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We need FAQ

  • 07-01-2022 11:31am
    Registered Users Posts: 793 ✭✭✭


    I think it is time to setup FAQ, make it sticky and just keep updating with new info but without all the extra noise. We have a lot of good info all over the place and since search in boards is $hite that information is lost in the ether. As more and more people getting PVs installed, we are getting new members. All new starters have or will have questions and usually they are the same. I started seeing same questions being asked multiple times and eventually it gets draining to answer same all over again but yje questions are still valid and should be answered. We should not push newcomers away.

    Your thoughts...


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,120 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    I agree. Maybe we can use this thread to come up with the FAQ content and then once Mods are sorted, they can sticky.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,467 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Like the spreadsheet, you probably want a google docs/onedrive location which you can update on the fly and then point people to the location. A sticky thread is still a good idea, but as new information comes in/changes, it would be easier to have a link for it (in the sticky thread) like we do with the performance analysis

    Different main sections:- (below is a non-exhaustive list as a suggestion)

    • Getting started (what's an inverter? .... etc)
    • Sizing your system/expected savings/payback
    • How much should I pay? Quotes in general
    • Automation ideas

    Etc. I guess I can slap one up there in my google drive if nobody else wants to.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,120 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    When new Mods are appointed, updating the FAQ won't be an issue. I think it should be on the forum rather than linked externally.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,467 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Agreed - if that (active mods) are assigned. If not.....

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,554 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Pawwed rig is working on them.

    A few slaps more for them to comply with the request is probably needed 😂

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  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,120 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    Getting back this again. SEAI have a decent enough FAQ here which we should link to at the outset.

    Rather than reinventing the wheel, I think we should focus our FAQ on topics that the SEAI FAQs doesn't cover in enough detail;

    • Pricing formula (€1,000/1kWp etc).
    • Payback/savings etc
    • Battery stuff (DC vs AC Coupled batteries, Hybrid vs Storage inverters, C rates etc)
    • Expected annual generation (PV GIS etc)
    • Optional extras (Eddi/iBoost/Zappi etc)
    • Feed in Tariffs/Optimising for self-consumption

    Please add other questions below.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,120 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    Any interest in this?

  • Registered Users Posts: 793 ✭✭✭reklamos

    Sorry I missed this.

    I would also add a section for inverter settings/configuration maybe just links to the actual posts that describe it in detail.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,731 ✭✭✭yankinlk

    I started writing one up - but then i didnt want to step on the new mods toes. could we just pin one up - and build on it? work in progress sort of thing...

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,228 ✭✭✭✭DrPhilG

    Feel free to share what you have and we'll refine, add, build etc.

    Saving me effort isn't stepping on toes, don't worry!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,731 ✭✭✭yankinlk

    Ok so my approach was - if someone was just coming here - what would they need to know?

    This was aowkr in pogress on Googe Drive - its not complete obviously.

    ........................................... Feel Free to CUT - REORDER - EDIT - ADD. -------------------------------------

    I want Solar PV! Where the heck do I start??

    Step #1 - Do not install Solar PV before FIRST trying to reduce your Electricity Biils.

    • Can you reduce consumption by turning off lights or devices?
    • What is your electricity Plan - have you tried switching? is a good place to start. Shopping around can save a LOT money and is free.
    • Install A-Rated appliances or LED bulbs etc to help reduce your base load.

    Step #2 - Done that.  Now should I install Solar PV?

    • What is your annual consumption of electricity? Are you above or below the national average? (Irish average = 4,200 kW)
    • Can you make hay when the sun shines? Can you consume the electricity you create during the daytime? Or do you leave home early and arrive back in the evening? Priority of any system should be for self-consumption - using it during daytime especially during the brighter months (April - September)
    • Are you using electricity for cooking? Lawn mowing? Electric Shower? Heating systems? The more you are using should be reflected in your annual consumption. 

    Step #3 - But how much will it cost?

    • It Depends. There are many factors - but you can start by asking for a quote from a supplier.  They should ask you for your address and your annual consumption - and ideally design a suitable system based on your roof size and orientation.
    • Once you have a quote - you can post it here to have it evaluated.
    • What have others built and how is it working out? Look at this Spreadsheet from boardsies. There are tabs for install details and monthly performance.

    Should I Build or Buy a PV system and what about SaaS? 

    • Are you great at DIY?  Can you access your roof safely?  Would you project manage this yourself and source all the parts?  DIY is a very viable option - a lot of advice available here.
    • Do you prefer to pay for a qualified SEAI installer to handle everything? GO back to step 2 - gather all your requirements and look for (at least) 3 quotes. 
    • What is Solar as a Service? For a smaller system the Solar as a Service option can be very hard to beat.

