Archive for Conservation

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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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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Drought

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After three solid weeks (almost four) of rain, most of which has been torrential, this must be the wettest drought on record. I’m beginning to have concerns that the rain will drown the roots of my trees and I might loose the lot!

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Hosepipe ban spreads

It probably won’t surprise anyone in the South East as we’re well aware that water levels are pretty low and some areas have already announced bans, but it seems pretty much all the water companies are now reading from the same sheet.  The hosepipe ban seems here to stay.

Currently whilst I can feel the beds are drying up and even my impressively soggy lawn has now got typical clay cracks in it, I’m not as worried as I should be because of my 3,000ltrs of IBC storage.  IBCs got a mention in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago – not sure how I missed the article, but you can find it here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/mar/23/hosepipe-ban-water-butts

Not attractive? They’ve obviously not been looking at my lovely blingy IBC:

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Bat box

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A few weeks ago I put a batbox up over the IBCs. It’s in a good location for bats, away from humans and over my veg beds so they can clear our allotment area of insects.

It’s also within range of a stretching cat. They’ve not yet brought a bat in, but there’s always a first. I’ve therefore moved it to the back of the house. It may not be quiet enough for them but hey-ho.

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Blingy IBC

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I had a bit of roofing paint left over, so I painted the IBC. Looks very blingy and should keep it algae free!

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