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.

Monday 4 March 2019

Sunny Feb 2019 Beats Solar Records

In the UK Feb 2019 was one of the hottest and sunniest February months on record and this has also been reflected in the generation numbers for our solar panels. You can see the comparison here

The previous highest electricity generated in Feb was 190kWh so the 226kWh for Feb 2019 was nearly 20% higher than the previous maximum. Unlike 2018 this year was warm and dry with no snow which gave some good daily generation but no records for the daily production, probably because it was too warm. Cold sunny winter days are best for getting the most solar power generated.

Feb 2019 Sunny Solar Records
Feb 2019 Sunny Solar Records

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Best January Solar Day

This year we've had the best January day for our solar panels with one day production of 10.2kWh of electricity.

As panels age they will degrade over time and reduce by approximately 0.5% per year. Interestingly so far there has been more variation due to weather than from the panels reducing.

Best January Solar Day
Best January Solar Day

Wednesday 16 January 2019

FIT Rates April 2019 Onwards

The latest inflation figures have just been published which set the level of the Feed In Tariff rates from April 2019 onwards. The common inflation measure released is the CPI (Consumer Price Inflation) which is 2.2% for December but this isn't the one that is used to calculate FIT payments

The inflation measure used is RPI which is more difficult to find as it's not so commonly used any more. If you go to the ONS website you can see the latest value for RPI for December which is 2.7%

Using the existing FIT rate of 52.75p and applying the RPI of 2.7% gives a new rate of 54.17p
for the Feed in Tariff rate as of April 2019-2020. The level for export will increase to 3.82p

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.

FIT Rates April 2019 Onwards
FIT Rates April 2019 Onwards

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Kent Solar Panel Generation 2018

I've got all the data loaded for our solar panels for 2018 and there were a few excellent and record breaking months!