Thursday 24 December 2009

Freestanding Array

We recently commisioned this 3.96kWp array near Totnes.

As you can see, its an ideal solution for people who have some spare space outside, but limited on southerly facing roof area.

This 3.96kWp is the maximum economical size that can be installed onto a single phase mains supply, and keeping under 4kWp it should also attract the maximum pay back under the new Feed In Tariff.

Obviously, this 22 module array is possibly quite large for most gardens, but illustrates another method of installation available. Systems like this can start at just 6 modules to provide a 1kWp system.

See for more information and a cost guide.

Sunday 27 September 2009

From Huge to Tiny!

Today we completed a lovely little system providing power to an unusual off grid installation in the centre of a popular Dorset seaside town.

Using a 130Wp PV module and 240Ah of batteries, this system provides enough power for lights and 12v & 230v power for a weekend retreat.

As it has proved to be either expensive or difficult to bring in power and mains water for this location, the owner has opted for Off Grid living during holidays and breaks.

The main system has been running all summer, providing power and lights, and has worked beyond expectations.

Friday 11 September 2009

Dartmoor Off Grid

We have been commencing an installation of a large off grid system in Dartmoor on the high moor. With temperatures in the winter plunging to -17C on occasion and a wild variation of weather conditions that are always prevalent on the Moor, this dwelling needs as much backup and self suffiency as possible. There is no mains electricity or water available, so we are taking part in implementing a complete infrastructure for the customer.
From Solar PV through control electronics, backup generator and house wiring, we will be providing a complete self reliant system for the customer.

The picture here shows the partly completed array being installed.

More to be posted on this project as systems are installed.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Off Grid in Dorset

We completed the installation of a Solar PV off gid system in Dorset last week.
Assisted by the customer, this installation was a joy to work on, being mounted on a house of cedar in such a tranquil (but remote) location.
The PV modules are capable of charging the 1500Ah battery bank at almost 30amps in bright sunlight if required.
Power usage is low, with low energy lamps and a few low wattage appliances.

The system will be upgraded soon with a larger sine inverter to run a possible larger range of appliances.

Sunday 26 July 2009

Mounting system

We use almost exclusively the K2 roof mounting system for our solar PV installations. I thought I'd take a few pictures on an installation this week to let you see a close up of how it works. So many people ask how the system gets put on the roof!

You can see the horizontal rail against the Redland tiles on the left. On the right you can see the PV module being clamped down by a corrosion proof alloy bracket and stainless bolt & fitting.

This system has worked well for us, is guaranteed 10 years for corrosion and structure integrity.

On the left you'll see the complete 1.44kWp array. This system will generate over 1300kWh of power for our customer every 12 months wich under the new Feed In Tariff scheme commencing next April, will earn them at least £598, and maybe more depending on the electricity deal they have!

For the more fiscally minded, if you have a grant supported system similar to this size installed this year, financial payback time will get reduced from 16 years to 8 years.. Cool!

Sunday 19 July 2009

Feed In Tariff rates announced

The proposed Feed In Tariff rates have been announced this week by the Government and I've just had more details published by the Renewable Energy Association.

Right at the moment is the best time ever to get a Renewable Energy system installed! You will benefit from both the Microgeneration grant now, then reap the rewards of anything up to 40p a unit payback from next April!

As an example. I have just completed a quote for a 3.24kWp system, which after the current grant has been taken off will cost the customer £14,500. Then every year will earn the customer £1017 in Feed In Tariff!
And of course thats before taking into account all that FREE renewable power available for use in the house.

We are now just realising why Solar Power is so popular in Germany and other European countries.

Go to to check on more updates as they occur

Sunday 12 July 2009

Feed in Tariff

Today, the media is making news of the upcoming 'Feed in' tariff which is commencing in April 2010.

Although there are areas still shrouded in mystery about the scheme, mainly the question over how much will we be paid to generate green power from our homes & businesses!

See todays story at: BBC News Sunday 12th July

It is widely considered in the renewable energy industry that once the feed in tariff commences, capital grants, such as the existing Low Carbon grant for domestic premises, currently offering £2500 per household, will cease, as subsidies will be transferred over to funding the Feed In Tariff.

I'll post any updates here..

Saturday 20 June 2009

Home installation

After having various test installations at home, I have finally got around to install a permanant roof mounted system. At last!

