Saturday, 4 April 2020

March 2020 Record Beating Solar

March 2020 will be known for record breaking in relation to Corona Virus Covid-19 but in the UK it was also a record breaking month for solar panel electricity generation. The month seemed somewhat dull and cold but obviously there was more sun than I imagined! The cold temperatures would have also helped the panels be more efficient to improve generation too. Since mid March we have been working from home as a result of the Covid-19 virus requirements to stay inside and only travel for essential food or medicine journeys.

The total for March 2020 was 330 kWh of solar electricity produced

This compares to an 8 year average of 270 kWh with lows of 173 kWh for March 2013. You can see the full data here

Do you have solar panels in the UK? How did your data compare for March 2020? Post in the comments if you have any feedback on your own generation.

March 2020 Record Beating Solar
March 2020 Record Beating Solar

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

FIT Rates April 2020 onwards

The Feed In Tariff (FIT) rates are calculated from the base 2010 figure by applying the RPI (Retail Prices Index) rate for December to the previous rate. You can see the December rates since 2011 below.


Dec RPI Rate (%)

In April 2019 the rate increased to  54.17p as a result of the 2.7% increase in RPI for December 2018.
FIT Rates April 2020 onwards
FIT Rates April 2020 onwards
With the latest RPI increase of  2.2% announced for December 2019 this rate will increase again as shown by the calculations below:

Existing Generation rate (54.17p)  x RPI (2.2%)  = New Rate (55.36p)

So the new rate for Electricity generation is 55.36p per kWh

The export rate will also increase by 2.2% from 3.82p to 3.90p

There are various other FIT rates that apply depending on the date that your solar panels were commissioned. They will also increase by 2.7% as the RPI rate for December 2018.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Solar Panels Generation Long Term Average (LTA) Electricity Output

After 8 years we've got some pretty good average generation data for our solar panels. The panels were installed on 18th November 2011 so we've now had plenty of different weather patterns over that time to see how the totals add up.

Solar Panels Generation Long Term Average (LTA) Electricity Output
Solar Panels Generation Long Term Average (LTA) Electricity Output
Our generation meter was reading 26002 kWh this morning so that's 3250kWh per year, quite an impressive amount for 3kWp panels in the UK.

The full details are available here showing each year and month

Winter and Summer Solar Panel electricity generation

Saturday, 2 November 2019

PV Solar Panel Generation Deterioration Over Time?

Solar panels are expected to deteriorate over their lifetime and according to the manufacturers the generation of solar power can drop by around 0.5% per year.

What's interesting is that after 8 years this deterioration isn't visible and that the natural variation of the solar electricity generated is a far more obvious factor than the performance of the panels themselves.

Annual generation has varied between 2794 and 3343 kWh per year but this has not been in a straight line and generation can vary by 10% which easily masks a 0.5% variation in panels.

Friday, 1 November 2019

October 2019 - The Best and Worst Solar Generation!

The data for October 2019 is now complete and a massive contrast. The worst October power generation we've recorded since our solar panels were installed in 2011 but also the best October day since our panels were fitted.

October 2019 Solar Generation Statistics - The Best and Worst!
October 2019 Solar Generation Statistics - The Best and Worst!
Although October 2019 was the lowest ever October at 186kWh electricity generated over the month as it's been quite dull and rainy, we did have a couple of very sunny days one of which gave our best October generating day ever.

October 2018 was nearly 100kWh better at 273kWh compared to the 186kWh this year.
But October 2nd 2019 generated 16.394kWh which was the highest amount for an October day that we've seen.

Full details of the electricity generation from our solar panels is below:

Sunday, 5 May 2019

British Gas (FIT) Feed In Tariff Payment Delays

Having previously sung the praises of British Gas and their speedy payment of FITs it's very frustrating that they are now seriously slow to pay out with it taking over a month for the most recent payment. Previously cheques were received within 7 days of a reading being submitted.

I'm not alone as there are other people making the same complaint about British Gas payment delays on the Money Saving Expert forums.

British Gas Feedin Tariff Payment Delays
British Gas Feed In Tariff Payment Delays (FITs)

I'm now looking at options to move my FIT payments to another provider which I guess might be what British Gas are hoping their customers will do.

Monday, 15 April 2019

ESE Solar Free Health Check scam

We received a letter today marked "Important" from a company called ESE/ESE Consultants. 

"Our records indicate you haven't received your free health check and service on your system and your warranty may be due to expire. Please contact our team to validate your warranty and book your health check"

This company is nothing to do with the installer of our system and I'm guessing is on a sales pitch to sell some sort of warranty. Quite what a health check on non maintenance panels will involve I don't know. Maybe I'm being too sceptical but the letter doesn't fill me with confidence. I'd hope if it was a genuine company it wouldn't be inducing some form of fault that then requires their assistance.

It also seems to suggest replacing inverters that are 5 years old with a new one with a 20 year warranty. Why replace a fully working inverter with a brand new one at a cost of £1000 or more. 

From another call SE Services want £20 a month to extend your warranty THEN you qualify for the free health check and annual maintenance. In other words, money for old rope!
They're based in Liverpool but ESE wouldn't reveal who exactly they'd use to conduct these checks and services around the country.

Its all a deceptive marketing and a scam.

It also looks like ESE are now using the name British Trading Solar Association. Maybe the power of Google meant they were finding too many people searching for their old name.

More information here

British Trading Solar Association Solar Free Health Check scam
British Trading Solar Association Solar Free Health Check scam
The decision of the RECC panel on ESE Solar is below:

The Member shall cease forthwith sending all direct marketing letters regarding ‘free health checks’. 4. For the next 12 months, starting on the day of this determination, the Member shall submit to the RECC Executive for review all direct marketing material including (but not limited to) unsolicited letters, telesales scripts, and social media posts that it intends to distribute to the public or use to promote its services, and shall make any alterations the RECC Executive proposes to ensure that the material is compliant, prior to distribution or publication. 5. The Member shall agree with the RECC Executive on the design of a questionnaire to be given to every customer onsite in order to independently assess compliance with the Code. This questionnaire shall be used for 12 months and must allow the Executive to identify which service the customer has received from the Member (e.g., a free health check, purchase of maintenance contract, purchase of additional products). On completion of the questionnaires, customers shall be asked to submit them directly to RECC and the questionnaire should include a request for consent from the customer to be further contacted by RECC. 6. Subject to data protection compliance, the Member will provide RECC with customer contact details on request to allow the Executive to make ad hoc contact with individual customers to investigate Code compliance. 7. The Member must identify a member of staff accountable for compliance with the Code and other applicable consumer legislation. This member of staff must be in place within 28 days and the RECC Executive notified of their name and contact details.