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Power Diverter - Is it worth the cost?

  • 29-06-2018 10:31pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 4,123 ✭✭✭ amcalester


    I’m buying a house that comes with PV panels and I’ve been quoted €800 to add in a Power Diverter.

    I have 2 questions.

    What does a power diverter do and is €800 (including VAT) installation a fair charge?


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,627 ✭✭✭ quentingargan


    Depends on how many panels you have. And €800 seems steep. If you have 6 panels, and use very little power during the day, a diverter is probably worthwhile. There are cheap ones that use a triac. These can cause distortion of the grid. The better ones have very high frequency switching and are better. But these usually are about €350 plus VAT. Should only take a couple of hours to fit.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,364 ✭✭✭ rolion


    @amcalester
    How many panels do you have installed on the roof ?
    However that quoted price is typical of ripoff times these days.

    The diverter makes sense only over a specific amount of panels.
    I have one and I love it... read more HERE

    Enjoy it


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,123 ✭✭✭ amcalester


    Thanks for the posts.

    To be honest I’m not sure how many panels or what the surface area is. It’s a new build so these haven’t been installed yet.

    I don’t know much about it and up to now there’s been 101 other things to deal with so I’ve done no research.

    I’ll find out how many panels there are.

    What else should I ask the builder in order to see if it’s worth getting?

    I’ll be working from home a few days a week so will be drawing power during the day.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,627 ✭✭✭ quentingargan


    I wonder can you ask the builder to give you more panels? A lot of silly systems are installed with 3 or 4 250 watt panels to tick the boxes on Part L. Without planning, you could ask if the builder would bump that to 7 x 290 watt panels.

    The extra cost of a few panels and a larger inverter are negligible.

    Above about 1.5kw (6x250w) it is probably worth having a diverter. If you use 1/3rd of the power yourself, a 1.5kw system would push about 900 kwhrs into your immersion. Displacing oil, that would be about €80 a year. Displacing gas is a bit cheaper.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 59,665 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    If you use 1/3rd of the power yourself, a 1.5kw system would push about 900 kwhrs into your immersion. Displacing oil, that would be about €80 a year. Displacing gas is a bit cheaper.

    Displacing gas that would be a saving of about €40 per year (gas costs about 4c per kWh times 900kWh saved). That is less than the depreciation / maintenance cost of a solar PV diverter.

    In other words - it is cheaper to just give away your excess solar PV to the grid for free than to install a solar PV diverter.

    Morally better and financially better. A rare combo...

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,123 ✭✭✭ amcalester


    unkel wrote: »
    Displacing gas that would be a saving of about €40 per year (gas costs about 4c per kWh times 900kWh saved). That is less than the depreciation / maintenance cost of a solar PV diverter.

    In other words - it is cheaper to just give away your excess solar PV to the grid for free than to install a solar PV diverter.

    Morally better and financially better. A rare combo...

    That's the conclusion I've come to.

    In my case I'd be displacing gas so it would take 20 years to see a return and I could do a lot more with the €800 now than spread over 20 years.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 59,665 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    amcalester wrote: »
    That's the conclusion I've come to.

    In my case I'd be displacing gas so it would take 20 years to see a return and I could do a lot more with the €800 now than spread over 20 years.

    And in the 20 years you are likely to have needed to replace the inverter twice (expected lifespan of about 10 years). So go figure!

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,924 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    amcalester wrote: »
    Thanks for the posts.

    To be honest I’m not sure how many panels or what the surface area is. It’s a new build so these haven’t been installed yet.

    I don’t know much about it and up to now there’s been 101 other things to deal with so I’ve done no research.

    I’ll find out how many panels there are.

    What else should I ask the builder in order to see if it’s worth getting?

    I’ll be working from home a few days a week so will be drawing power during the day.

    Brand new build, my guess is a 1kw system.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,123 ✭✭✭ amcalester


    kceire wrote: »
    Brand new build, my guess is a 1kw system.

    Yeah, that’s what a neighbor told me he has.

