If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

PV and/or solar water on part-time occupied house

  • 19-11-2021 9:11pm
    Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,980 Mod ✭✭✭✭

    I'm about to buy / take ownership of a family holiday home that is currently unused, but which I intend to use fairly often. It has a decent amount of south facing roof, which I'm hoping to put skylights through to provide some warmth and light to the house (its slightly dug in to a hill! back windows bring little light), but this would still leave a lot of space for solar of either kind. Bungalow with an extension so probably has 3x the roof area of a modern semi D.

    I don't think PV makes financial sense for the time I'd use it with no or low FIT - but clearly worth investigating if there is a decent FIT

    Is it safe to have solar water heating mostly unused water? 60 days a year would be an optimistic estimate of how often it'll be used, really; and some of those will be around Christmas with minimal benefit. Mid week in peak Summer it will frequently be unusued.

    House is Really Quite Old but has late 1990s wiring and a new mid 00s roof (timbers included), there are not many quick wins energy wise left as it has a condensing boiler, double glazing and attic insulation

    I'd estimate daytime energy use when unoccupied to be well under 1kW - fridge/freezer not being opened, router and some IoT kit.


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 7,919 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    I have both Solar PV and Thermal on my house.

    Installing Solar Thermal is an option, but I think the low occupancy rate will be a problem. You need to avoid the gylcol (fluid which is pumped around) stagnating (overheating and decaying). You can avoid this by either installing a dedicated heat dump radiator, or wire the thermal controller into the heating system to dump surplus heat from the cylinder using the existing radiators (a bit more tricky if the system is zoned).

    To be honest, I'd just install PV. It will cover the water and daytime load when you aren't around. FIT (whenever it arrives) will pay a few cents towards the night time electricity bills too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭MAULBROOK

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    +1 for the solar PV, less chance of something going wrong while you're away. Use the FIT to pay for the electricity you use while there

    Might be best to not bother with a battery of its going to be sitting around for a long time unused

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭MAULBROOK

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    True, but it could be sitting for a long time without being used so you'd want to be careful about maintaining its charge level

    If I remember correctly, lifepo cells should be charged to 50% if they're going to be unused for a long time

    Seems like a lot of hassle for not much return initially. Maybe best to do panels first and then battery?

    Alternatively, if you had something modular like a pylontech you could just bring them home with you after the holiday

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    I was thinking there and one idea that might work would be using an electric heater as a PV diverter

    You'd generally want to ensure the house doesn't get too cold in winter when it's unoccupied to avoid problems with damp or mould

    You could have some PV panels and a couple of electric heaters hooked up to a diverter and on a medium setting to give the house a bit of warmth during the winter months when there's a bit of sun during the day

    I know that an Eddi can vary the amount of power going to an immersion heater so it isn't using more than the PV is providing. I wonder would it work as well for a heater

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,133 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    Heater will need resistive element