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richms
25295 posts

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  #1436154 27-Nov-2015 16:03
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That's exactly why im not going for their solar zero plan.

Also, its not clear how they figure out what you have used vs what ended up getting sold back.




Richard rich.ms

k1wi
484 posts

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  #1448460 11-Dec-2015 03:51
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Porboynz:
k1wi: Hey Porboynz,

It's now two years since your installation and another winter since your last update.  How are things going with your set up?

It seems to be pretty common for people to start out full of gusto with their solar set up, but less common for them to continue with long term updates.  I guess that's largely because things get a little cyclical after a 12 month period, but the scientist in me would really appreciate another check in with how things are going! 

Have you made any further changes or adaptations? Is this year's production pretty much in line with last years, or has there been a substantial variation year-on-year (climate or hardware related)? Any hardware failures or maintenance requirements?

A non-profit committee I'm on is shortly going to be voting on what will likely be a 30KW array, complete with federal subsidies and state SRECs (it's located in the US, but at a similar corresponding lat), so I'm especially interested in longer term experiences.

Thanks in advance!


You are right, some apathy has set in as the PV solar birthday of 14th October came and went and I did not notice, probably because everything just works.  No issues or failures but yes I have made a modification same as SumnerBoy in response to the slashed export rates now available.  I fitted a PV Router about 6 months back that diverts any surplus generation into my HWC.  This increases my daytime usage and acts as a sort of aqua-battery.

I have not compared my power bills this year as yet but here are a few updated facts after last years 1st 12 month report:

Situation:

 

  • 3kWh PV array consisting of 12 x 250 W Renesola panels
  • 3kW Enasolar Inverter, Made in NZ and recommended
  • North facing concrete tile garage roof at 17 degrees pitch  
  • Owl Intuition power monitoring web connected gateway
  • Kiwibank Renewable Energy loan for $12k, got my first $800 rebate last month (Received 2nd $400 rebate in Oct 2015)
  • Existing 2 flat collector solar hot water panels and 310 litre HWC
  • Understanding wife (still!)
  Data
12kWh Average daily generation to Oct 2014, 11.8kWh Average overall to Nov 2015
4409kWh generated during 4124 hours of sunshine to Oct 2014, 9187kWh generated during 8807 hours of sunshine to Nov 2015

I'll try and post some more results when I get some more time.

Thanks for the update. I can't remember if you mentioned it at the time, but what sort of pay-off time are you expecting now with your modifications/is it in line with your projection at the time?  For a target production of 80% of our annual consumption, the installation I'm scoping out is going to need to generate a considerable excess in summer to accommodate the moderately higher winter usage and roughly 70% drop in solar production in our coldest months (largely snow, based on similar installations around here).  Any changes to the net-metering (there is increasing talk about line charges & minimum bills etc) could really alter our ROI's.

richms: That's exactly why im not going for their solar zero plan.

Also, its not clear how they figure out what you have used vs what ended up getting sold back.
Do they have(/retain rights to) access to your inverters? That would be the most likely method I would imagine.

craigw
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  #1470129 13-Jan-2016 15:46
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Hi all,
Very informative thread covering an interesting changing of times.
I was considering solar and have some of the same hesitations that have already been expressed here.
We are about to put in a pool and I was thinking about using Solar PV to run the house and a heatpump to heat the pool.
Using the electricity generated during the day for whatever I can in the house but instead of pumping excess back into the grid, switching it to heating the pool.
I assume the technology exists to control this.  Anyone aware of suppliers/sparkies that are up to speed on this in the Auckland region?
Any recommendations for Solar guys?  We are North Shore based.
Any thoughts about how well the solar will work to heat the pool with excess generation? any other gotchas?
Clearly I need to size the system correctly but we are hoping to increase the pool season by a couple of months either end.

Thanks


timmmay
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  #1470158 13-Jan-2016 16:41
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Friend of mine does that, heats two hot water cylinders and one spa pool with excess power, and powers the house, and sells a little back to the grid in summer. Find a good company, if you can't find the right products I can check with him about what he uses.

Porboynz

110 posts

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  #1470372 13-Jan-2016 21:13
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craigw: Hi all,
Very informative thread covering an interesting changing of times.
I was considering solar and have some of the same hesitations that have already been expressed here.
We are about to put in a pool and I was thinking about using Solar PV to run the house and a heatpump to heat the pool.
Using the electricity generated during the day for whatever I can in the house but instead of pumping excess back into the grid, switching it to heating the pool.
I assume the technology exists to control this.  Anyone aware of suppliers/sparkies that are up to speed on this in the Auckland region?
Any recommendations for Solar guys?  We are North Shore based.
Any thoughts about how well the solar will work to heat the pool with excess generation? any other gotchas?
Clearly I need to size the system correctly but we are hoping to increase the pool season by a couple of months either end.

