’s filled with woodworms as well, mostly made out of 2×4 and 2×6. Mostly.
So, my current plan is get the gear on the new flat roof so we have a registered 4kw system for the current FiT payments. Get garage roof updated to 8×2 and regraded and move the panels over to the garage roof once it’s done. Whether my installer can be convinced to do me a Solaredge (or similar) install with the LG panels will have to be seen! It might save me a few quid considering I’m going to have to completely remove the garage roof…!