We have installed a 1.26kWp system based around the Sharp monocrystalline modules and a Sunny Boy inverter with a wireless remote display. Although we have previously installed Fronius inverters, I was impressed with the customer interface capabilities of the 'Sunny Beam' wireless display over the Fronius digit only display.

So far, the output is right on track, far exceeding calculated output, as we are situated on the South Devon coast and using Monocrystalline modules. It is proving again that using Government SAP calculations are so underrated in this part of the UK. Like everyone else who's had a PV system installed, I'm looking forward to really low power bills!

As can be seen from the photo, left, (that includes the beehives), there is still plenty of room on the roof for later expansion for more PV and a Solar Thermal system.

Sunday 17 May 2009

A wet weather installation

Completed the electrical installation of a 1.4kWp system on Friday.
Using the Sharp NU180 monocrystalline modules, made in Wales, the customer will enjoy around 1300kWh of annual power generation to offset their already reduced power consumption, after installing low energy appliances and lamps.

Shown in the photo's are installation in progress and almost complete inverter installation in the loft, just awaiting the PV cables to complete and switch on!

Monday 20 April 2009

The weekend Show..

An interesting time over Friday & Saturday at the Homes for Good Show, Exeter. We had a whole bunch of enquiries and will be quite busy over the next week or so catching up with outgoing post and calls.

Besides being impressed with our low cost PV installations, proving again that just because PV needs specialist skills and qualifications to fit, does not mean the purchase price to the end user needs to be falsely inflated... The new Governments 'double ROC' value has made possible that a standard 2kWp system will payback up to £260 per annum, increasing from £170 last year. (Good Energy rates used for calcs)

Thanks for coming by and saying hi if you came along to the show, its always good to see you.

We will be there next year too, its booked for March.. Watch this space nearer the time.

Saturday 4 April 2009

Homes for Good show

Just a reminder that we will be on Stand 72 at the Homes for Good show, Westpoint Showground, Exeter over 17th and 18th April... See you there!

Tuesday 31 March 2009

Moving into a new premises!

We have finally got around to moving into new premises in Seaton. Its a great location, being near to walk or cycle. Our previous workshop and storage is some miles away and at a difficult location to find. Now we are easy to locate.
Unit 2 Harbour Road, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2HA

Couple of pictures before we move in and rack it out for stock, benches for test and assembly, etc

Sunday 15 March 2009

Exeter Eco Fair

We took a small table at The the first Exeter Eco Fair with Low Carbon Exeter.

A small fun event, that will grow as time passes.

Not so many traders at this first event, but its early days and word has to spread around Exeter ..

We had loads of questions for renewable energy...

Monday 2 March 2009

Tested and commisioned . Its so good :)

Popped back in to run some final checks, take some readings and generally see how the system has got on over the weekend. Its clocked up 75kWh over the 2 days during the weekend of mostly cloudy with a little bit of sun here and there. Very encouraging!

I spent some time on site this morning, as I had some network cabling to finish, and a whole bunch more pictures to take now the sun is out for today. .. By the time I had left at lunchtime, another 20kWh had been generated. Its such an incredible system, the customer is going to notice a major difference in their power bills, plus of course the building occupiers have taken a huge step toward reducing their carbon footprint.

Two pictures taken with a super wide angle lens to get everything in on one shot. Perspective is a little distorted though.
The modules on the roof and inverters mounted inside the electricity switch cupboard. 3 @Fronius IG inverters.

Thursday 26 February 2009

18kWp array completed!

Taking advantage of the good weather, we have completed the 18kWp array this afternoon. All connections double checked and output readings verified, so working well!

Tomorrow we'll be commisioning the inverters onto the buildings 3 phase power circuit and finalising tests and certification.

The whole array went in very smoothly onto the Kalzip roof. Although there were 4 times as many brackets to install than other roof mount systems, because no structural or drilling work was involved, together with usual waterproofing, this system has a sleek low profile design with no mess to clean up.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Modules are starting to go on!

Today have got all the external and internal cables runs in place throughout the building. All has been kept concealed internally, plus the modules are now being installed and tested.
The project going according to schedule with the whole installation, and our customer will be enjoying the benefits of Solar PV generated power by the end of Friday.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

close up..

Close up of the bracket mounting system for a Kalzip roof . The roof must not be punctured or drilled in any way, or the waterproof integrity would be affected, plus of course any extended warranty would be lost.

