My experience with installing SEAI grant aided solar PV

Itchy

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Laughahalla,

I have 8 solar thermal panels on my house, heating the water. Is it possible to modify this system into something that resembles your set up? Any good resources for research?

Thanks
 

RedOnion

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@Laughahalla ,

I've found your posts on this very informative, and it's good to see your passion extend beyond bring debt free! ;)

I have a hundred other jobs to finish with house, but this is in the list, so it's started to get me thinking properly. Similar to you, I've a huge roof area, facing in all directions, so I want to plan it properly to optimize the benefits.
 

Laughahalla

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@Itchy this would be beyond my expertise. 8 solar thermal must be generating a lot of hot water. If you had roof or garden space you could add solar PV. :)
 

Leo

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I have 8 solar thermal panels on my house, heating the water. Is it possible to modify this system into something that resembles your set up?
You need a completely different type of panel (photo voltaic versus evacuated tubes for water heating) to generate electricity. So you would need to install additional panels or replace all you have with PV and use the electricity generated by these to heat the water instead.
 

Laughahalla

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Were you happy with the company that designed / installed your system, and if so who was it?
I'm very happy as you can probably tell from my enthusiasm about Solar PV. The company I used is called save me money wind and solar. Based in Dublin but they do work outside Dublin. I'm at the opposite side of the country to Dublin and everything went like clockwork with regards to being there when they said they would, being there at the same time as the SEAI Inspector e.t.c.
You will be able to Google their contact details or find them on FB or on the SEAI list of approved installers.
 

Laughahalla

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Took another meter reading a few mins ago and I've used a grand total of 3kwh in total over the past 11 days. Before solar PV & battery I would have used about 10/11kwh per day from the grid.

At this rate I should end up using about 1200kwh from the grid in a full 12 months.

Usage over 8 months to date is
54,979 (May 16, 2019) - 53,885 (Sept 15, 2018)= 1094kwh

Also changed electricity provider today as the have a €150 cash back offer( account credit)
Predict that the next 12 months electricity will cost approx €300 or less now when you factor in this cash back. Happy days.
 

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Itchy

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You need a completely different type of panel (photo voltaic versus evacuated tubes for water heating) to generate electricity. So you would need to install additional panels or replace all you have with PV and use the electricity generated by these to heat the water instead.
@Leo @Laughahalla sorry they are actually PV panels (not the tubes) they are feeding an box in the attic (is this the inverter?) and my understanding is that the electricity is heating the water. Sorry is that clear?

I was thinking something like having the panels feed a battery that the house can draw on rather than just heating the water. I could possibly add more panels if necessary.
 

Laughahalla

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@Itchy Hi, Yes, you could add a battery to this and even better news for you is that the SEAI will even give you €1000 towards it.

So you could set it up so the solar PV fills your battery and then when the battery is full, the excess will still divert to your hot water tank/Immersion.

On the roof you will have the PV panels, in the attic goes the inverter(can go somewhere eles too but most opt to have it out of sight)

A diverter diverts excess to the immersion. If your solar PV is heating your water then it sounds like you may have a diverter already.
 

Itchy

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Ah great stuff, i'll look into that! I see an EV in my future too so this will useful. I had a quick look at seai.ie but it looks like the grant is only eligible for properties built before 2011, which is not applicable in my case.
 

Laughahalla

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That's a pity. You are still going well with being able to divert to the immersion . The hot water tank is acting like a battery by storing excess generation.

Batteries seem to be reducing in price every year or two so it might be worthwhile checking it out down the road. Pylontech lithium battery costs about 1k for 2.4kwh. I have two of these.
 

Laughahalla

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So today at one stage nearly hit maximum output in my 4.2kw PV East/West panels and hit 4.1kw 4,118 watts . Not bad for May.

Needless to say all the clothes and dishes are washed :D.

Another almost grid free day I expect.
 

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thos

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Which inverter have you got?
What's the app like for monitoring it, or is that screen what you need to use?
 

Laughahalla

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Hi Thos, I have a Solis 5kw hybrid inverter.
The App is ok, basic enough. I didn't have a broadband connection in the house when I had the solar PV so didn't get the installer to set it up. I subsequently did get broadband so set it up myself. I can't seem to get it to show battery data but I'll figure that out..or maybe phone installer if it bothers me too much:) I've attached photos from the web page. I'll see about adding photos from the actual phone app later.
 

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mathepac

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Todays's Sunday Times features a front-page article entitled "Green light to sell solar electricity back to the grid". Based on the old scheme and the rates that applied, domestic generators could earn €400 pa credit against grid costs. The scheme was scrapped in 2012 by the FG government of Inda Kinney & Co, displaying their inimitable foresight. Richard Bruton is now taking the lead to no doubt "proactively" re-introduce it.

I can't post a link to the ST article as I don't subscribe to their digital edition.

[EDIT: referenced post deleted]
 
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Palerider

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All the solar pv providers seem to be flat out, I have met two reps so far, very unimpressed with both, my knowledge exceeded theirs and lack of follow up.

I am meeting another provider end of this week and based on our phone conversation he is clued in and is also the best priced using equipment I can research online and very happy to share all the specs by email.

This will be a booming business so care is required with whomever you choose to go with as the market seems hot.

I plan a 4.2 kWh system with a 5kwh battery ( one battery not two strung together which I didn't want ) and a diverter, based on my research I am going for a larger system than I need but my logic is to do this once and do it right, the grant is good but I wonder if you bought the kit separately and had it installed yourself ignoring the grant would it beat the quotes I got as it appears it could.
 
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Susie2017

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Hi pale rider. Could you elaborate why you were unimpressed and what are the key features to look out for when choosing this system. I am looking to get PV installed. I have an installer in the Midlands who keeps ringing me every so often to see if I'm still interested. Last time he mentioned that excess electricity could go back to the grid but I would like a battery. I have heard that batteries wear out and become less efficient much like a mobile phone battery. Any brand suggested ?What key questions should I be asking ?
 

Palerider

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Salesperson A had no knowledge if the immersion could be bypassed to operate from the grid if necessary ( it can ), no brand name of panel or hybrid battery, no detail how app worked and did not forward specs as promised by email, had me take a picture of the standard quote from his blurb on my phone rather than send me the exact quote by email, said he would forward specs by email, never arrived.

Salesperson B claimed to be an engineer but when I asked what efficiency the panels were he quoted me wattage, the most efficient are around 23% with average 20%, I wanted close to 20% as they do degrade, did not call back when he said he would, rushed discussions with do you know how busy I am mentality, I can't get back to everyone when I said I would.

Salesperson C, I meet him this week, very responsive to initial enquiry, very clued in and knowledgable on the phone, forwarded all specs to me by email which allows me do my homework on the kit.

The battery has a ten year guarantee but that's reassuring only if the company you choose is around a long time, this is new technology and will be popular with electrical technicians, know who you buy from.

As for key questions, do your homework, it's a big purchase but one thing Don't allow them drill holes in your roof tiles as suggested to me, that is not a good idea.

Of course to be efficient some adjustment will be required in the home so that you use appliances during the time you generate your own electricity, eg dryers used during the day rather than at night.
 
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