    Haven’t bothered to check up with the builder, I just told him not to bother with the installation.


  • Registered Users Posts: 783 ✭✭✭ niallers1


    Diverter should cost about 400 euro + VAT fitted.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,123 ✭✭✭ amcalester


    niallers1 wrote: »
    Diverter should cost about 400 euro + VAT fitted.

    Even at that it doesn't seem to be worth it.

    I got a few other quotes off the builder for other bits of work (attic flooring, outside taps/plugs etc) and some of the quotes were twice what I was expecting so I think he's pricing certain things to discourage people from getting the work done.

    Who knows though, it's my first house and money/value has lost all meaning.


  • Registered Users Posts: 783 ✭✭✭ niallers1


    Builders catch you on variations. Variations to original quote is very profitable for them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 990 ✭✭✭ denismc


    How is your water going to be heated in the summer? I assume you have some sort of immersion tank?
    Thing is your diverter will heat water until it reaches maximum temperature and then it will just export the surplus, so if your immersion is small then 2-3kwh will give you a tank of hot water pretty quick but you would really need to be using it throughout the day to get maximum value.

    Costwise these things really don't make sense, but if the thought of your all your surplus going to grid for free upsets you then maybe get one.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 59,665 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    denismc wrote: »
    Costwise these things really don't make sense, but if the thought of your all your surplus going to grid for free upsets you then maybe get one.

    Sums it up nicely

    Personally, I'd rather give my surplus away for free to the grid. Or you could say to other people or to the environment.

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,627 ✭✭✭ quentingargan


    unkel wrote: »
    Sums it up nicely

    Personally, I'd rather give my surplus away for free to the grid. Or you could say to other people or to the environment.

    Exactly! While you are using a diverter to heat your water, somewhere else, a gas fired station is burning 2.5kw of gas to produce 1kw of electricity. It is a shame to use electricity to heat water in this way.

    In the UK, where you get paid for PRODUCING electricity (even if you use it yourself) a small fortune is being spent subsidising hot tubs, unnecessary storage heaters etc.

    It would have been far better if Elec Ireland had kept up its payments for exports


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,364 ✭✭✭ rolion


    My inverter takes 4 years to pay off the initial €400ish delivered and DIY installed.
    I dont know where you guys take these many years figures and so on...

    As i said,even if you have smaller panels outage(and not making a quick recovery of the RoI),it will pre-heat your cylindder' bottom and then take the water up by the main device and top-it up to 60ish degrees...thats the secret, not bringing to higher temps,but pre-heating...

    I hate,completely hate ... giving away for free,solar electricity.


    Below,my PV Diverter today.
    The figures are lower because the solar tubes are heating the cylinder very quickly and the diverter just goes in "tank warm" mode then sits idle, giving away the xtra electricity for free.

    455761.jpg


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,123 ✭✭✭ amcalester


    Thanks all for the replies, I’ve gone from knowing absolutely nothing to knowing extremely little. That’s progress.

    Even at 4 years I could better use that money for other things now, perhaps in a year or 2 I’ll re-visit.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,364 ✭✭✭ rolion


    amcalester wrote: »
    Thanks all for the replies, I’ve gone from knowing absolutely nothing to knowing extremely little. That’s progress.

    Even at 4 years I could better use that money for other things now, perhaps in a year or 2 I’ll re-visit.

    Been like you years ago...took my time and even read/logged Sun's angles for my location on a daily / weekly basis.

    We are here to share our experience and "money" and not to tell you what to do today or in year 2 with your budget...that game going to be fun for you only.

    Wish you good luck...


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 59,665 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    rolion wrote: »
    My inverter takes 4 years to pay off the initial €400ish delivered and DIY installed.
    I dont know where you guys take these many years figures and so on...

    I've done the sums on this forum a few times. How about your calculations to show your pay back time is only 4 years?

