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PV Panel Questions

  • 24-04-2019 3:20pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 14 chrisjcbt


    Hi there,

    Our family are living in Cork, in an A3 rated home (circa 2,000 sq/ft). The house was built in 2018. The roof tiles (where we could place PV panels) faces south, so I believe is well placed. Heating comes from an Air-Source HeatPump, driving underfloor heating downstairs and low pressure radiators upstairs.

    I'm looking for help. If I go to a PV supplier with these questions then I'm talking to someone who wants to sell me the setup. I'm really keen on the idea of using renewable energy, but:
    1. I'm struggling to work out if I should be focussing on PV panels, or solar thermal collectors?

    2. We are planning on being in this house for 15 years plus. I don't think I qualify for an SEAI grant. Do you see a return on investment on using PV Panels in Ireland? (I am thinking of an Inverter and Battery in Loft)

    3. Where do you go to find a reputable supplier? I'm not going down the DIY route.

    Thanks,
    Chris


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,277 ✭✭✭✭ Rex Vast Family


    Take a read of the quotation thread.it has lots of answers


  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭ mike_2009


    While reviewing the other thread there is some feedback:
    1. PV is the most flexible, can use to feed background load in house, charge batteries, car, Jacuzzi etc...!
    2. Your house is way too new to qualify for any grants on Solar PV. Most new houses have some renewables in them, surprised you have no panels at all!
    3. Ideal homes has a few you can talk to. The quotes in the other thread might steer you depending on location. Send a private message to particular posters who have attractive offers. Solocheck the company - see how long they've been around, ask for references and follow up....


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,442 ✭✭✭ wexfordman2


    mike_2009 wrote: »
    While reviewing the other thread there is some feedback:
    1. PV is the most flexible, can use to feed background load in house, charge batteries, car, Jacuzzi etc...!
    2. Your house is way too new to qualify for any grants on Solar PV. Most new houses have some renewables in them, surprised you have no panels at all!
    3. Ideal homes has a few you can talk to. The quotes in the other thread might steer you depending on location. Send a private message to particular posters who have attractive offers. Solocheck the company - see how long they've been around, ask for references and follow up....

    And insist on a low deposit, early all.of them look for 50% deposit, which I think is too high.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ steelmark


    I have some answers... been living (almost) off grid in Galway for 11 years. I have thermal panels, air source heat pump, PV, wind, Batteries, diesel generator. Not big on longwinded typing exchanges but happy to chat on the phone with anyone if I can figure a way to share my phone number without posting it on a public forum......?


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


    steelmark wrote: »
    I have some answers... been living (almost) off grid in Galway for 11 years. I have thermal panels, air source heat pump, PV, wind, Batteries, diesel generator. Not big on longwinded typing exchanges but happy to chat on the phone with anyone if I can figure a way to share my phone number without posting it on a public forum......?

    NICE ONE !!!!

    Why do i not throw a question to you and "challenge" you to open your own topic here,describe the setup,how is life in there and how you manage the get your life around the electricity that most of us are taken so fcukign granted at a flip of a switch !? :)

    Regards,my hat is off to you...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ steelmark


    I have no idea how to go about opening a new topic on this board Rolion. Its only my 2nd post ever here. Also there doesn't seem to be a way to post pictures of the setup? Here's the basics though for the benefit of the guy asking the initial question on this thread.
    1) Before embarking on the journey (and yes it is a journey) be clear about why you want renewable energy - is it independence, cost saving, SHTF prepping, power outage backup, tinkering with technology, saving the environment.... all are valid reasons.
    2) Do an honest appraisal about how tech savvy you are AND how much time you can spend EVERY day supporting your setup once it is in operation.
    3) Recognise that certain technologies are pretty much UNSUPPORTED in Ireland. This applies to both a) expertise in country (try getting an industrial level off-grid electrician capable of working with AC and DC at high voltage/current) and b) financial incentives from either suppliers or the government for anything other than grid tied which is throttled or thermal which is mainly plumbing.
    I could write a whole book on just these 3 things.

    If someone could help setup a "topic" I will happily contribute what I have learned.

    In answer to your request about the setup: I have 2 completely separate wiring systems in my house - grid and off-grid. 2 consumer units, 2 sets of wiring and wall sockets. I have a 10Kw array of ground mounted PVs, 2 x SMA 4Kw sunny inverters, 1x SMA 6Kw Sunny Island controller, an 8Kw Caterpillar Generator, a 48v 500Ahr NiFe battery bank, 2 x 2Kw wind turbines, a 700W air source heat pump and thermal solar panel on the roof. Its taken 10 years to accumulate all this and lots of mistakes along the way. I could not find a single company or person in ireland willing to build it all for me and got no help from the government whatsoever. No one will sell me a support contract or provide and engineer to fault fix. Lots of pictures available....
    In terms of living with the solution. I regularly get out of bed at 2 in the morning to start the genny or top up the battery water and we are constantly swapping appliances from one set of sockets to the other. The benefits are I am independent of the grid (I use my grid connection because its convenient at times but not essential) my bills are much lower, we have 10 power cuts a year on the West coast and then I'm smiling...


