Solar panel performance – 2016 and 2017

Forgive me reader, it’s been over two years since I last blogged the annual performance of my solar panel.

Solar panel update 11/1/18

A photo this time rather than a screen shot as since I upgraded my computer I have been unable to re-download the software that would allow me to connect my new computer to the controller. This is rather annoying because I paid extra for the computer control facility.

Rather suspiciously, the controller reports almost identical kWh outputs for the last two years, although that is lower than the previous three.

I will estimate it as 2,700 kWh per year. Nottingham Energy Partnership have an Energy Costs Comparison table. I neglected to look at it last year, so will have to use the data from last month now to estimate the financial value of the heat we got from the sun. I use the gas rate of 4.6p/kWh, since if the water were not heated by the solar panel, it would be heated by gas.

That means the solar panel gathered around £124 of energy in each of 2016 and 2017.

The running total to the end of 2016 is therefore £1,508 and at the end of 2017, £1,632.

September will see the eleventh year of operation. When it was installed, we needed to put in a new hot water tank which was bigger than the old one, so the installers had to demolish my airing cupboard to fit it in. In the eleven years since, I have yet to sort it out.

There are all sorts of flawed assumptions being made to come to that figure, so take it with a fairly large pinch of salt.

If you are considering a solar panel of your own, whether for hot water or to generate electricity, and you live vaguely near Nottingham, do please get in touch with Sungain at Nottingham Energy Partnership, who would be delighted to let you know what to do next. You can also follow them on Twitter, and they also have a very helpful service on their website that lets you compare your electricity and gas tariffs and see if you can save money.

Buckets more information about my own solar panel under this link.

And a declaration of interest: I’m on the board at Nottingham Energy Partnership, where they very kindly describe me as an “energy expert.”

Solar panel performance – 2013

Another year, another desperately late solar panel performance post. It’s been sitting on my to-do list since January 2nd, but at least writing this will let me tick off something today.

solar 2013

2013 has an ever so slight edge on 2012 so we’ll estimate the kWh as 3,800. Sadly once the year is over the more detailed records are not accessible through the controller app.

Nottingham Energy Partnership have an Energy Costs Comparison table. I neglected to look at it last year, so will have to use the data from last month now to estimate the financial value of the heat we got from the sun. I use the gas rate of 4.19p/kWh, since if the water were not heated by the solar panel, it would be heated by gas. Interestingly this is the lowest price for gas since 2009, according to my records.

That means the solar panel gathered around £159 of energy last year.

The running total to the end of 2013 is therefore £990 and will clearly top a thousand pounds next year.

There are all sorts of flawed assumptions being made to come to that figure, so take it with a fairly large pinch of salt.

If you are considering a solar panel of your own, whether for hot water or to generate electricity, and you live vaguely near Nottingham, do please get in touch with Sungain at Nottingham Energy Partnership, who would be delighted to let you know what to do next. You can also follow them on Twitter, and they also have a very helpful service on their website that lets you compare your electricity and gas tariffs and see if you can save money.

Buckets more information about my own solar panel under this link.

And a declaration of interest: I’m on the board at Nottingham Energy Partnership, where they very kindly describe me as an “energy expert.”

Solar panel performance – 2012

Another year, another desperately late solar panel performance post. It’s been sitting on my to-do list since January 2nd, but at least writing this will let me tick off something today.

solar 2012

So last year continued a downward trend that looks like it will be over by the end of 2013. At this stage in the year, the graph is the only source of information still recorded so we’ll have to guesstimate the heat output as 3666kWh.

Nottingham Energy Partnership have an Energy Costs Comparison table. I neglected to look at it last year, so will have to use the data from last month now to estimate the financial value of the heat we got from the sun. I use the gas rate of 5.06p/kWh, since if the water were not heated by the solar panel, it would be heated by gas. Interestingly this appears to be a lower cost than last year’s gas cost.

That means the solar panel gathered around £185.50 of energy last year.

The running total to the end of 2012 is therefore £831.06.

