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We've added to our microgeneration credentials with 4 kilowatts worth of Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. This time around it's taken us "only" around six months to convert this...

Solar Panel Planning Drawings

Into this...

PV Solar Panels Installed

Compared with the wind turbine installation that we completed last year, these PV panels have been easier, smaller, quicker, cheaper - but, now they're installed, they are not so lucrative as the larger 6 kW wind turbine.

Once the planning application process and Feed-in-tariff permissions are completed, the installation tasks are quite similar to those we went through for the turbine. Again, each of these jobs takes about a day although those days are quite long.

  1. Cable from the place where the inverter is to be mounted to the electric fuse box. This time the inverter is just underneath the panels so the cabling requirement is much less
  2. Attach the panels to the roof.
  3. Install the inverter and connect it up to the grid.

The two installations are completely separate, only coming together finally in the (domestic) fuse box. This is largely because, the Solar PV installation is pretty much a one-size-fits-all solution tailored to maximize the power that can be fed in to the UK electrical grid under the G83 protocol. The actual number of panels is tuned to generate the correct peak power. This is a function of the angles of the roof, the latitude (how far north the building is) and the efficiency of the panels themselves. Smaller installations in London will be generating more or less the same output.

The next story to be presented here is to be a review of the microgeneration cashflows to give you an idea of the outlay, payback, return on investment (ROI) and so on. The whole process unfolds very slowly so getting a view of real chashflows is taking a considerable length of time.

( © Richard Fieldhouse, 2013)


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