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


    steelmark wrote: »
    I have no idea how to go about opening a new topic on this board Rolion. Its only my 2nd post ever here. Also there doesn't seem to be a way to post pictures of the setup? Here's the basics though for the benefit of the guy asking the initial question on this thread.
    1) Before embarking on the journey (and yes it is a journey) be clear about why you want renewable energy - is it independence, cost saving, SHTF prepping, power outage backup, tinkering with technology, saving the environment.... all are valid reasons.
    2) Do an honest appraisal about how tech savvy you are AND how much time you can spend EVERY day supporting your setup once it is in operation.
    3) Recognise that certain technologies are pretty much UNSUPPORTED in Ireland. This applies to both a) expertise in country (try getting an industrial level off-grid electrician capable of working with AC and DC at high voltage/current) and b) financial incentives from either suppliers or the government for anything other than grid tied which is throttled or thermal which is mainly plumbing.
    I could write a whole book on just these 3 things.

    If someone could help setup a "topic" I will happily contribute what I have learned.

    In answer to your request about the setup: I have 2 completely separate wiring systems in my house - grid and off-grid. 2 consumer units, 2 sets of wiring and wall sockets. I have a 10Kw array of ground mounted PVs, 2 x SMA 4Kw sunny inverters, 1x SMA 6Kw Sunny Island controller, an 8Kw Caterpillar Generator, a 48v 500Ahr NiFe battery bank, 2 x 2Kw wind turbines, a 700W air source heat pump and thermal solar panel on the roof. Its taken 10 years to accumulate all this and lots of mistakes along the way. I could not find a single company or person in ireland willing to build it all for me and got no help from the government whatsoever. No one will sell me a support contract or provide and engineer to fault fix. Lots of pictures available....
    In terms of living with the solution. I regularly get out of bed at 2 in the morning to start the genny or top up the battery water and we are constantly swapping appliances from one set of sockets to the other. The benefits are I am independent of the grid (I use my grid connection because its convenient at times but not essential) my bills are much lower, we have 10 power cuts a year on the West coast and then I'm smiling...

    How can you stayed for so long under the radar without posting here !?
    You can do summer courses "how to live off grid" and charge for it !

    You SIR, are a avaluable source of real life information ! My respect .
    I can say ,with the risk of offending you... i "hate" you and your life !

    Your setup is my desired and dreamed of a decent off-grid setup... i must drive to with a big can of beer,wine or nice coffee and visit you ... steal some of the life practical advices...deep down there,alone, dealing with any unexpected situations and still be happy and satisfied. That's the spirit,that's the beauty ...

    oahh,really impressed..........


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,862 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    steelmark wrote: »
    a 48v 500Ahr NiFe battery bank

    That's an interesting choice of battery. You don't describe what kind of household you have, but for an average family home that seems to be on the small side. Would you not have been better off with a battery double that size and one wind generator less, for similar total spent?

    And why are you keeping the grid connection, even for a small user, the standing charges and other fixed costs are substantial if you add it all up. How often would you need the generator if you doubled your battery bank?

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



  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ steelmark


    The turbines are only £1500 each from UK - The battery bank cost £10,000. I learned that when you have only PVs its all about getting through the night till the next morning.... That is somewhat eased by the wind turbines.... now its all about using what you generate while you are generating it - not what you store up. The choice for NiFe follows 6 years of using Pb Acid... bugger to maintain and you can really only use 20-30% of the capacity...... With NiFe I can use 90% capacity and they last 30 years instead of 10.

    As it happens I am trying to sell my old Pb acid battery bank - its up on donedeal if anyone is interested.... 2000 Euro for a 48V 1000Ah set - 6 yrs old


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,862 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    steelmark wrote: »
    The battery bank cost £10,000

    That's madness! The same usable capacity in lifepo4 costs less, will last longer, doesn't require any maintenance and doesn't have to be stored in a well ventilated outbuilding

    Or am I missing something here? :confused:

    Why are you selling the other bank? If you have both, you might not need to use your genny except on very rare occasions. But I'm guessing here of course as I don't know your consumption pattern - or your production pattern for that matter :)

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



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  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ steelmark


