Solar Power

A forum for DIY, cars, pets and all things related to home life
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Zasso Nouka
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Solar Power

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Woke up to a proper winter wonderland scene yesterday morning.

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Luckily it was all gone by lunch time and not heavy enough to damage our poly tunnels or collapse the low tunnels.

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Solar Power

Post by LeeB »

I also noticed what looks like some solar panels under the snow on the roof...................

Is that right?

If so, how does the cold weather affect the output? Supposedly panel efficiency improves at lower temps.

I always get a kick out of people having trouble driving in snow. Where I grew up we had snow - sometimes 3 or 4 feet or more - that is snow.

Anyway looks like you people are going to have cold weather around the Kanto area on Saturday and Hokkaido is getting around to some good winter temps. Chitose is supposed to hit -25 C tonight. Starting to get a little North Dakota winter-like weather there!!!

Here in Melbourne the craziness continues. We finished the super warm temps, then we had high humidity and mild 30's, followed by the western and northern parts of Melbourne getting a drenching. We only got 1.8 mm of rain where we live and tomorrow we are going to have a low of 10 C.

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Solar Power

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Spot on, we have Panasonic HIT panels so they don't loose too much production when hot. They don't produce as much electricity during the winter but that has more to do with shorter days and the lower angle the sun is at.

It's currently snowing outside and am about to leave for the morning deliveries so the snow tyres are going to be useful again.

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Post by LeeB »

Those must have cost a bundle!! Do you have a battery too?

When it gets hot here - over 35 degrees C I do notice that my panels lose a lot of production - at least 10% or more sometimes 20% if it hits over 40 C and there is no wind.

Currently you can get a 6 kw system anywhere from $3000 up depending on where you live in Australia. Western Australia has the cheapest standard prices.

If you qualify for the new Victoria rebate (I don't) you can get one of the el cheapo 5 to 6 kw systems for about $2500 after the rebate.

Unreal.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by Zasso Nouka »

We don't have a battery yet but next year our supply contract with Tepco is up and apparently the feed in rate will likely drop significantly so if that does happen we are thinking of getting a Leaf2Home unit that will turn our car into a battery for the house.

That will work out cheaper than buying a home battery and will give us a 40kwh battery which is much larger than most home battery packs. There is a minor disadvantage in that when using the car it obviously can't power the house but given our peak demand for electricity is at night when we both are home that's not a major worry. Also once our supply contract is up with Tepco we will be charging the car from our solar panels it will then mean most of our driving is done on completely renewable electricity. It's really nice no longer being reliant on gasoline.

As for the heat affecting production I noticed back in the summer that we are still getting 3.9kw from our 4kw system as it approaches 10 years old.

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We've never once got up on the roof to clean or hose it down to get dust and dirt off, it just keeps on producing power with no interference from us. I can thoroughly recommend these HIT panels to anyone considering installing solar.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by LeeB »

Interesting.

As far as I know we can't get Nissan Leaf in Australia yet. Nissan is 'registering interest' now.

And unlike Japan, there would be all sorts of problems with using the car as a home battery.

As I have state before Australia has become a nanny state with all sorts of rules and regs that basically affect every facet of life. Japan is much more 'free' now than Australia is.

The basic tenet of solar power here is to reduce your residential electricity bill and not to 'make money' although some people are able to do that.

Each state has differing rules and regs and pay rates for produced electricity.

Here in Victoria it also varies by who control the transmission lines!!!

Some areas will let you put up to 10 kW per phase other will only let you put up 5 kW per phase. So the max for residential is therefore 15 Kw in the area where I live if you have 3 phase power to your house. Many don't so if you want to go above that 5 kW you have to upgrade which will cost a fortune. (I have enough roof space to put up that 15 kW of panels without any problem.)

Even then you may not be able to do that depending on the local substation and how many other people have solar panels on their roofs. Capacity and voltage limits on the lines.

Next is the limitation imposed by the accrediting authority as to the number of panels that can be put on the inverter. Some inverters will be able to handle two times or more than the rated capacity of panels, but the limit is 1.33 times the rated inverter size. So max 5 Kw per phase means max 5 kW inverter which means max 6.65 kW of panels on the roof.

This means of course that the inverter will clip during summer, but still be below that 5 Kw limit in winter when the sun is weak.

Then comes the problem with charging a battery at cheap rates and then feeding into the grid during the day at higher rates which here is a no-no.

Plus you have people like me on grandfathered premium feed in rates (PFIT) which we lose if we change any aspect of the system. It also means we often lose out on new programs such as the new Victorian subsidy as we 'wasted' our own money to put up a system when they were 4 times as costly as now.

I'd really like to put up a much bigger system as the winter heating bills using NG are way to expensive and then use solar power from panels to run the inverters.

