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Domestic Solar PV: "Eco Bling" or does 10+ year payback make sense?

  • 25-03-2021 11:31am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 732 ✭✭✭ PGL


    Hi folks

    Apologies if this question has been asked before, but I couldn't find it.

    I am interested in getting a solar pv system installed in my home (typical 4-bed semi d). I am very much pro renewable energy in general, so I really want to get it installed. However I'm struggling to get my head around whether it makes financial sense at this point.

    To date, I have only received one quote (won't name the company) of €8,600 including VAT and inclusive of the grant for a 4.125kWp system (11 x 375W panels) with a dual string hybrid inverter, 1 x 2.4kWh battery and an Eddi power diverter to heat my hot water cylinder. Based on my typical pre COVID annual electricity usage of 5,800kWh, the company in question are suggesting it will take just under 10 years for the system to pay for itself. If the battery is excluded, I'm told the price drops to €6,000, and the pay back period increases to 10-12 years.

    Looking at SEAI's website, it appears that a 10 year pay back period is the norm at present.

    Taking all of this on board, my initial thoughts are that if money is not an object, you don't hesitate and get onboard with renewable energy like domestic solar PV. However, for the average household (including myself) in this country, does a pay back period of roughly 10 years make sense? Taking the estate (constructed in 1997) that I live in as an example there are only 2 or 3 houses out of a total of 90 that have solar PV installed, and anecdotally looking further afield, it appears that apart from new houses, there is a very low uptake of solar PV - this would suggest it doesn't yet make financial sense.

    The company that quoted me are of the view that SEAI will stop providing grants in the next few months once homes start getting paid for the unused solar energy that they export to the grid. Do you guys agree? I would have thought if the government are really serious about decarbonisation, they need to keep grants in place at the very least and also considering increasing them.

    Interested to hear peoples thoughts on all of this in general and as to whether domestic solar PV is currently "eco bling" for the wealthy, is a 10 year payback reasonable, and whats the likelihood of costs reducing?

    Thanks!


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,168 ✭✭✭ Ubbquittious


    You get around 1KWh per Wp in this country. Maybe some lads are getting a bit more or a bit less


    At 20c/KWh if you manage to use all the electricity yourself without donating to the grid or exporting at a paltry rate you're bringing in 825 quid a year. So without the battery you could break even before 10 years as long as you're a heavy enough user of electricity in the summer during the day.


    There's a lot of eco-bling out there and it's easy to get sucked in if you spend a lot of time reading this forum and drinking the kool-aid. If you really want quick payback you'll have to run a clapped out system where you do all the donkey work yourself and eschew the fancy options. You can sit back with your PV installation and let it pay for itself but the real serious eco-bling territory is where you start buying 2 brand new EV's and paying some fella 20k to put in a heat pump. There's huge costs involved with going down that road and usually justified by "doing the right thing for the planet" but the sunk costs are just too vast to be recouped in any reasonable timeframe. There's other investments where you could get a much higher yield for your money



    I will hopefully be putting in about 3KWp soon and should cost less than 2k. Secondhand inverter and doing the wiring myself. If the inverter doesn't pack up should be paid back in about 4 years. If it does pack up there is a chance I'll be able to repair it, otherwise add another year for it to pay for itself

    Ireland's premier property crash prediction site




  • Registered Users Posts: 3,912 ✭✭✭ mp3guy


    PGL wrote: »
    I am very much pro renewable energy in general, so I really want to get it installed. However I'm struggling to get my head around whether it makes financial sense at this point.

    I think you need to be honest with yourself, are you really pro renewable? It sounds like money matters more to you right now than your carbon footprint. I'm sure you like the idea of going eco but not if it hits your wallet too much. Which is fair enough.
    PGL wrote: »
    Taking all of this on board, my initial thoughts are that if money is not an object, you don't hesitate and get onboard with renewable energy like domestic solar PV. However, for the average household (including myself) in this country, does a pay back period of roughly 10 years make sense? Taking the estate (constructed in 1997) that I live in as an example there are only 2 or 3 houses out of a total of 90 that have solar PV installed, and anecdotally looking further afield, it appears that apart from new houses, there is a very low uptake of solar PV - this would suggest it doesn't yet make financial sense.

