Solar PV or Solar Thermal

lonelyplanet

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54
Hi,
Currently renovating an old stone house and currently looking at insulation and installing Solar PV and / or Solar Thermal. Anyone got any recommendations on Solar PV and possibility of supplying back to the grid. Can anyone recommend any installers in the Mid West...Any recommendations are most welcome

Thanks
lonelyplanet
 

Ravima

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2,582
Can only advise from experience. I had the CAREYGLASS tubes installed. Alas, they were installed incorrectly and it took a few years to have the situation corrected. Since corrected, I'm very happy, but the shocking substandard installation was terrifying, once seen by engineer. I would suggest that whatever system you go for, you withhold a substantial payment until certified as safe by a qualified engineer. By engineer, I mean a BE or a Trinity BAI.
 

Zenith63

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587
I think the general consensus has now shifted firmly to solar PV. The electricity generated can be used for whatever is going on in your home while it is generating, excess can be stored in a battery or put into an electric car if you have one and further excess can be used to heat hot water in your tank using a diverter to the immersion heater.

You cannot currently sell electricity back to the grid, though there seems to be more and more talk of something be introduced in the next year or two, but who knows.

There are decent grants available from the SEAI to install solar PV and a battery, and they also have a list of approved installers. You absolutely need to get a few prices though, there are some companies out there (one of which appears at the top of most Google searches) that are using very pushy sales tactics with ridiculously high prices. You also need to do a bit of research to understand what size of system will suit your needs, particularly when it comes to the battery where oversizing will lengthen your payback time fairly significantly.

Just had a solar PV system + battery + diverter installed last month, as a techy and green energy enthusiast it’s one of the best gadgets miney can buy! FWIW between this and a few other small changes in the house it went from a BER C3 to B1.
 
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Buddyboy

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605
As Zenith63 said, if you install solar thermal, all you can do is heat water. If you install solar pv, you can heat water plus use any other use for electricity. If you are allowed to sell excess back to the grid in the future, then in effect you have futureproofed the installation.

I was in Germany last year, and I would guess that they can sell back to the grid, judging by the amount of roofs, including barn roofs that were covered completely in solar PV panels. I could see no solar thermal panels at all.
 

Leo

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11,529
there are some companies out there (one of which appears at the top of most Google searches) that are using very pushy sales tactics with ridiculously high prices.
I think a good rule for anyone considering spending a lot of money on any product or service, if the sales people appear pushy and are offering a significant discount if you sign up today (or in a very short time), just walk away. In almost every case that discounted price will be far more expensive than the competition.
 

ALEXA

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124
Zenith63, you have recently had a solar PV system installed. Can I ask you what is the orientation of your property and what approximately was the cost nett of SEAI grants etc. ? What size of battery/ies did you need and where are they located? I'm not being nosey and understand if you don't want to answer but the reason I ask is that I'm considering the same system and would appreciate your advice and any information you can offer. Many thanks.
 

Zenith63

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587
Zenith63, you have recently had a solar PV system installed. Can I ask you what is the orientation of your property and what approximately was the cost nett of SEAI grants etc. ? What size of battery/ies did you need and where are they located? I'm not being nosey and understand if you don't want to answer but the reason I ask is that I'm considering the same system and would appreciate your advice and any information you can offer. Many thanks.
My South roof is a bit small, so went with 7 panels on the East and 7 on the west West for a total of 4.8kWp. 5kW hybrid inverter. 5.2kWh of batteries as well. And finally a diverter to the immersion for any excess. Total was €8k after the grant.

As I say above I’m into technology and the environment and have two electric cars, so the system is probably over spec’d compared to what the average house might need.

FWIW there’s a good thread in the Renewable Energies section of boards.ie where loss of people have posted their quotes, so you can get a sense of what you should be paying. Be warned there are some companies in the space, one in particular that often appears at the top of a Google search for solar, that are using very sharp sales tactics with crazy prices. Get three quotes, or message somebody on the boards.ie thread who is happy with their outcome.
 

ALEXA

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Messages
124
Thanks for the info Zenith63. Your system sounds ideal for your needs. Like you I'm very much in favour of renewable resources and feel this is certainly a good option for me going forward. I'll definitely do as you've suggested - get all the information and shop around before committing to anything. It would be interesting to hear from you over the next year or so letting us know how your system is performing. All the best and thanks again.
 

EricBul

New Member
Messages
1
Can only advise from experience. I had the CAREYGLASS tubes installed. Alas, they were installed incorrectly and it took a few years to have the situation corrected. Since corrected, I'm very happy, but the shocking substandard installation was terrifying, once seen by engineer. I would suggest that whatever system you go for, you withhold a substantial payment until certified as safe by a qualified engineer. By engineer, I mean a BE or a Trinity BAI.
Very interested in your experience. I had a solar thermal system installed in 2010. Carey Glass was the supplier but not the installer. Several mistakes was made during installation but they were all eventually resolved. I have had loads of hot water for the past 10 years and up until recently I have been more than satisfied. However FIVE of my evacuated tubes are now broken and Carey Glass say that they no longer supply these. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Surely there must be dozens of Carey Glass clients who are now in the same position as I am.
 

RobFer

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114
PV is a lot more trendy but one thing to bear in mind that storage is the big thing. Electricity can be stored with a battery but it does add to costs while thermal is arguably free to store in your hot water cylinder. Gradually your cylinder cools and you lose that water battery but it does provide some heating. Thermal is extremely useful for big families. It will be possible to sell excess energy to the grid but the price offered is probably going to be a pittance.
 

Zenith63

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587
Ah it’s a bit more than trendiness I think. A solar thermal system will only generate hot water, and if you’re on mains gas heating water is the cheapest forms of energy you’ll be using in your home and not a big one either. Solar PV will run all your appliances, heat water, charge your car etc..

If you’re going to go to the expense of getting somebody up on the roof to install a solar system, rooting around in your attic, maintaining it and all the other cost/complexity, to me it makes much more sense to put up solar PV and offset electricity which costs significantly more than gas. A battery is entirely optional, a properly sized array will cover a significant portion of your electricity usage without one.

I haven’t seen a new solar thermal system installed in quite a number of years.
 
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