Solar Panal info req for domestic use

I am trying to amass some information re solar panals for a domestic
dwelling .. pros and cons etc ... any web sites ? .... plz
Mike P
Mike P
Reply to
Mike P
On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 09:16:50 +0000 someone who may be Mike P wrote this:-
1) You need to decide whether the panel will produce hot water or electricity.
2) Hot water is the better one to go for first, from all viewpoints I can think of.
3) There is a lot to be said for a DIY installation.
has a lot of information.
Reply to
David Hansen
In article , David Hansen writes:
Hot water system which is DIY installed is the only thing at the moment which is even remotely viable.
I think the next area where things might become viable are incorporation of such technologies at build time when the technology gets to the stage where it can be installed by the same limited skilled labour which is already on the building site without any significant extra effort. At the moment, the cost of specialist installers render the payback longer than the life of most systems, even if the parts themselves were free.
Photovoltaics start from the disadvantage of being horribly inefficient, and there's a bit of a world shortage of the pure silicon needed (not to mention that manufacturing it is expensive in energy use). They also stop working as they heat up, and due to their poor efficiency, most of the energy they collect goes into heating them up. Altogether a poor solution which is crying out for a technological advance which instantly makes the current technology obsolete, but has eluded scientists for decades so far.
Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
For domestic use, if you're talking about photovoltaic, it may be worth holding off for some (undefined, long) time. Since we seem to be on the edge of the rollout of new technology for solar PV.
At present the cells are made by slicing silicon crystals into wafers, doing some technical jiggery-pokery then mounting slices of the wafer into a PV array. It's an expensive process and because the silicon is fragile subject to a highish failure rate in the factory.
A couple of companies are claiming to have made progress in depositing silicon onto a glass substrate in a new (cheaper) process. The forecasts have been made by the companies that they coudl reduce costs to about 1% of current costs. I suspect that would mean a fall to about 10% of current costs for consumers.
If it's true and not just vapourware this could be a bad time to be buying the current hideously expensive cells.
Reply to
Steve Firth
.. and you are absolutely right.
Probably the reverse because it's adding some complexity and maintenance uncertainty that some buyers may be unwilling to take. I would suggest you arrange an opinion from an estate agent. I suspect that at best, they will say it's neutral, and are more likely to say that it's a liability.
Assuming that he does his downsizing in the next 5-10 years, he's not going to see a saving in energy cost that will go anywhere near to covering the installation.
Normally I would say 'caveat emptor', but here I have to say that this is nothing short of exploitation of the elderly, and it disgusts me. The amount gives the rest of the clue. The salesperson knows full well that there is no way in hell, even if the gentleman lives to be the age of a WW1 veteran, that he will ever realise a return on his "investment".
Can you get your partner to convince him, if he won't listen to you?