    And fair comparisons please. 1kWh overproduction towards heating your hot water is not worth €0.14. It is worth about €0.04 (the cost of using the equivalent of 1kWh in gas or oil with an efficient boiler) And do take into account the €400 diverter has a lifespan of about 10 years

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,364 ✭✭✭ rolion


    unkel wrote: »
    I've done the sums on this forum a few times. How about your calculations to show your pay back time is only 4 years?

    And fair comparisons please. 1kWh overproduction towards heating your hot water is not worth €0.14. It is worth about €0.04 (the cost of using the equivalent of 1kWh in gas or oil with an efficient boiler) And do take into account the €400 diverter has a lifespan of about 10 years

    Lets not get started … again.
    We will reduce the "extremely little" that the OP knows to completely nothing.
    Not lastly, for me to spend an additional €500 (diverter) along with €4,000 (PV kit) is way much easier to do "now" … rather than €500 alone in 2 years...

    My immersion diverter dashboard figures are above and in posts posted few times already...they do not lie and are true real numbers.
    If today I have "exported" to my cylinder 5Kwh,thats … gas, oil or electricity ?
    Why do compare with gas ? I haven't switched on my gas boiler since end of April.

    What if "owner" has no gas but only electricity available to heat the cylinder !?
    Would that make a difference in those numbers ? What if I decide to get a short quick burst of hot water using the immersion rather than heating up the whole house from the gas boiler ? IS the same efficiency if I heat the whole house radiators rather than the only immersion ? Can anyone think to switch on the gas boiler to heat water in the cylinder when in the house is 25 degrees ?

    The diverter has a lifespan of unknown,10 years ago were no diverters therefore we don't have past data...I could say my diverter will keep me 10 years longer than the panels , because is … mine and is white. :)

    And not lastly...I hate giving away free electricity...when I'm going to get something back for free from supplier(s) then I will happily do it too... in writing.

    Enjoy it...whatever fit plan you have, with or without diverter...


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 59,665 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    You're avoiding the real and simple sums again, rolion. Like you have before. You really should not make claims about pay back periods of 4 years to people like the OP who deserve honest answers.
    rolion wrote: »
    If today I have "exported" to my cylinder 5Kwh,thats … gas, oil or electricity ?
    Why do compare with gas ? I haven't switched on my gas boiler since end of April.

    How is when you last switched on your gas boiler relevant? You exported 5kWh to your cylinder today. That is worth €0.20 because you do have a gas boiler.

    I admire your thrust towards renewable energies, we should all be at it. But please be honest and don't misrepresent the figures here. You are not helping anyone by doing that :(

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,257 ✭✭✭ dathi


    unkel wrote: »
    ?

    And fair comparisons please. 1kWh overproduction towards heating your hot water is not worth €0.14. It is worth about €0.04 (the cost of using the equivalent of 1kWh in gas or oil with an efficient boiler) s

    and the cost of oil per kwh is not 0.04 it is 0.075 and even that price does not allow for losses due to inefficiencies in the boiler


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,924 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    unkel wrote: »
    How is when you last switched on your gas boiler relevant? You exported 5kWh to your cylinder today. That is worth €0.20 because you do have a gas boiler.

    I suppose the reason why the last gas boiler use is relevant is to show that if the diverter wasn't in place, then the OP would be using gas to heat hi water.


    Are you sure it only costs 20c to heat the hot water cylinder?
    Ive a 200L hot water cylinder.

    I have a 3kw Solar System.
    I haven't turned my gas boiler on since end of April, so i've gotten all my hot water needs from the solar array. Ignoring heating the house as i'm sure nobody is heating the house over the last month or 2.

    Also, the invertor has a 10 year lifespan, I haven't heard of any diverters only having a 10 year lifespan.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 59,665 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    kceire wrote: »
    Are you sure it only costs 20c to heat the hot water cylinder?

