10kw-solar

Solar Energy Self Consumption

I recently moved into a house that was consuming 85 kWh a day through winter. Ouch. I’m working to reduce it but realistically dropping it below half of that might be hard. Philosophically and economically irrationally I want my home to be a net zero consumer of electricity. If I can’t achieve this on a daily or weekly basis then I’ll settle for an annual basis.

Our peak loads will most certainly be in winter when solar irradiation is at it’s minimum, this is our constraint. I installed 10kW of panels and a 10kW inverter to start with. I might over panel it in future.

Thinking about all of the above, and granted storage is rapidly becoming more feasible, maximising self consumption of power from residential solar is going to play an important role in minimising the use of fossil fuel generated electricity.

This blog post is my experience of figuring out how to do this.

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sunseeker1

Sun Path and Shading

The apps listed below let you track the path of the sun on any day of the year from any location. This allows you to understand how much sun will hit your building and assess the effects of shading from neighbouring buildings or trees.

  • Sun Seeker – Augmented reality 3D sun path app for iPhone / iPad
  • Sun Surveyor – Augmented reality 3D sun path app for Apple and Android
  • SunCalc – Google Maps sun path overlay
TIndo-Solar-Panel

PV Solar Power

Photovoltaic solar panels where ever possible should form part of any green renovation.

What size installation?

  • Residential roof mounted photovoltaic systems typically start at 1.5kW and range up to 5kW
  • Ideally you would install a system which had an average annual production the same as your power consumption.
  • The ATA have created Sunulator, a spreadsheet tool allowing you to model the financial effect of different size solar systems. The tool includes the ability to import historical usage data from your energy provider and makes allowance for various electricity providers pricing tariffs.
  • Before deciding to install larger arrays, consider how much the equivalent spend would allow you to reduce your consumption by? For example installation of solar hot water, energy efficient lighting, draft sealing, thermal curtains, solar air heaters.

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