There are all sorts of flawed assumptions being made to come to that figure, so take it with a fairly large pinch of salt.

This year I have had my annual half-hearted attempt to work out if it’s possible to do more comprehensive data logging using the equipment I have. I did pay extra for the ethernet connection with the idea of putting some sort of graph on my website to show how the system is doing in real time. I’m super jealous of this guy who has done exactly that with the same setup as me. And as a favour to everyone else he has made public the code to do it. And I don’t have a clue what any of it means or how to use it!

If you are considering a solar panel of your own, whether for hot water or to generate electricity, and you live vaguely near Nottingham, do please get in touch with Sungain at Nottingham Energy Partnership, who would be delighted to let you know what to do next. You can also follow them on Twitter, and they also have a very helpful service on their website that lets you compare your electricity and gas tariffs and see if you can save money.

Buckets more information about my own solar panel under this link.

And a declaration of interest: I’m on the board at Nottingham Energy Partnership, where they very kindly describe me as an “energy expert.”

Solar panel performance – 2011

Another year, another desperately late solar panel performance post. It’s been sitting on my to-do list since January 2nd, but at least writing this will let me tick off something today.

Solar panel annual graph

So last year was a little under the year before. At this stage in the year, the graph is the only source of information still recorded so we’ll have to guesstimate the heat output as 3700.

Nottingham Energy Partnership have an Energy Costs Comparison table. I neglected to look at it last year, so will have to use the data from last month now to estimate the financial value of the heat we got from the sun. At 5.24 pence per kWh, the value adds up to £193.88

The running total to the end of 2011 is therefore £645.56.

There are all sorts of flawed assumptions being made to come to that figure, so take it with a fairly large pinch of salt.

This year I have had my annual half-hearted attempt to work out if it’s possible to do more comprehensive data logging using the equipment I have. I did pay extra for the ethernet connection with the idea of putting some sort of graph on my website to show how the system is doing in real time. I’m super jealous of this guy who has done exactly that with the same setup as me. And as a favour to everyone else he has made public the code to do it. And I don’t have a clue what any of it means or how to use it!

If you are considering a solar panel of your own, whether for hot water or to generate electricity, and you live vaguely near Nottingham, do please get in touch with Sungain at Nottingham Energy Partnership, who would be delighted to let you know what to do next. You can also follow them on Twitter, and they also have a very helpful service on their website that lets you compare your electricity and gas tariffs and see if you can save money.

Buckets more information about my own solar panel under this link.

And a declaration of interest: I’m on the board at Nottingham Energy Partnership, where they very kindly describe me as an “energy expert.”

Solar panel performance – 2010

It’s a bit rum writing a post about this so many months into 2011, but it is supposed to be an annual thing, after all!

Solar panel performance 2010

As the yearly data graph shows, despite feeling a little disappointing, last summer, or at least the year as a whole, provided more hot water through my solar evacuated tubes than any previous since the installation was put in.

3,999 kWh of heat is just ever so slightly frustrating. An extra hour of sunshine on Dec 31st and we might have had 4,000…

Nottingham Energy Partnership have an Energy Costs Comparison table. I neglected to look at it last year, so will have to use the data from last month now to estimate the financial value of the heat we got from the sun. At 4.40 pence per kWh, the value adds up to £175.96.

The running total to the end of 2010 is therefore £451.68.

There are all sorts of flawed assumptions being made to come to that figure, so take it with a fairly large pinch of salt.

But if you are considering a solar panel of your own, whether for hot water or to generate electricity, and you live vaguely near Nottingham, do please get in touch with Sungain at Nottingham Energy Partnership, who would be delighted to let you know what to do next. You can also follow them on Twitter, and they also have a very helpful service on their website that lets you compare your electricity and gas tariffs and see if you can save money.

Buckets more information about my own solar panel under this link.

And a declaration of interest: I’m on the board at Nottingham Energy Partnership, where they very kindly describe me as an “energy expert.”

Is it worth getting a solar panel?