    It suggests most people aren't willing to accept the financial hit it will take to bring down their CO2 output. If it was financially better to go green, climate change wouldn't be an issue today.

    Not trying to be critical of you, guilt you into anything or suggest you sell your cars and cycle everywhere. Maybe you're happier spending that money on something else and waiting on the grid to decarbonise itself.

    If you want to you can hussle and DIY it and lock in a payback in 5-7 years if you really want to, but if you want it to be easy, you need to accept that the investment might not pay itself off in reasonable time (how many investments can you make that will though? it's all a risk, except with PV you can write down the tonnes of CO2 saved over the years). Spend that money on an extension, new car, five star holiday, you get different returns.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,081 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    PGL wrote: »
    Hi folks

    Apologies if this question has been asked before, but I couldn't find it.

    I am interested in getting a solar pv system installed in my home (typical 4-bed semi d). I am very much pro renewable energy in general, so I really want to get it installed. However I'm struggling to get my head around whether it makes financial sense at this point.

    To date, I have only received one quote (won't name the company) of €8,600 including VAT and inclusive of the grant for a 4.125kWp system (11 x 375W panels) with a dual string hybrid inverter, 1 x 2.4kWh battery and an Eddi power diverter to heat my hot water cylinder. Based on my typical pre COVID annual electricity usage of 5,800kWh, the company in question are suggesting it will take just under 10 years for the system to pay for itself. If the battery is excluded, I'm told the price drops to €6,000, and the pay back period increases to 10-12 years.

    Looking at SEAI's website, it appears that a 10 year pay back period is the norm at present.

    Taking all of this on board, my initial thoughts are that if money is not an object, you don't hesitate and get onboard with renewable energy like domestic solar PV. However, for the average household (including myself) in this country, does a pay back period of roughly 10 years make sense? Taking the estate (constructed in 1997) that I live in as an example there are only 2 or 3 houses out of a total of 90 that have solar PV installed, and anecdotally looking further afield, it appears that apart from new houses, there is a very low uptake of solar PV - this would suggest it doesn't yet make financial sense.

    The company that quoted me are of the view that SEAI will stop providing grants in the next few months once homes start getting paid for the unused solar energy that they export to the grid. Do you guys agree? I would have thought if the government are really serious about decarbonisation, they need to keep grants in place at the very least and also considering increasing them.

    Interested to hear peoples thoughts on all of this in general and as to whether domestic solar PV is currently "eco bling" for the wealthy, is a 10 year payback reasonable, and whats the likelihood of costs reducing?

    Thanks!

    Sorry for this angle of "attack" but take it in the spirit it's meant.

    Firstly your quote is mad high, get more as you are around €3k too high when looking at installs the likes of DrPhil and myself have had installed.
    Imagine what a €3k less Capital Investment will do to your payback!!

    Your savings need to be based on the cheapest day/night rate rate out there.
    I'm with Energia and paying 14.22c day/6.82c night, let's say a weighted average of 9.78c a unit for simplicity purposes.

    IF and it's a big IF you generate 4.125kWh a year and IF (and this is probably a bigger IF) you consume 100% of it (there are losses left right and centre with PV cabling and diversion) then you will have saved €403 a year.
    It is reasonably safe to say you will not generate 4.125kWh and you will not consume 100% of it.
    Okay, we can throw some Feed In Tariff into it and maybe you charging the battery at night over Winter but remember a 2.2kWh supply will last just about a modern washing machine cycle and then depleted.
    Let's therefore assume that the FIT and battery usage in Winter washes out the earlier comment re generation/self consumption/losses.

    So, a Capital Investment of say, €5.6k, a (very generous) saving of €403 a year and you are looking at a simple Payback of 14 years.