    There are 2 catches to the battery technology change. NiFe batteries cost twice as much to buy (I only got 500Ah for the same price as 1000Ah of Pb acid, and the two battery types are incompatible with each other on the same controller and even in the same room! Acid Vs Alkali together is not a good idea. Hence the sale of 1.4 tonnes of perfectly good batteries. If you are interested, the NiFe batteries despite being half the capacity are still the same dimensions so not very space efficient either - but they are indestructible and can drain 90%.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ steelmark


    There are 2 catches to the battery technology change. NiFe batteries cost twice as much to buy (I only got 500Ah for the same price as 1000Ah of Pb acid, and the two battery types are incompatible with each other on the same controller and even in the same room! Acid Vs Alkali together is not a good idea. Hence the sale of 1.4 tonnes of perfectly good batteries. If you are interested, the NiFe batteries despite being half the capacity are still the same dimensions so not very space efficient either - but they are indestructible and can drain 90%.....


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,862 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    steelmark wrote: »
    There are 2 catches to the battery technology change. NiFe batteries cost twice as much to buy (I only got 500Ah for the same price as 1000Ah of Pb acid, and the two battery types are incompatible with each other on the same controller and even in the same room! Acid Vs Alkali together is not a good idea. Hence the sale of 1.4 tonnes of perfectly good batteries. If you are interested, the NiFe batteries despite being half the capacity are still the same dimensions so not very space efficient either - but they are indestructible and can drain 90%.....

    I'm only a novice in this area and I hadn't even heard of the NiFe chemistry. I get your point it's a big step up for you from the Pb acid batteries and the ones you're selling are reasonably priced.

    What I do not understand is why did you not go for a LiFePo4 battery for similar money and usable capacity as the NiFe? More efficient, not hazardous, overall cheaper per kWh cycled.

    And you still leave us in the dark about what kind of household you have, what electricity you consume and produce :)

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



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,277 ✭✭✭✭ Rex Vast Family


    Can you post a link to the turbine you're using please?

    Who linked it up for you?


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BryanF


    steelmark welcome to boards.ie

    You may find until you have ~50 posts you’ll struggle to upload images or links, so just break the link/photo and one of us will amend.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ steelmark


    UNKEL - The simple answer is that the vender I selected (Bimble solar in the UK) didnt sell or support LifePo batteries and I bought the turbines and batteries as a package. They spec'd the bank size a year ago to "slot in replace" the Pb bank and it worked. I guess if I had the choice again now I would probably do the same again because everything I ever read about NiFe says "indestructible" especially with the auto-watering system I included. LifePo is just too new for me in an unsupported situation. I saw lots of reference sites around submarines, powerstations and trains Vs small "new tech" applications for LifePo.... hope that makes sense.

    As regards my situation, I have a small 2 bed cottage nothing fancy I use about 20Kw/day in summer and 30Kw in winter, we use a big turf burning range for heat I also have 2 workshops in the barns one is my blacksmith's forge and the other my son uses for glassblowing. Both of these run grid power and the turbines were bought to supplement these as well as become primary power for winter. The turbines are just fitted as I had some physical infrastructure fabrication prerequisites (a collapsible gantry bolted to the side of my steel hoop barn) and I'm still learning about them.

    TATRANSKA - the turbines are from BimbleSolar their 2Kw marine turbine offering - made in China.... but seem robust once you get them mounted properly. Yet to experience a bad storm here in the west, they are on a "H-frame" bolted to my barn 30 feet up which I can winch down for storms and maintenence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ steelmark


    How do I break the link BryanF? I'm aware that I'm hogging someone elses thread here.... also pictures would help - how do I upload?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,277 ✭✭✭✭ Rex Vast Family


    steelmark wrote: »
    How do I break the link BryanF? I'm aware that I'm hogging someone elses thread here.... also pictures would help - how do I upload?

    Just leave a space in the URL.

    You could use the likes of Imgur to upload photos to and link to them.


    Thanks for the supplier name


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    2. Do you see a return on investment on using PV Panels in Ireland?


    PV panels: Yes.
    Batteries: No.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ steelmark


    I didnt do it to see return on investment.... I did it for autonomy.... see my list of selection criteria earlier in the thread. I genuinely begrudge paying ESB power bills and at the time their grid tied tariffs were appallingly bad. The fact that during a grid outage (every time there's a storm because they cannot cut down tree limbs proactively) my power would be cut to prevent injury to their workers is little comfort to me in the middle of nowhere...... same thing with Eircom and their ADSL/Fibre fiasco. Dont get me started there!


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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Expect to pay several times the going rate for kWhs then if yer building your own power station.
    First decade upfront.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,442 ✭✭✭ wexfordman2


    [/INDENT]

    PV panels: Yes.
    Batteries: No.

    Not as straight forward as that if you are putting in a 4kwp or bigger system ubder the seai grant, as the battery subisdy is effectivly 2,800 euro in that case,


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