Generally Speaking

New love affair

It takes time to get your head around having your own solar power.

Our PV roof panels were switched on three days ago and we have already generated (…gets up to look at the meter behind him on the wall…) 57.1 kilowatt hours. That’s much more power than we have used in that time. That’s a lot. Much more than I imagined.

Our system has a little bonus gizmo so that when we are not using all the power we generate (most of the time) the excess is fed automatically into the immersion heater in our hot water cylinder. So we switched off the gas boiler when the PV came on stream and we still have piping hot water for showers each morning. (That means zero energy cost, folks.)

But the thing which is so novel and which takes some really believing is that during the day we can use as much hot water as we like and there is absolutely no cost whatsoever – not to us and not to the planet: we are just using the heat from the sun that would have fallen on that part of the roof anyway.


Why isn’t everyone doing this!

Another thing: When the energy performance certificate for our house was done just six months ago the assessor estimated that a 2.5kW solar array would cost future owners (i.e. us) between £9,000 and £14,000. In fact our state-of-the-art array, installed with meticulous care and attention to detail last week, actually cost us £6,500. And it generates 4kW, getting on for twice as much as that estimate, for less than half the price.

Bottom line – even the experts have not understood how quickly solar power is becoming hugely cost effective.

And our bottom line is the profound satisfaction we are getting. We even have a new electric lawnmower, which – wait for it – gets used in summer and always during the day – isn’t that just beautiful.

Our system was generating 1kW at 8.00 this morning and 1.3kW at 6.00 this evening. And it is early April in supposedly dark and dreary England. Isn’t that beautiful too!

Oh yes, it peaked at just over 3kW. Eight panels on the East sloping roof and another eight on the West.

Am I becoming a  bore? Not to me. It’s wonderful!

3 thoughts on “New love affair”

  1. That really does sound so satisfying! Some years ago Maggi’s nephew – an apprentice plumber at the time – installed panels on his parents’ roof which were so efficient that they blew up the dishwasher and boiled you in the shower until they were spoken to severely! And this in cloudy, snowy Switzerland! Your figures are impressive, especially the fact that both the cost and the productive capacity were under estimated before installation. What I can’t understand is why the whole of North Africa is not covered with solar panels to supply the needs of greedy western Europe ….. oh, hang on, maybe I can understand . . . .!


  2. Ah – there is a thermostat on the immersion heater feed so it cuts out before it gets scalding hot. Incredibly neat and sophisticated.

    But I entirely agree – if we just put our energies (no pun intended) into this issue there is a vast amount of power available from safe sources. We’ve simply got to! But at the moment the deniers are largely winning and leading the whole world towards the precipice.


  3. Ours will be fitted within weeks of the house being finished next month, and we are anticipating great joy in like manner (or in our manor, I suppose). However we happy financially-enabled-ones should bear in mind that, sadly, even now the cost is far beyond the means of most people in the UK, and they are the ones who would most benefit. The rent-a-roof schemes are unsatisfactory in practice, and the government’s Green Deal project seems a dud for reasons that escape me. Community solar projects are the way forward for many, and happily they are springing up all over the place.
    We too have cracked the lawn mower problem in the new garden, though in a different way.
    No lawn


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