    Ah no. What I am saying is that if you use a diverter to heat your hot water, the savings are what it would have cost you with a gas boiler. A gas boiler costs 4c per kWh, so that is the saving (so 20c for 5kWh produced and diverted in the above example). The saving is not the 14c per kWh you pay for electricity at peak rate.
    dathi wrote: »
    and the cost of oil per kwh is not 0.04 it is 0.075 and even that price does not allow for losses due to inefficiencies in the boiler

    I don't really know anything about oil for home heating. But a good quality condensing gas boiler is 98% efficient and gas costs about 4c per kWh

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,924 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    unkel wrote: »
    Ah no. What I am saying is that if you use a diverter to heat your hot water, the savings are what it would have cost you with a gas boiler. A gas boiler costs 4c per kWh, so that is the saving (so 20c for 5kWh produced and diverted in the above example). The saving is not the 14c per kWh you pay for electricity at peak rate.



    I don't really know anything about oil for home heating. But a good quality condensing gas boiler is 98% efficient and gas costs about 4c per kWh

    Ok I’ll have to check that out. I’m due to swap my gas soon so I’ll check what the rate is. Does the 20c include the cost of the gas also or just the electrical power to burn the gas or am I totally lost here :(

    On the other hand, brand new condensing has boilers would not be 98% efficient. More like 92ish%.
    And allowing for losses they are only 80ish% efficient.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 59,665 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    In case anyone wonders why it might look like I'm playing devil's advocate - I'm all for renewables. I already have a large solar thermal system for hot water, I have an EV as the main family car (doing 95% of our mileage) and I also have solar PV, which I am expanding at the moment. But we have to admit it to ourselves, solar PV (without a feed in tariff) makes not an awful lot of financial sense unless you can either install it cheaply, have the system in place for a very long time, or actually use much of the electricity yourself that you would have had to buy from the grid otherwise. Or a combo of the above
    kceire wrote: »
    Ok I’ll have to check that out. I’m due to swap my gas soon so I’ll check what the rate is. Does the 20c include the cost of the gas also or just the electrical power to burn the gas or am I totally lost here :(

    I think you're a bit lost there :)

    It is just the cost of the gas. It is confusing as the unit for gas use is m3. But if you look at your gas bill, you can see that your are billed for the kWh equivalent of gas use. Call it the "energy value" of gas or something like that

    And that equivalent costs about 4c per one unit of electricity

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,257 ✭✭✭ dathi


    unkel wrote: »



    gas costs about 4c per kWh

    no it doesn't because you don't include the standing charge in the price to get an accurate price you would need your total yearly usage add the standing charge vat and carbon taxes and divide by the number of kwh used .


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 59,665 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    Nope. If you have a gas boiler and a live gas subscription anyway, the fixed costs (like maintenance, depreciation, standing charge) are there already. Same for your electricity supply

    The revenue of a kWh from your solar PV diverted to your immersion competes directly with the cost of a kWh of gas used to heat your water. The latter is 4c. From which you have to deduct the fixed costs of the diverter to get your net benefits. At that stage there is just about nothing left. Or worse, it actually loses you money to install a diverter...

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,257 ✭✭✭ dathi


    unkel wrote: »
    Nope. If you have a gas boiler and a live gas subscription anyway, the fixed costs (like maintenance, depreciation, standing charge) are there already. Same for your electricity supply

    The revenue of a kWh from your solar PV diverted to your immersion competes directly with the cost of a kWh of gas used to heat your water. The latter is 4c. From which you have to deduct the fixed costs of the diverter to get your net benefits. At that stage there is just about nothing left. Or worse, it actually loses you money to install a diverter...

    thats like saying it cheaper to get my wife to drive me in my car as she only has to pay for the petrol


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,627 ✭✭✭ quentingargan


    There are a few other questions here. Gas is 4c and the boiler is 91% efficient when heating the house and running for a few hours at a time. How efficient is it when it has to heat up its flu, intermediate piping and water etc., just to heat 200l of water in the hotpress? It would be useful to know. One of the arguments of the solar thermal brigade is that hot water in the summer is more expensive because the boiler is less efficient when only heating a cylinder.

    AND

    Is it better for the boiler to run it occasionally during the summer, rather than leave it cobwebbed for 6 months at a time?


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