As I can't get the new subsidy and I'd lose the PFIT and at current prices for systems without that subsidy it wouldn't most likely wouldn't make any economic sense. I'll have to get out the previous years' bills and try to figure out the financials aspects in more detail. The PFIT ends in 2024 and then it doesn't make any difference, but by then there may be too many systems and nothing we could do either...........

Knock on wood, the system is still working without any problems and I hope it lasts until then.

Another aspects is that if you do make any money from solar electricity and that money is put into your bank account, if your are on the Age Pension, the government deems that income and will reduce your pension!!! Of course you get no deduction for any costs involved in buying and putting up the system either.

So will just have to wait and see what happens in this area.

Please let us know what happens with the FIT from TEPCO. I still think that Japan is an ideal country for solar as it has to import almost all of its energy needs, but unfortunately the powers that be try and limit the uptake as well as the high prices of systems as well.

As far as heat goes, it really does make quite a difference once it starts going above 35C and there is no wind!!! Those 40 C plus days are killers.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by Zasso Nouka »

You may have something similar to Blue Cars over in New Zealand that imports second hand Leaf's and refurbishes batteries in your area in the absence of Nissan wanting to sell their EV's in New Zealand. To be honest Blue Cars seem to offer a better service than Nissan as they will also upgrade to higher capacities the battery in Leaf's which is something Nissan refuses to do. Given the longevity and incredibly low maintenance EV have Nissan seem to want you to replace the car when the battery degrades (wonder why that might be :think: ) rather than swap it out.

If EV were widely adopted in Australia and each household had vehicle to grid connectors then that might help balance out some of the power issues that you guys have experienced in the past. They can either be charging off solar during the day or using off peak electricity at night and then feeding that back in at peak times to smooth out the supply and demand.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by LeeB »

Related to energy savings - do you use those LED light globes in your house?

When we bought the house years ago we switched over all the light bulbs to the CFC type. They were very expensive at the time, but in conjunction with the solar panels they saved us lots of money.

Over time the prices of those came down and then those LED energy savings bulbs showed up. Again they were really costly when they first showed up on the market and I didn't buy any.

Once they came down in price I bought some supposed CREE type LED's which were still costly, but they all burned out within a short time. Probably fake crap from China.

Now you can get good brand name LED bulbs here very cheap in the big hardware stores. About A$5 a bulb for the lower wattage ones to replace 60 watt tungsten or 13 to 15 watt CFC's. (You can not buy the old tungsten filament bulbs here anymore.)

The light is so much better and they don't need time to get up to full output. And they are supposed to last a long, long time. If they do actually last that long, I won't be around when they need to be changed!!!

So in the last few years the energy consumption of bulbs has gone from 60 watt to 13 to 8 watts.

Even at A$5 a bulb they will still pay for themselves compared to the CFC's and even better yet when compared to something like halogen bulbs.

I did notice that the LED type globes are quite expensive in Japanese stores though.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by Zasso Nouka »

We mostly use LED strip lights with LED spot lights in a few places like the kitchen or bathroom. Saves a small fortune in electricity, hard to believe we can light a large part of the house for the same amount as a single 100w tungsten filament lamp. I know a lot of people complained about bureaucracy gone mad when they phased the old filament style lamps out but they really were inefficient and so far we've never had an LED lamp fail plus as you say the quality of light is great.

Can't remember the exact price in stores but you are right in them being more expensive but they seem to last a very long time and as you mention the savings in running them soon pay for themselves.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by Gru »

LeeB wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:33 pm
Once they came down in price I bought some supposed CREE type LED's which were still costly, but they all burned out within a short time. Probably fake crap from China.
Even the best LED's will burn quickly if they are equipped with poor electronics and without proper cooling. A tungsten bulb (and even a CFL) doesnt care that much for high temperatures, but LED's (which are actually a special kind of semiconductor instead of an glowing string of metal) will deteriorate quicker if they aren't getting proper cooling. Glueing high quality LED's together with the cheapest kind of electronic into a small sealed plastic casing is therefore not the best option.
LeeB wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:08 am
Those must have cost a bundle!! Do you have a battery too?
If you do it yourself, you can try to find a suorce for used solar panels. Commercial photovoltaic power plants replacing them after 10-15 Years, because they are losing per year about 0.5-1% of their power. Used Deep-cyle lead-batteries (widely used in forklifts and as an UPS in many places (like GSM/3g/4g Base stations, Hospitals, Nuclear Power Plants :D ) are an option too, sometimes you can get them at the local junkyard for the scrap price of the lead. They are very durable, in Germany they are called "Panzerplattenbatterien" (-> "Tank-plate-batteries").
Zasso Nouka wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:13 am
That will work out cheaper than buying a home battery and will give us a 40kwh battery which is much larger than most home battery packs.
You have to consider that you can't use the full 40kwh, not of a (usually lead based) Home Battery, nor of your car. At least for most Germans it is like the end of the world if they don't have the possibility to drive right now the 900km to his uncle :lol:
And even the most durable deep cycle batteries doesnt like it to getting fully discharged.