    Remember at some stage the inverter/diverter will pop it's clogs and the battery efficiency will drop off, this will require re-investment and further Payback.
    Yes I realise electricity prices will increase over time but that's a load of horsesh1t, I change ever year and never pay more than previous year.

    Hope this helps.
    Advice here will probably be ditch the battery option which will lower your initial cost (and cost of inverter which would be my concern as that's an expensive replacement).

    If you are doing it be sure to run loads of ethernet cables for future proofing install of an EV charge point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 732 ✭✭✭ PGL


    Great honest feedback so far folks - keep it coming!

    It may not have sounded like it, but i am genuinely in favour of renewable generation, and probably will have to accept a long pay back period. But costs are clearly going to have to come down to get buy in from the majority of society.

    I will definitely get a few more quotes and am glad to hear my first quote is on the high side. I am starting to sway away from getting a battery, but will need to see a few more quotes first.

    BTW: I am not in a position to do a DIY job, use second hand equipment etc


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,081 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    PGL wrote: »
    ... But costs are clearly going to have to come down to get buy in from the majority of society...

    Can't see it happening, panels and inverters are as cheap as ever, have a look at YouTube and see the full costs from other countries, we are doing very well on costs.
    The inverter is the single biggest equipment outlay and you can get a 4.6kWh Solis for your system for less than €600 ex VAT, can't see prices coming down much more than that...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,213 ✭✭✭✭ KCross


    PGL wrote: »
    To date, I have only received one quote (won't name the company) of €8,600 including VAT and inclusive of the grant for a 4.125kWp system (11 x 375W panels) with a dual string hybrid inverter, 1 x 2.4kWh battery and an Eddi power diverter to heat my hot water cylinder.

    Ditch the hybrid inverter for a standard 5kW+ one.
    Ditch the battery and the eddi also, they just increase the cost now, and in the future when they need to be replaced, and they will need to be replaced.

    Get a quote of ~€4500 (after grant) for a 4-5kWp system and then pull the trigger!


  • Registered Users Posts: 404 ✭✭ ec_pc


    The other factors include inflation in electricity costs, what will the unit cost be in in 5 years time? What about FIT rates too? I suspect as time passes and unit rates increase, then we will really see a return on investment, besides being nice to the environment of course.


  • Registered Users Posts: 513 ✭✭✭ farmerval


    The OP is looking at a battery in his system. Without one how many people will get to use the power they are generating?

    Lots of people are at work when power is being generated, so little opportunity to use the power, timers for washing machine etc fair enough, but will more thaN 5O% of what you generate be used?


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,213 ✭✭✭✭ KCross


    ec_pc wrote: »
    The other factors include inflation in electricity costs, what will the unit cost be in in 5 years time? What about FIT rates too? I suspect as time passes and unit rates increase, then we will really see a return on investment, besides being nice to the environment of course.

    The unit price hasnt changed much for me over the last 10 years. Change each year and get the best deals.

    farmerval wrote: »
    The OP is looking at a battery in his system. Without one how many people will get to use the power they are generating?

    Lots of people are at work when power is being generated, so little opportunity to use the power, timers for washing machine etc fair enough, but will more thaN 5O% of what you generate be used?

    No need to have a battery when there is a Feed-in-tariff on the way. The grid is your battery.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,081 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    KCross wrote: »
    N need to have a battery when there is a Feed-in-tariff on the way. The grid is your battery.

    ..and in a few years so will your EV


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,912 ✭✭✭ mp3guy


    slave1 wrote: »
    ..and in a few years so will your EV

    Gotta factor in the cost of an EV that can do this though!


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,081 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    It’s like the tide at this stage, no avoiding


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,396 ✭✭✭ Alkers


    Is there someone going to be home during the day long term?
    IMO the best system interns of payback is a small 2.5-3kW array without a battery or hybrid inverter. Can be had for less than 2,500e after the grand and can be paid over ten years, so depending on your usage, you could see cashflow positive summer months off the bat


  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭ Patmwgs


    PGL wrote: »
    Hi folks

    Apologies if this question has been asked before, but I couldn't find it.