These brackets make a solar PV system possible on any Kalzip archetectural system.

Monday 23 February 2009

Roof hardware being installed

We have made good time installing the roof hardware between the four of us. The Kalzip steel roof profile needed special fixings from Germany, as the fabric of the roof skin must not be pierced.
Some images of the installation progress today (day1)

Wednesday 18 February 2009

circuit diagram

Just finished the circuit diagram of the 18kWp system. Just to give a hint of what the size is going to be, I've included a screen shot.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

The Big Big system ..

We are on the run up week to starting a huge 18,000 Wp solar PV array installation in Devon.
Pictures and information to be posted next week when the construction starts. Its going to be fun, and we are hoping for good weather... Please!

More soon. C

Sunday 25 January 2009

Devon Off Grid

We completed an Off Grid electricity system today. Consisting of 720 watts of Sharp PV monocrystalline modules mounted onto a custom made support frame, and a 1kW Futurenergy mini turbine on a 9 metre Altron tilt over tower.

Both these power sources have been designed to complement each other. When the weather is sunny and calm, the PV modules can push out up to 24 amps of power to charge the 540Ah battery bank, which runs a 1500 watt pure sine inverter.

Of course, there are many days in the UK, when daylight is low and bad weather rules, which is where the wind turbine comes in, keeping the batteries topped up while the PV modules struggle, and of course overnight the turbine comes into its own!

The whole system has been designed for a light load of A+ rated fridge, consuming only 150kW a year. Plus lights and TV/radio when required.

Keeping the batteries up to a decent voltage without too much loading is best for any off grid system to
ensure it will give years of low cost power.

Couple of images here.. The Concrete base with just cable duct and bolt studs poking out, and the other shot with tower base in position, with horizontal tower being painted.

Saturday 24 January 2009

Small Wind Turbine installation

Early in 2008, too late to take advantage of the Spring gales, we installed a small 1kW Futurenergy wind turbine with a grid connection.

Well... when I say we, it was a collaboration between the customer who made the tilt over tower, Michael from Kaieteur, and myself to get it all connected and running.

The location was ideal, being high and open, the only turbulance to interfere with the wind flow being the adjacent single storey buildings.

Installation was straightfoward as the customer had done all the hard work of installing a tower and prepared an area for the electrical equipment.

Within a day it was assembled and running. .. However, as the weeks passed it became apparent that the turbine output was not approaching what it should have been according to the manufacturers specifications. I installed a little wind speed and direction logger on site and direct reading watt meter to try and diagnose what the issue was.. After a couple of months of trying many different options, including the customer rebuilding part of the tower to gain height, the issue was simply the pitch pins supplied in the turbine kit were incorrect for the power curve we were trying to achieve.

Manufacturers sent us some alternative 25 degree pitch pins, and all is now working well.

As you can see from the picture, the Mastervolt small G83 grid connect inverter was used again. This version is marketed as the Windmaster 500 and is ideal for the Futurenergy turbine as the voltages match to give an optimimum output.

In this installation we connected 2 in parallel, as the site so good for wind capture, the customer wanted to realise as much potential generation from the turbine.. Unless the installation site is exceptional, I would suggest installing a single inverter, as output will only get to the rated 1kW hign consistant high winds without turbulance.

Crediton Solar PV installation

A domestic 1kWp system we installed in 2007. The house was ideally suited for solar PV, facing due south and having no shading from trees or other buildings to worry about.

We used Kyocera PV modules on the Alustand roof mounting system. The brackets and rails from Alustand were straightforward and conventional to install, giving a neat job with lead flashing around the brackets.
Alustand mounting system does rely on a level roof and we found after installing, even this 'straight' roof had undulations and the roof system needed adjusting to allow the PV modules to drop into their location slots.

The result was very neat looking though when all finished.

Inside the loft area the G83 grid connected inverters were installed. At that time, the most cost effective option for small inverters for 1kWp systems was the Mastervolt Soladin 600watt units. As can be seen from the picture, 2 inverters were fitted with 4 of the modules connected to each.
A kWh meter (to log how many units have been generated) was installed adjacent to the fuse box downstairs.

We did find that a lack of digital display on the Soladin a bit of a setback when trying to evaluate performance, but certainly for a small budget G83 grid connect inverter price and performance is very good.