Thanks



I am in Browns Bay, you are welcome to call by and check out my install,  I have a PV Router to divert any surplus export power into my HWC.  This device could be used to divert surplus power to a pool heater but its only 1:1 efficient when feeding a resistive element.  A pool heat pump will be 3:1 efficient but you cannot rely on continuous PV power to run it, Catch 22. (passing clouds, dull rainy days like yesterday)  On average my 3kW system is producing 12kWh per day (21kWh today, but only 7kWh yesterday)  I guess you can get the heat pump and operate the PV on the basis that it will augment the heat pump consumption which I assume will be at least 3 to 4kW.

craigw
12 posts

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  #1471310 14-Jan-2016 20:26
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Thanks.
Will drop you a PM.

  #1621023 1-Sep-2016 20:00
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how has it been going over the last 10 months?


Porboynz

110 posts

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  #1624756 6-Sep-2016 18:55
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Hello Jase2985

 

It’s been a year of consolidation as I came to terms with the $0.10 per kWh for winter and $0.08 per kWh summer export rates.  My Hot Water Cylinder (HWC) router has saved the day over the winter months by converting that miniscule $0.10 per kWh into $0.29 per kWh by diverting surplus kWh's into my HWC which acts as an aquatic battery.  In fact on my last power bill I only exported 2 kWh to the grid (yes, a magnificent $0.20 credit on my power bill)  The result is overall lower household consumption as I no longer have to pay to heat my hot water apart from the occasional boost.

 

House consumption: 558kWh

 

Solar Generation: 298kWh

 

Direct use (inc HWC): 296kWh

 

Exported to Grid: 2kWh

 

Imported from Grid: 262kWh

 

Solar is still paying its way, but come summer I will probably have all the hot water I can use by midday and revert to exporting the excess solar generation in the afternoons once the HWC thermostat opens.


  #1624760 6-Sep-2016 19:03
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Thats pretty good. thanks for taking the time to respond :)

 

what was your daily/monthly usage before the solar install?

 

What sort of energy saving devices do you have in your house?

 

and can you remind me what HWC router you are using

 

We are looking to build in a few years and im considering a Heat Pump HWC along with a 3+kw solar system which i think should make things even more efficient than you have there.

 

i really should get off my ass and get something to monitor my current power usage habits


Porboynz

110 posts

Master Geek


  #1625227 7-Sep-2016 18:52
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what was your daily/monthly usage before the solar install?

 

 

 

What sort of energy saving devices do you have in your house?

 

Nothing gets in my house without passing the efficiency inspection.  Front loader washing machine with delay start for midday operation when the sun shines, same with the dishwasher, LED lights everywhere, LED backlit TV's, insulation underfloor and a double layer in the ceiling.  I have a central time clock controlling the heated towel rails; water feature/garden lighting and the ventilation system.  I would shut off the wifi router and lan switch etc but that kills my energy monitoring and other essential internet activities.  The Sky decoder continues to piss me off drawing 30W 24 x 7 but again its an essential service :-)

 

 

 

and can you remind me what HWC router you are using.

 

Have a look at this site: mk2pvrouter.co.uk  There is a photo of my setup in the gallery.  There are a few NZ devices available now but I like my DIY device.

 

 

 

We are looking to build in a few years and im considering a Heat Pump HWC along with a 3+kw solar system which i think should make things even more efficient than you have there.

 

That needs a bit of thought.  If you install a heat pump for the HWC then remember it needs continuous power to operate, lets say it draws 1000W and puts out 3000W heat.  You set it up with a time clock to operate in the middle of the day when the sun should be shining, same as I do with my dishwasher and washing machine.  Trouble is you might have a cloudy day and your panel output is all over the place so you end up importing much of the 1000W.  Compare that scenario with using stable and cheap after hours night rate power for your proposed heat pump. 

 

Then there are the proposed 3kW panels which is the same as what  have.  My house draws about 220W background for fridge, freezer, routers and all those damn clocks appliance manufacturers think we need.  So during the daytime if no-one is home any surplus is exported.  That's where the PV Router is useful, it diverts every watt of surplus into the HWC, taking clouds in its stride unlike a heat pump.  Its amazing to watch the instant response when the sun bursts through the clouds mid winter, you go from 200W output to near 3kW instantly and it all diverts to the HWC (what's not being used by the house)

 

 

 

i really should get off my ass and get something to monitor my current power usage habits

 

I might be able to help you there, I have an OWL Web connected monitoring system surplus, you absolutely need to monitor your usage in some detail for at least a few weeks to scope your PV panel size.  My gut feel is that 2kW will suffice unless you can use the surplus heating your HWC or some other load that does not mind a variable power feed.


Porboynz

110 posts

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  #1625229 7-Sep-2016 18:57
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Oops, I missed your first question:  what was your daily/monthly usage before the solar install?

 

 

 

Tough to answer as my energy efficiency drive has been a gradual process and we went from a 4 person to a 2 person household at the same time (well, the kids are almost gone, for now anyway)  When I look at usage 12 months ago (pre PV Router) I would say that power usage is now about 20% lower, maybe 30%.  But we use the heat pump more these days as the power bill is no longer a thing to be feared. 


Porboynz

110 posts

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  #1625231 7-Sep-2016 19:04
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Last observation, my 3kW of PV panels has averaged 11.5kWh per day production over the last 3 years:

 

12,181kWh from 11,954 hours production. 

 

My utility power meter has recorded 14350kWh (units) imported and 4387kWh exported in those 3 years (it was a new meter when the solar was installed)


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