Sunday, 27 November 2016

Solar Panels 5 Years Review

Our solar panels have now been installed for 5 years and I've just submitted the latest generation reading for our FIT (Feed in Tariff) payments. The total electricity generated over the last 5 years is an incredible 16,000 kWh. This is way more than the PV-GIS estimates of 2400 kWh when we purchased the panels and equates to around 3200kWh per year.

You can see detailed generation figures for our solar panels over the last 5 years here. These show generation by month as well as year and peak daily generation seen by month.
Solar Panels 5 Years Review
Solar Panels 5 Years Review


What problems have we had with our solar panels?

The panels themselves have been great and no real issues apart from pigeons finding them to be a perfect place to build a nest. Fortunately our panels have a velux window in the middle of them which means we are able to open it and get access to the underside of the solar panels. Others with pigeon problems are not quite so lucky!

Apart from pigeons the only other problem we have had was electrical. We discovered earlier in 2016 that the solar panel inverter was cutting out. On investigation the electrician found that one of the terminals on the solar MCB in the consumer unit had shorted due to the wire being loose.

solar panel inverter was cutting out
solar panel inverter was cutting out


Luckily it was discovered in time and we only lost a few days generation in January - possibly the best month it could have happened!

Would I do anything differently?

Even after 5 years and having a much greater knowledge of solar panels compared to when we purchased I don't think there are any major things I would do differently. Since the panels were fitted we have moved the generation meter inside and altered the wiring so that the inverter remains outside. In hindsight we could have waited a few months and benefited from much lower prices in the lull between the massive drop in FIT payments being announced and implemented but at the time it would have been a huge risk.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

How Long is SunnyBoy inverter data stored?

Unfortunately I've discovered that SunnyBoy inverters only hold 2 months of detailed data so if you go beyond that then you lose the detailed data for any day over 2 months ago. Daily totals are still retained.


Sunny Boy inverter data can be downloaded using Bluetooth and the Sunny Explorer software so that you have a record of your solar panel electricity generation.

How Long is SunnyBoy inverter data stored?
How Long is SunnyBoy inverter data stored?

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Solar data for July-September 2016

Solar panel generation data for July-September 2016 has now been loaded to the site. You can view how much electricity was produced each month here
 http://solar-panels-review.321web.co.uk/


Unfortunately I've discovered that SunnyBoy inverters only hold 2 months of detailed data so if you go beyond that then you lose the detailed data for any day over 2 months ago. Daily totals are still retained.

Solar Generation Beats Coal Power

For the first time more electricity came from sunlight than coal-fired power stations between May and September 2016. Quite an impressive feat although coal power is dropping while solar increases but the rate of growth seems unlikely to continue with the big reductions in FIT payments.


http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-panels-electricity-coal-power-stations-uk-sun-a7344326.html



Solar Generation Beats Coal Power
Solar Generation Beats Coal Power

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Solar Panels Tripping Out Inverter

Over the last few weeks we've found that the inverter for our solar panels has been tripping out meaning that the solar panels no longer were generating electricity.


I had an electrician round at the weekend to investigate and was massively glad I did. When he opened the fuse box to check the wiring he found this!
Solar Panels Tripping Out Inverter
Solar Panels Tripping Out Inverter

It appears that the wires weren't fully tightened so we arcing and ended up melting the live and neutral wires together. Fortunately it's happened in winter, in summer with 3kW feeding through it may have been a far worse outcome and ended without the house.


Fortunately the solar panels are now working fine and have been stable with no trip out since the work was done.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Solar Panels Inverter tripping RCD

Frustratingly I found out at the end of the month that our solar panels/inverter had tripped out the RCD in the consumer unit for the panels so had lost a few days electricity generation in January.

It appears that something between the consumer unit and the inverter is tripping out the RCD which in turn then switches off the inverter for safety as it detects no grid voltage. After it repeatedly tripping out again over the next couple of days it's now remained on for 2 days. 

Electrician is booked for Saturday so hopefully we'll get a solution. I'm just fortunate that it's happened in Jan/Feb rather than the peak summer months when it would be costing vastly more in terms of lost FIT income.

Solar Panels Inverter tripping RCD
Solar Panels Inverter tripping RCD