My experience with installing SEAI grant aided solar PV

Laughahalla

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Hi all,
Just said i'd put this up as it will be of interest to some. I won't have all the answers and my maths may be a bit dodgy but I will do my best to answer some questions you may have about the whole process.

I installed 4.2kw of Solar PV East /West array along with 4.8kwh of lithium batteries mid September last year (2018). Almost 8 months ago. My impressions to date is that I am very happy with with the purchase and so far have zero regrets about installing. My installation cost €6.2k this includes the B.E.R. This price is net of SEAI grant of €3800 so €10k gross

Over the past (almost) 8 months my electricity usage is 1096 kwh from the grid. In a full year i expect to use less than 1300kwh (hoping I can do 1200Kwh).
This is a substantial reduction (almost 2/3rds) on what my family normally consume per annum.
(user behaviour is important here, solar PV will not change poor use of generation)

Can you imagine if every roof in the country had solar PV and could reduce their consumption by 50%. As a country we would be way less reliant on foreign imports of oil and gas.

You will see below the meter reading I took on the day of install and a reading from May 5th.

In the past 226 days I've used 1096 units or 4.8 kwh per day on average. In the brighter spring summer months I find i'm using closer to 1kwh or less on average from the grid each day.

i'll report back when I have a full 12 months. Will i be able to do 1200 (100kwh per month on average) by September 15 :)
 

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Coldwarrior

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Sounds good, I've been thinking of doing something like this for a while. 4.2kwh is a fair bit bigger than what seems to be the average in Ireland, is this on the roof or the ground? Did you have to get planning permission if it was on the roof?
 

jpd

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1,727
I was wondering about the economic case for this so
Capital Cost: € 6,000
Savings: 2,400 kWh per year (you said your use declined by almost 2/3rds to 1,300)
Cost per kWh: € 0.22 is my estimate of the cost of 1kWh including standing costs and PSO levy
Cost per kWh: € 0.20 is cost of 1 kWh on its own
Savings: € 500 per year
Payback: 12 years
 

Laughahalla

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127
[QUOTE
Payback: 12 years[/QUOTE]
That payback is around my estimation too , however, the price of electricity increases by around 4%-5% per annum so that should help reduce the payback. Also, I have my eye on a cheap diverter on ebay.co.uk, I saw a solar iboost for less than £200 not so long ago, If I can get one for around that then i will go for it . I spend about 300 euro per annum on heating water. if I could divert my excess to my immersion I reckon I could save another 100 euro per year on that.
 
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Laughahalla

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How much are you saving per month?
Hi Peanuts, Over the year it will save me approx. €500. In winter(Nov, Dec, Jan) you produce very little but since March i've taken very little from the grid and expect to until we get to October. In summer you will produce excess. My east/west panels help balance the day as I mainly consume in the afternoon/evening. The battery also helps you to use nearly everything produced. Battery plus immersion hot water diverter would mean that you consume nearly everything you produce.
 
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Laughahalla

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Sounds good, I've been thinking of doing something like this for a while. 4.2kwh is a fair bit bigger than what seems to be the average in Ireland, is this on the roof or the ground? Did you have to get planning permission if it was on the roof?


My house is east west with only one side of the roof visible to the street/neighbours. Planning is not an issue when it comes to qualifying for the grant payment. SEAI are working with planning to update the rules around array size on your roof. The original 12msq rule was for solar thermal (water) heating. At the time, the largest available grant from the SEAI was equal to 12sq Metres. Planning took direction the SEAI max grant size and not the other way around. I have been told by somebody in SEAI that this is in discussion and should be amended to match the new solar PV max grant size.

Now that Ireland has declared a climate emergency I think these things will be ironed out sooner rather than later.

As it stands today , the limit for planning purposes is 12sq metres or approx 2.1 kw of solar PV panels or 7*300w panels
 
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Laughahalla

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Took another reading today . 54981
That's 2 kwh used from the grid in 5 days.. That's doing plenty of clothes washing , dishwasher, cutting grass and every day normal stuff like using electric oven etc.

05/05/19 was 54979
10/05/19 is 54981.

That is impressive.
 

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Laughahalla

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No , I just have a regular 24 hour meter.

Took another reading today.

Still at 54981 as of 14 May @ 5.28pm.

I've used 2kwh from the grid since May 5th.
(9 days)

Can you imagine if every roof had solar PV.
The country would really reduce it's dependency on imported gas and oil and really reduce our carbon footprint.
 

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Alkers86

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No , I just have a regular 24 hour meter.
It is free to change to a night meter. It would be worth investigating in your circumstance, the daily rate typically increases by about 1c per unit and the night rate is about 1/3rd of the day rate. There are higher standing charges also but as your panels will mainly reduce day rates it might make sense in your case.
 

Leo

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Can you imagine if every roof had solar PV.
Countries with high levels of PV are facing problems with grid management and the efficient use of generators. The on-site battery storage model goes some way towards addressing this, but the current payback period factoring in battery replacement isn't short enough yet for PV to make sense in a lot of cases.
 

Laughahalla

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From an environmental side of things , reducing reliance on importing and burning fossil fuels , cleaner air e.t.c. it makes sense. We should put a value on that.
 

moneymakeover

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Couple questions

Your 4.8kw how many square metres? Did you cover entire roof?


And, battery, is that often fully charged? ie any wasted electricity?
 

Laughahalla

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Hi moneymakeover, I have 6 panels on front of house (east facing) and at the back i have 8 panels (west side) About 21sq metres in total. About 9 sqm is visible to the main road. The rest is not visible. My roof is large so they take up a small portion of the roof.

My batteries have been filled almost every day since the beginning of March and I expect them to be filled almost every day to the end of September.

Since April I find that I am giving away electricity free to the grid ( about 300kwh so far this year) and this is sold to my neighbours. Unfortunately, I don't get paid for this. My neighbours pay an electricity company for electricity generated on my roof.

I plan to pick up a diverter which will put this excess into my hot water immersion so this should mean that very little is wasted.

I spend a lot on heating water each year so diverting excess electricity to my immersion will have the effect of reducing my gas bill.
 

Laughahalla

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127
Did you use reputable company? Activ8?
I've never seen/heard somebody use reputable and the company you mentioned in the same sentence before :)

I've had experience with their sales approach and boy was it an experience . I'll say no more.

I did use a reputable company. I checked three customer references before I went with the company I went with and also got quotes from a few companies. In the end I went with the company I felt were honest and had the patience for all my newbie questions and obviously Price came into it. :)
 
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Laughahalla

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Hi Red Onion, I am very happy with the company that Installed my system. The owner and electrician used obviously work well together. They also had a good relationship with the SEAI Inspector which I found reassuring.

I don't think I can name the company on the main page but I'm ok to answer PM's if that's allowed.
 
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