[clug] OT: Solar power recommendations and advice

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Mon Apr 19 16:43:18 MDT 2010

Felix Karpfen wrote on 20/04/10 5:54 AM:

>> We have a 2.15KW system (all we could fit on the sunny bit of roof -
>> curse our inconveniently-shaped house) and I'd guess it generates around
>> $200 or so per year (and saves us paying for about $1500 worth of
>> electricity per year). That's a rough guide and your wattage may vary
>> :-)
> I, and possibly a few others, would be interested to get details of the 
> track-record of installed systems after they have been running 12/24 
> months.
> Felix Karpfen

I'm interested in hearing some 'actual' vs theoretical results as well.

I remember seeing a piece on TV (and a blog?) a few years ago (prior to
GFC, IIRC) where a guy from Canberra had installed a Solar PV system and
after a year had done a bunch of stuff to improve the systems
effectiveness.  He was getting under 50% of theoretical, IIRC.

Factors like angle of tilt, partial shading, overheating were mentioned
- can't remember the full list. [anyone got links?]

An aside to Felix.
Domestic grid-connected PV isn't about self-sufficiency - you're
specifically not allowed to store and preferentially use your power.
[badly put - you're not to keep anything back]

These domestic systems are about two things:
 - doing *something* to displace CO2 generation
 - govt. subsidies to make 'the numbers work'

Solar PV is many times more expensive than coal-fired power in direct
costs, without considering CO2 sequestration. Wind farms do better
financially, from what I know.

There are gaps in the scheme - co-generation from gas-fired plant is
unsubsidised in the UK and is economic. Biomass would also work somewhat
in the burbs, but isn't supported.

Amory Lovins (Rocky Mtn Institute) pointed out decades ago that it's
far, far cheaper to save a Watt than to build plant to generate it.
Insulation, passive solar design and clever use of
resources/technologies all work.

In places like QLD, solar hot-water should be a 'no-brainer'...
More limited results in Canberra, and if the pipes freeze, you've got
real problems.

Encouraging the obvious is a political problem.

I know a little about Solar - in 1989 I went bush for a year and had to
provide power, water, heating for myself.
Doesn't seem that prices have come down much since...
It was cheaper to put in 3 panels and some batteries than to connect to
the grid.

Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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