Reply to
Andy Hall
My father was 81 when he was sold his, similarly priced system, the firm have recently been fined for mis selling. In his 3 remaining years I'm convinced he never saw any savings simply because he left his gas dhw system configured as before. After his death I went to the house prior to its sale and it did produce hot water but as his demand for dhw would have been less than 100 quids worth in a year it could never pay him.
The new owners saw it as a novelty but there's no way it added to the house value.
AJH
Reply to
AJH
On 26 Jan 2008 17:02:39 GMT someone who may be this:-
If one measures viability only in terms of simple payback period.
Of course if one does this then there are many things one shouldn't install as they have infinite simple payback periods. A new television or kitchen are examples.
Reply to
David Hansen
On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 11:48:14 -0000 someone who may be "Pete Smith" wrote this:-
What is too cold? The exterior temperature? Solar panels work on the sun, not the external temperature.
In the winter it is highly likely not to be sunny enough to produce all the hot water one needs. However, the heating that is provided means less other fuels are needed.
On a bright winter day a well insulated house which has been warmed up by the boiler can be maintained at a reasonable temperature by a solar panel for the daylight hours. This does involve a heating system designed for this.
Any properly designed solar system will have at least one thermostatic mixing valve on the hot water system.
Should it be necessary to control the store temperature there are a variety of ways of doing this.
That rather depends on the system. You have described a solar only island system. However, such systems generally have other means of charging the battery as well. They also practice energy efficiency and so tend to avoid electric fires.
A grid tied system has no battery. In effect it uses the grid as a big battery.
Reply to
David Hansen
On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 21:40:11 +0000 someone who may be Mike P wrote this:-
I think you are right. Unless there is a particular complexity, such as east/west orientation, it is a lot. Solartwin are advertising installation from £1500 less.
I think this is the wrong reason to install such a system.
Reply to
David Hansen
On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 22:45:10 +0000 someone who may be AJH wrote this:-
Changing the settings on other water heating systems is part of the installation process of anybody who knows what they are doing.
Reply to
David Hansen
this:- >
Televisions and kitchens are not sold on the basis of a payback period. Solar panels, to a great extent are.
Therefore to make a comparison is not valid in the way that you have done.
Why does somebody buy a television? Generally because they like to watch the programs on it - perhaps it makes them feel good.
Why do they buy a kitchen? Partly functionality and partly because the look pleases them and makes them feel good.
If you were to say that some people might like to have a solar panel because the appearance pleases them, then fair enough. Perhaps there's a market for dummy ones at a tenth of the price of a real one that would satisfy that market.
If you were to say that some people might like to buy a solar panel in order to feel good that they ar "doing their bit for the environment" then also fair enough. They might want to research a bit further and learn that it doesn't actually achieve very much, but if the feel good factor is there then why not? The small number is not going to have any significant impact one way or the other.
I'm expecting to see the Chinese introducing little house windmills to the market really soon now. These will be light in weight and cheap to manufacture (and resource friendly) and have a little motor inside to drive the blades round when there is little or no wind; will run from a highly efficient switched mode wall wart. People should feel good about these as well and they'll be every bit as effective as the "real thing".
Reply to
Andy Hall
On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 09:56:47 +0000, David Hansen head down on the keyboard, banged out this message:
.. xxOn Sat, 26 Jan 2008 21:40:11 +0000 someone who may be Mike P .. xx wrote this:- .. xx .. xx>I am asking on behalf of my partners father ..... who is 80 years old .. xx>and has just put a down payment on a £5000 system for hot water. .. xx>I am not convinced it is a good idea. .. xx .. xxI think you are right. Unless there is a particular complexity, such .. xxas east/west orientation, it is a lot. Solartwin are advertising .. xxinstallation from £1500 less. .. xx .. xx>He is convinced it will put value on his house when he sells up to .. xx>downsize. .. xx .. xxI think this is the wrong reason to install such a system.
It now appears that there was no "cooling off" period on his paperwork (deposit he gave was £1000) and there appears to be no web site for the company ... Solar Image based in Berverley I believe.
My partner is going on Monday to see the paperwork and see if we can make head or tail of it all. It might be all bonafide, but the no cooling period off is worrying and he alledgedly was told it does not need sunlight and it will use antifreeze, not water. The mind boggles!
Mike P
Reply to
Mike P
In message , Mike P writes
antifreeze in the water that circulates through the outdoor solar collectors is sensible.
Reply to
Si
Really?
Do tell.
You mean that they are sold as roof decorations?
If it's not feel good or look good and isn't payback, it doesn't really leave a lot, does it?
Reply to
Andy Hall
On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 11:10:38 +0000, Si head down on the keyboard, banged out this message:
.. xxIn message , Mike P .. xx writes .. xx>he alledgedly was told it does not need sunlight and it will use .. xx>antifreeze, not water. .. xx .. xxantifreeze in the water that circulates through the outdoor solar .. xxcollectors is sensible.
Obviously .... too me and many others, but maybe not to an 80 year old.
If that is what he was told, I wonder what other gems he was fed. The irony is that he can get a grant for all this if he really wants it.
Mike P
Reply to
Mike P
On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 11:17:10 +0000, Andy Hall head down on the keyboard, banged out this message:
.. xx> .. xx> It now appears that there was no "cooling off" period on his paperwork .. xx> (deposit he gave was £1000) and there appears to be no web site for .. xx> the company ... Solar Image based in Berverley I believe. .. xx .. xxHe paid by cash or cheque? .. xx .. xx> .. xx> My partner is going on Monday to see the paperwork and see if we can .. xx> make head or tail of it all. .. xx> It might be all bonafide, but the no cooling period off is worrying .. xx> and he alledgedly was told it does not need sunlight and it will use .. xx> antifreeze, not water. The mind boggles! .. xx> .. xx .. xxThat bit's almost right... .. xx
Deposit paid with a M&S Credit card.
Mike P
Reply to
Mike P
I know but the installers didn't do it because the basic operation was a hard sell with a grant kickback for the installers.
The net effect was it was only while we had the opportunity to talk in hospital in the weeks prior to his death ( whilst we socialised in his later life he distanced himself from his kids and didn't confide in us) that he said he had monitored his gas use and couldn't see the solar contribution. A visit back to the house, which still had two lodgers, so showed the reason was simply that the dhw timer was still topping the tank up at 23:00 after most washing activity was finished, and then in the morning the gas came on at 6:00 at about the time the lodgers were getting ready for work and stayed on till 10:00. Hence by the time the panel was able to provide heat from its non optimal SSE orientation the tank was still full of hot water. By late afternoon the panel was shaded when the evening wash period started.
Apart from the price I'm sure it was a reasonable installation if run properly but most punters just expect to turn a tap or push a button and get instant results.
AJH
Reply to
AJH
In message , Mike P writes
He/She needs to enlist the assistance of M&S (or HSBC which appears to operate the card on behalf of M&S) asap and explain the situation.
Reply to
Si

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