    I am interested in getting a solar pv system installed in my home (typical 4-bed semi d). I am very much pro renewable energy in general, so I really want to get it installed. However I'm struggling to get my head around whether it makes financial sense at this point.

    To date, I have only received one quote (won't name the company) of €8,600 including VAT and inclusive of the grant for a 4.125kWp system (11 x 375W panels) with a dual string hybrid inverter, 1 x 2.4kWh battery and an Eddi power diverter to heat my hot water cylinder. Based on my typical pre COVID annual electricity usage of 5,800kWh, the company in question are suggesting it will take just under 10 years for the system to pay for itself. If the battery is excluded, I'm told the price drops to €6,000, and the pay back period increases to 10-12 years.

    Looking at SEAI's website, it appears that a 10 year pay back period is the norm at present.

    Taking all of this on board, my initial thoughts are that if money is not an object, you don't hesitate and get onboard with renewable energy like domestic solar PV. However, for the average household (including myself) in this country, does a pay back period of roughly 10 years make sense? Taking the estate (constructed in 1997) that I live in as an example there are only 2 or 3 houses out of a total of 90 that have solar PV installed, and anecdotally looking further afield, it appears that apart from new houses, there is a very low uptake of solar PV - this would suggest it doesn't yet make financial sense.

    The company that quoted me are of the view that SEAI will stop providing grants in the next few months once homes start getting paid for the unused solar energy that they export to the grid. Do you guys agree? I would have thought if the government are really serious about decarbonisation, they need to keep grants in place at the very least and also considering increasing them.

    Interested to hear peoples thoughts on all of this in general and as to whether domestic solar PV is currently "eco bling" for the wealthy, is a 10 year payback reasonable, and whats the likelihood of costs reducing?

    Thanks!

    If you are serious about going green , then get a few more quotes and go for it. Ditch all the fancy stuff as repeated here already. Cheaper options than the eddi. If someone is home during the day then ditch the batteries also. Depreciation on these is fairly high. Invest in an ev eventually, (big outlay). They really need to encourage change in buying ev,s. I went green about 14 years ago and ver happy that i did. No grants back then and planning permission had to be paid for also. I would love to invest in an ev now, but but dont like pcp.
    Go for it and enjoy it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 732 ✭✭✭ PGL


    KCross wrote: »
    Ditch the hybrid inverter for a standard 5kW+ one.

    For my ignorance what is the difference between hybrid and standard inverters, and does anyone know why the company may have specified one?

    Edit: The company are proposing two strings because they are proposing adding a few panels on the roof of a single story extension to the rear of the house. Would the need for two strings drive the need for a hybrid inverter?
    KCross wrote: »
    Ditch the battery and the eddi also, they just increase the cost now, and in the future when they need to be replaced, and they will need to be replaced.

    I'm neutral on a battery and would be open to getting one if it makes sense, but I want a power divert to heat my hot water cylinder. Are you suggesting there is no need for a power diverter, or are you saying I should opt for a cheaper power diverter than an Eddi?
    KCross wrote: »
    Get a quote of ~€4500 (after grant) for a 4-5kWp system and then pull the trigger!

    I presume this quote would exclude a battery and power diverter and therefore just the solar panels and a standard inverter?


  • Registered Users Posts: 732 ✭✭✭ PGL


    Alkers wrote: »
    Is there someone going to be home during the day long term?

    I have been working from home for the past 12 months now, while the wife and 3 kids are at school. However in the long term there generally won't be anyone home during the day for the next 15 to 20 years


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,884 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    Patmwgs wrote: »
    Invest in an ev eventually, (big outlay).