    Should I get an EDDI?


    Should I install Optimisers?  Essentially these are used to optimize the performance of each of your panels. They can help if there is partial shading or if one panel is performing poorly compared to the others. Without them if there is shading on one panel - all panels may be affected and output reduced. Normally your solar provider will give you their advice during the survey phase for your unique roof and panel design. 

    Should I buy a battery with my Solar Panels? Look at this thread for info on buying a Battery AND building a DIY battery.

    What is the difference between Solar PV and Solar Thermo and Solar Tubes??


    Does my Site Location make a difference?

    Can I get paid for the electricity I generate and sell it back to the grid?

    The short answer is No - for Domestic customers - there is nothing in place yet to pay people for their excess solar that goes back to the grid. For now, the goal is only to build a system that can generate enough energy for you to self-consume on site that energy. In future it remains to be seen if there will be a fair rate to consumers - so don't oversize that system hoping you will make a fortune! Keep an eye out in the forums for any mention of FIT, CEP or MSS - when it finally gets announced and goes LIVE you will definitely hear about it in these forums! 

    • What is the FIT? Feed In Tariff
    • What is the CEP? Clean Export Guarantee
    • What is the MSS?  Micro Generation Support Scheme

    • What is a Smart Meter?
    • Smart Meters are the newest digital meters that allow providers to be very granular with measuring energy used (and given back to the grid) by customers. They are being rolled out slowly across all of Ireland.
    • Here is a thread discussing Smart Meters and Tariffs - beware these meters are not YET any cheaper for the consumer - at some point they may be required to receive a FIT payment for excess solar - but most people are avoiding them where possible until Smart Tariffs improve.
    • What is a Day/Night (DN) meter?
    • Day/Night meters are digital and newer than 24H meters and allow energy providers to offer a Day and Night Rate. A valid strategy to reduce your energy bills is to shift as much usage to Night Rate Tariffs as possible.  Night rate kicks in after 11PM and ends at 8AM. It can be up to 4 times cheaper. Many of the solar PV users claim to be benefiting from Day/Night meters.
    • What is a 24 Hour Meter (24H)? 
    • Many older house still have an old analog style meter that “spins” a dial and only measures total KW units per day.  These are target to be replaced by newer Smart Meters.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,120 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    This is great @yankinlk. Thank you. Will spend some time later adding/expanding on this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,467 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    I think the best way in writing up the FAQ is to do it with a shared Google docs/Onedrive file. Then people can contribute to it for the next 2-3 weeks, safe in the knowledge that they are always working on the latest version. Then once it's "settled down" to a semi-finished article create the FAQ sticky and copy all the text into that.

    The google docs wouldn't be the final home, just used in the initial drafting. It's much easier to write and article (outside) of boards than it is in the editor here.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,120 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    That's great idea. Would you mind obliging again (seeing as your first google sheets is such a success)?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,467 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Sure thing mate. I'll sort that out later on this evening. Might even add my tuppence in there too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,731 ✭✭✭yankinlk

    I agree. I thought about sharing the one i started - but was waiting to see what the admins did.

    The thing I didnt have time to add - is KEY POSTS. The site does not make this easy - but i was hoping people would recall their own posts and link them - or other posts they got a lot out of and linked them. Maybe a summary of the post in the faq- with a link to the original. That way things like screenshots would nto fill up the FAQ.

    Just a suggestion

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,467 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    I meant to do this the other day - but you know, life an all.

    I started to play around and write some articles. I'm sure others can chip in.

    Off for a weeks holliers (skiing) so won't be adding much in here myself over the next wee while.

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 5,892 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,467 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

  • Registered Users Posts: 426 ✭✭mrm

    Noobie questions I wouldn't mind answers to within a FAQ thread are:

    Relationship of inverter size to array size

    Purpose of optimisers (include link to video posted by Deagol)

    Array strings description/ max size of string to inverter/ inverter capacity per string (if on different aspects)

    Battery size and load shifting with night rate

    Refitting post grant receipt

    Battery discharge rate

    Potential auxiliary socket from the battery/ inverter for blackouts

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,599 ✭✭✭THE ALM

    Thanks for the work on this and enjoy the skiing, nice.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,120 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    Just spent a few mins there updating @bullit_dodger's sheet. Bumping this for visiblity. If everyone took a few mins to do same we will have a very comprehensive FAQ in no time! Cheers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,599 ✭✭✭THE ALM

    Done, think we are getting to the point where the basics are covered. Trying to look through the threads to see what the common questions that are asked and have these answered.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,731 ✭✭✭yankinlk

    Agreed. This is one of the hardest parts (becasue of the way boards is setup now - and the terribad search.) I think we should publish what we have soon - and add/fix/review as we go