Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April 2013 Beats Forecasts to be Best Solar Month Since July 2012

The sun has now set on April 2013 and the numbers show that it has been the second best month ever for our solar panels and the highest monthly amount of solar electricity generated since July 2012. Despite being 2 months away from the longest day April 2013 has also broken two records for the daily output from our panels.

April 2013 has also been the first month this year where the output from our solar panels has exceeded the electricity generated in 2012 and also beaten the SAP forecasts. January to March were way down on last year so it is a welcome sight to see April output bouncing back so well.

The full breakdown of April 2013 solar generation compared to 2012 is here.  It gives some interesting comparisons as April 2012 was a dull month when the weather switched from the sunny days of March to rain and cloud after the drought was announced! In April 2012 there were only 6 days above 15kWh generation but this had doubled to 12 days over 15kWh in April 2013.


April 2013 Best Month Since July 2012
April 2013 Beats Forecasts to be Best Solar Month Since July 2012

Despite what seemed to be a cloudy and cold month the PV solar panels generated a hefty 368 kWh in April 2013. In fact the cold weather actually helped improve the electricity generated by the solar panels as panel efficiency increases as the temperature drops which meant April 2013 also gave us a new daily record with over 21kWh of electricity produced.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Solar Panel Price Increases - Further Rises Forecast

It has been reported that the price of solar panels sold in Europe has increased by 4% in March 2013, apparently the first increase seen since March 2009.

Over that time the price of a solar panel installation has dropped massively from around £18000 for 4kWp system to around £8000 now.


Solar Panel Price Increases
Solar Panel Price Increases


It is reported that prices are expected to rise by a similar 4% over the next few months so anyone considering installing solar panels may be advised to act sooner rather than wait.

http://press.ihs.com/press-release/design-supply-chain/european-solar-module-prices-rise-first-time-four-years

Submit British Gas FIT Readings Online for Feed In Tariff Solar Payments

We use British Gas for our FIT (Feed in Tariff) payments for our solar panels. This is a separate company to the one that supplies us with electricity and in some ways it helps to keep the two totally separate as you are likely to want to move supplier over the 25 year lifetime of the Feed in Tariff payment scheme.

Originally when we signed up to British gas our FIT Readings for the Feed In Tariff payments had to be sent by email to British Gas and soon afterwards a cheque was posted back to us with the FIT payments.

They have now improved this process so that British Gas Feed in Tariff solar electricity generation meter readings can be submitted online. You need your Meter Reading (obviously!) as well as your meter serial number and installation ID. Sensibly and very helpfully British Gas include this information on the email they send you to remind that a reading it due.

Once you have your generation meter reading you can submit your reading for FIT payments using the website below:

http://www.britishgas.co.uk/fitreads?cid=memgmrfit

The one improvement that is outstanding is to make payments by bank transfer but as British Gas seem to be one of the fastest FIT payers this is only a minor niggle!


Submit British Gas FIT Readings Online for Feed In Tariff Solar Payments
Submit British Gas FIT Readings Online for Feed In Tariff Solar Payments

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sunny Cold April Best Solar Panel Generation - Maximum Electricity Output from PV Solar Panels

One bonus of the cold weather we have experienced in the UK recently is that the cold improves the generation from solar panels by increasing their efficiency. Today has been a perfect example, a very sunny day but with below average temperatures of around 8C.

The net outcome has been the best ever electricity generation from our solar PV panels. Temperature does make a massive difference and a cold sunny day like today has generated more electricity than any day in 2012 which is pretty incredible when we are still 2 months away from the longest day.

Just imagine how much solar electricity you could generate from a very cold sunny day in June when the sun is above the horizon for so much more of the day.

The electricity generated today was 21.4kWh which is the first time our solar panels have breached the 21kWh level. In 2012 we had a few days that hit 20.5kWh but clearly the effect of temperature on the solar panel performance has outweighed the effect of the longer days in June and July.

The electricity generated per kWp of panels works out at over 7kWh per kWp which is quite an impressive performance and obviously is improved by our location and orientation of SSW facing solar panels.


Sunny Cold April Best Solar Panel Generation - Maximum Electricity Output from PV Solar Panels
Sunny Cold April Best Solar Panel Generation - Maximum Electricity Output from PV Solar Panels

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Solar Panels India - Rural Electricity Generation by Solar PV

I recently returned from a trip to India travelling from Delhi to Agra and Pushkar then back to Delhi. Overall given the amount of sun in India I was surprised to see how few solar panels were installed. This was about the only set of Solar Panels we found in India that were in a nature reserve powering a school and other buildings.

Interestingly they were on a rotation mechanism so that they could turn to follow the direction of the sun giving better electricity generation. The downside of solar power generation in India is the temperature which reduces the efficiency of the solar panels. At least in the UK the lower temperatures compensate for the lesser amount of sun so



Solar Panels India - Rural Electricity Generation by Solar PV
Solar Panels India - Rural Electricity Generation by Solar PV
 
Solar Panels India - Rural Electricity Generation by Solar PV
Solar Panels India - Rural Electricity Generation by Solar PV
 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

March 2013 Solar Panel Output - Cloudy days ruin Electricity Generation!

Having returned from holiday and found the weather to still be cold and damp it was no surprise to discover that the electricity from our solar panels in March 2013 was massively lower than in 2012.

The total generation shows the full horror!
 
March 2012 : 310 kWh
 
March 2013 : 173 kWh

Yes that is 137kWh less for the month than we obtained in 2012 which equates to over £60 in lost FIT income as a result. The SAP estimate was 210kWh and the PVGIS estimate 241kWh so this was a spectactually poor result compared to the estimates.

The total for the first 3 months of 2013 shows an equally bad picture with 376kWh compared to 599kWh in 2012 giving £100 less in FiT income.

You can see the full breakdown of 2013 Solar Panel electricity generation compared here


March 2013 Solar Panel Output - Cloudy days ruin Electricity Generation!
March 2013 Solar Panel Output - Cloudy days ruin Electricity Generation!