    It doesn't have to be a big outlay at all

    You can buy a Nissan Leaf from 2011/2012 from about €3k and you get a €600 subsidy to install a home charge point, which should make it free for a basic install if you pick up a second hand charge point

    This will be an ideal short range second family car, with a lower total cost of ownership than a €500 petrol / diesel banger as the maintenance and fuel costs almost nothing and depreciation is almost non existent as the battery itself will still be worth €1500 even if you write the car off / is end of life

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



  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭ Patmwgs


    PGL wrote: »
    For my ignorance what is the difference between hybrid and standard inverters, and does anyone know why the company may have specified one?

    Edit: The company are proposing two strings because they are proposing adding a few panels on the roof of a single story extension to the rear of the house. Would the need for two strings drive the need for a hybrid inverter?



    I'm neutral on a battery and would be open to getting one if it makes sense, but I want a power divert to heat my hot water cylinder. Are you suggesting there is no need for a power diverter, or are you saying I should opt for a cheaper power diverter than an Eddi?



    I presume this quote would exclude a battery and power diverter and therefore just the solar panels and a standard inverter?
    If you are just using a power diverter for hot water you will get on for a third of the price of an eddie. I would suggest you get a bigger hot water tank also , if you haven't one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭ Patmwgs


    unkel wrote: »
    It doesn't have to be a big outlay at all

    You can buy a Nissan Leaf from 2011/2012 from about €3k and you get a €600 subsidy to install a home charge point, which should make it free for a basic install if you pick up a second hand charge point

    This will be an ideal short range second family car, with a lower total cost of ownership than a €500 petrol / diesel banger as the maintenance and fuel costs almost nothing and depreciation is almost non existent as the battery itself will still be worth €1500 even if you write the car off / is end of life
    Thanks, i will keep looking. At that age of car i would be worried about the battery condition.
    I am lucky in a way as i could charge at night.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,396 ✭✭✭ Alkers


    PGL wrote: »
    I have been working from home for the past 12 months now, while the wife and 3 kids are at school. However in the long term there generally won't be anyone home during the day for the next 15 to 20 years

    This is your single biggest obstacle in terms of payback, you aren't at home to avail of the power generated. FIT will determine the financial viability for you.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭ Patmwgs


    Alkers wrote: »
    This is your single biggest obstacle in terms of payback, you aren't at home to avail of the power generated. FIT will determine the financial viability for you.[/QUOTE
    The original micro generation payment made an enormous difference to my payback. Unfortunately wont be be anywhere as good as it was. You need to self consume as much as possible.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,168 ✭✭✭ Ubbquittious


    Patmwgs wrote: »
    Thanks, i will keep looking. At that age of car i would be worried about the battery condition.
    I am lucky in a way as i could charge at night.


    When you start taking a gamble on some 10 year old electric car in order to break even you're headed down a slippery slope. Maybe if you're prepared to do your own repair work on it you can make it pay. You have to tax and insure and NCT the thing and this already costs more than what power you'd generate in a year



    I'd be inclined to find a cheaper way of using up the excess power. Come up with some heavy load that you can swithc on remotely if it's sunny or a couple of them

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,081 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    I'd be inclined to find a cheaper way of using up the excess power.

    FIT


  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭ Patmwgs


    When you start taking a gamble on some 10 year old electric car in order to break even you're headed down a slippery slope. Maybe if you're prepared to do your own repair work on it you can make it pay. You have to tax and insure and NCT the thing and this already costs more than what power you'd generate in a year



    I'd be inclined to find a cheaper way of using up the excess power. Come up with some heavy load that you can swithc on remotely if it's sunny or a couple of them

    Its wind i need, which seems to be very plentiful on the donegal coast.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,168 ✭✭✭ Ubbquittious


    Patmwgs wrote: »
    Its wind i need, which seems to be very plentiful on the donegal coast.
    I was looking at a TESUP turbine not so long ago, wonder are they any good


    Lots of people have problems with small turbines though anyone I know who has one has had trouble. Where about in Donegal are you? far inland?

