Sunday 4 April 2010

Training at SMA Germany

I'm not long back from doing a few days training at the SMA, Sunny Boy, HQ in Neistetal, Germany. The image to the left is inside the 4 storey glass mounted PV array on the Academy.
I now have certification for communications programming for products such as the Webbox, to enable your system to upload the system history and performance to your own customisable website. This webpage can be private for just the family, or seen by anyone.. Click here to take you to a demo webpage and look for the link to example plants.

The other product training was covering Island systems to enable installers to provide off grid systems to anything from a single dwelling and able to expand up to a whole village if required. This system is so adaptable, and while it is very suited to 3rd world countries and remote locations, these systems will have many applications around the UK too.
There is an animated overview film here

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Grant money has dried up!

Late this afternoon, we have had notification from the REA that DECC has ceased the Domestic Grant of £2500 for PV systems.
Checking the Low Carbon website here it seems the money has dried up, probably due to a the massive amount of applications over the last few weeks.

A shame its all ended early, but we have a great looking Feed In Tariff scheme to look forward to.

For the full statement from DECC, go to

Better than expected Feed In Tariff rate !

Monday 1st February gave us the final announcement of April's Feed In Tariff.

Great news that the rate was raised from an expected 36.5p to 41.3p per generated kWh (unit) on systems up 4kWp in size.

This will mean an average 2.16kWp domestic system will earn you £826 tax free each year!. Plus of course the free electricity that will be available for use, instantly cutting rught back on your electricity bill.

For more information see the Chris Rudge Renewable page here

Or the DECC website here

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Feed In Tariff announcement delay :(

Short announcement last week from the REA:

These are now expected to be published at the end of January. Come what may, they must be published by 3rd February in order to meet the legislative timetable for Feed In Tariffs.

Looks like the Government are hanging on right until the last minute to clarify their Feed In Tariff buy back rate. The proposed rate for a system up to 4kWp on an older house is 36.5p a unit... Lets see if they keep to it!

Monday 4 January 2010

PV shading thoughts.

If you are thinking of having a solar PV system installed in 2010 to take advantage of the last chances of getting a lump sum grant before the Feed In Tariff starts in April, the first thing to do is look for a good location to install it.

Traditionally for domestic Solar PV installations, a pitched roof is the ideal location, being up high and out of the way from most obstructions... Looking at your roof, are you able to check off that it faces somewhere between South East through South to South West?

If yes, you need to see how much open roof space there is available. Solar PV takes up much more space than Solar Thermal systems. Think about 8 square metres per kWp for system size. Once you have ascertained you've got space, look for possible problems from shading. Gabled windows and chimney stacks are probable issues and you will have to consider the array can never be shaded at any point in the day by close structures as array output could drop and cause loading on some of the shaded cells.

Looking further away from your house, are there any trees close by or right next to the house which you know will shade the array at certain times of the day? Trees further away from the PV array could have an impact, for example, a wooded area on the other side of the road may not block the sun during the summer, but may be in shade all winter due to low sun angle in these colder months.

For the PV array, shading issues at best will simply mean less production of electricity at certain times of the day/ year, or at worst will cause overheating in some of the cells as they try to carry electrical current from the other modules. If damage occurred, your warranty would be invalid.