A recent commenter asked this on an old post about installing my solar panel, and I spent a few minutes writing an answer. Rather than keep it buried in a comments thread on a post from years ago, I thought I would copy it here again.

Alison – my most recent solar post is here.

My solar panel generates around £150-worth a year of heat, and so will probably take around 30 years to pay for itself.

New deals are now available that make photovoltaic solar panels, which generate electricity, a more financially viable option.

Whether solar hot water is right for you depends on several factors, including planning to be living in your house for several decades, having a roof that points in the right direction (south!), and having the right kind of boiler – not a condensing boiler that provides hot water on demand, but a system that includes a hot water tank.

The Coalition government is preparing a Green New Deal that will provide advice and finance for greening your house, so it might be worth waiting until the details of that become clearer before making any decisions.

If you live in Notts or Derbyshire and you’d like to talk to someone about solar hot water, get someone to look over your house and check suitability, and get referrals to local people who can install them, give Sungain / Notts Energy Partnership a call on 0115 985 9057.

Solar panel report – 09

I think I neglected my planned annual New Year’s post about my solar panel performance. ((I say annual, I think I’ve only managed it twice before.))

For much of the last year, I’ve not been able to get screenshots off the computer gizmo that duplicates the controller in the airing cupboard.

Turns out, once the room was tidied up a bit and I could track the cables back, that the Cat 5 cable that comes out of the airing cupboard to the nerve centre had just dropped out of the back of the router.

solar-100823

But from the graph I can pull now, it looks like we got the best part of of 3,600 kWh in both 2008 and 2009.

And the good news seems to be that we’ve already had as much sun by mid-August than we had in the whole of the last two years.

August has been pretty crummy this year – or at least, has matched torrential downpours with short sharp bursts of sun. (Which makes getting the leaflets out fun)

But we did have some really good weeks in May and June that seemed to have a made an impact on the bottom line on the solar front.

And 3,600 kWh worth of gas would have been another £140 or so, if I’m doing the multiplication correctly based on Nottingham Energy Partnership’s energy cost comparison table.

Other posts about my solar panel:

Solar Panel performance 08

I nearly forgot to report back with the first full year’s worth of performance from the array of solar evacuated tubes on the roof that feed our hotwater system.

Fortunately the basic datalogger I have access to still gives the basic ’08 readout, and it tells me the system ran for approx 1100 hours during the year and generated a staggering 3498 kWh.

Annual solar output

Nottingham Energy Partnership’s comparison cost table suggests that might have cost me around £100-£150 if I’d had to pay for it in gas.

Although I didn’t watch the system too carefully throughout the year, I don’t think there was a single day on which all our hot water came from the sun.

It was an unusual year with a pretty lousy summer and the highest energy costs for gas and electricity we’ve ever seen, so there’s maybe chance for a better financial return in future. But at this rate, my payback period is 28-42 years.

It’s still one of the better gadgets I own, and second in cost only to my car. I like the readout that always tells me exactly how hot my hot water is – I know that for a good long hot shower I need the tank to be over 60deg, and I can check before going in if necessary.

Other posts about my solar panel:

New high for solar panel

Today’s weather has not been great, with a maximum temperature of about 11 degrees. There has also been a very brief period of snowy sludgy noisy rain that made a huge racket on the conservatory roof.

There has, however, been lots and lots of sun. And bright sunlight, whatever the air temperature, means good performance for the solar panel.

Today’s new high – I believe – takes the solar collector up to 47 degrees, edging closer and closer to the 70/80 degrees I would need to get a full tank of hot water at the right temperature.

Here’s a screenshot of the controller:

Solar controller

Solar panel performance 07

Rather impressed to hear the solar panel working today, New Year’s Eve, on a grey, overcast day with no hint of sun.  It ran for less than an hour so if I hadn’t heard it, it wouldn’t have been recorded in the stats.

Since it started working in September, its mini-computer calculates that it has generated 385kW of heat for the hot water tank.

Using Nottingham Energy Partnership‘s energy ready reckoner, that’s about  £10.72 worth of gas.  We will have to see how well it performs when confronted with an actual summer.