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,081 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Decent wind turbines cost multiple the cost of equivalent solar panels, if this thread is say 14years payback as a example then surely multiple of that for wind payback and that payback would be eliminated if turbine needs to be replaced whereas panels last 20/30yrs


  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭ Patmwgs


    slave1 wrote: »
    Decent wind turbines cost multiple the cost of equivalent solar panels, if this thread is say 14years payback as a example then surely multiple of that for wind payback and that payback would be eliminated if turbine needs to be replaced whereas panels last 20/30yrs

    Up to a month ago my turbine has produced 1151061kwh in 97498 hours and with the 19 cent
    Micro generation scheme it brought payback well down. Self install 6kw on 15m tower. It cancelled out our yearly electric use. We were almost always in credit. You do need to service it every 2 years to keep it running smoothly. The beaty of pv is very little up keep. Lifespan of turbine is quoted for 25years. Its coastal rated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭ Patmwgs


    I was looking at a TESUP turbine not so long ago, wonder are they any good


    Lots of people have problems with small turbines though anyone I know who has one has had trouble. Where about in Donegal are you? far inland?

    I dont know tesup turbine, i will look it up. Alot of small wind turbine are very problematic and if you dont service them yourself it will be costly. South donegalabout 3 kms inland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,213 ✭✭✭✭ KCross


    PGL wrote: »
    For my ignorance what is the difference between hybrid and standard inverters, and does anyone know why the company may have specified one?

    Hybrid is required for batteries. Significantly increases the cost of the inverter to get a hybrid. Some might say get hybrid to future proof for batteries but thats just mad, imo, the grid is your battery... FiT is where its at.

    If you decide to go battery later you can always sell your standard one and get hybrid in after. No sense to do it up front with FiT on the way.

    PGL wrote: »
    Edit: The company are proposing two strings because they are proposing adding a few panels on the roof of a single story extension to the rear of the house. Would the need for two strings drive the need for a hybrid inverter?

    As above, standard inverters will support dual string also.
    PGL wrote: »
    I'm neutral on a battery and would be open to getting one if it makes sense, but I want a power divert to heat my hot water cylinder. Are you suggesting there is no need for a power diverter, or are you saying I should opt for a cheaper power diverter than an Eddi?

    I'm saying if you want to reduce the time for your ROI then get a simpler system that will be cheaper to buy and maintain/replace and then maximise self-consumption. The replacement costs on the battery and hybrid inverter after 10-15 years will be significant in terms fo payback/ROI.

    If you can get a cheper diverter then by all means get that but just bear in mind that the diverter will take a long time to pay for itself unless you are currently heating your water by immersion or some other expensive method.

    If you already have cheap hot water (e.g. heat pump on night rate) the diverter would literally never pay for itself so dont assume that its a good investment. Do the math.

    Finally, with FiT on the way you would need to consider would you be better off getting the FiT payment or dumping the excess into a diverter. The FiT payment is likely to be a better option since there is no capital outlay on that... you just export and get paid. The diverter you have to buy/maintain/replace.

    PGL wrote: »
    I presume this quote would exclude a battery and power diverter and therefore just the solar panels and a standard inverter?

    Yes.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,178 ✭✭✭✭ DrPhilG


    PGL wrote: »
    To date, I have only received one quote (won't name the company) of €8,600 including VAT and inclusive of the grant for a 4.125kWp system (11 x 375W panels) with a dual string hybrid inverter, 1 x 2.4kWh battery and an Eddi power diverter

    If the battery is excluded, I'm told the price drops to €6,000

    Have you a breakdown of that quote?

    I'm not sure how he's dropping the price by €2,600 by removing a battery that (minus grant) should be costing you no more than €5-600 unless I'm missing something?

    You didn't specify, but maybe on the no battery option he's changing the hybrid for a standard inverter which would be another maybe €6-700 difference.

    I'd be very keen to see the breakdowns if you have them.

    Either way it's too expensive. I paid a lot less than your higher price for a lot more kit. 6.2kwp with 5kw hybrid, 2.4kWh storage and a new Zappi 2 charger (replacing an older install in fairness).


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