A success. It has taken a week or so, but charge times lengthenned, with longer and longer periods in bulk rather than going straight to absorb. Internal resistance is falling, it will now deal with a tea brew first thing in the morning wothout a low voltage trip occuring. All bodes well for next winter.
The new panel mounting frames have lifted the panels clear of the worst shadows and regular days with a yeild over 3 KW hours are being experienced.
The rebuilt sustem has been running two and a half years without incident, including going through a winter with a helping hand from cheap rate overnight power.
Shut down was to see the effect of two and a half years hard use as a punter rather than enthusiast might use the system.
Obervations : Capacity loss. Noticeable Water loss : 15 litres added to the four large batteries today to bring the electrolyte back to the top of the plates, followed by an afternoon on charge with no load taken. Back on load for the evening, and I am minded to run things tomorrow back on the grid and give them another day on charge, I want them to spend a good long time in the Absorbe part of the cycle to get the last 20% of the charge into the battery and the last 20% of the sulphate off the plates and into solution.
20 by 3 metre lengths of unistrut were delivered today. After ten years of frames made from wood obtained from skip diving, it is time for something more permanent. Unistrut is like Mecnano for grown ups. Go to the basement of any building of any size and you will find it supportoing pipes, cables, cable trays, all manner of service items. I need another order to come through with 45 degree angles before I can start building, but I set to work with the angle grinder cutting them to 2 metre lengths for the main triangular sections, with about 400 mm to o into the ground in concrete to keep it nailed down. The 1 metre offcuts will find use in a window shade for the back windows to keep the rooms more cool in summer, with the sun's energy being captured in a west facing array section to spin the generating peropd out a bit more.
January and february, mostly around 0.5 KWh during the day, mostly a consequence of the very bad shading suffered by the ground mounted array. Definite improvement during the later half of february as the sun clears the fences and other clutter, an 2.8 KWh recorded for 2nd March.
Winter operation has been with a bench top battery charger running overnight on the cheap tarriff to maintain the state of charge, meaning thatlight and small power has been a mix of solar and off peak cheap rate rather than in previousyears where any solar power has just gone to battery maintenance and the mains has supplied energy at whatever tariff applies at the time it is used.
Unseasonal weather for the first bit of the year, with June total a miserly 44 KWh delivered, around the 56 mark apriland May. Suprisingly good in February with 22 KWh, ten times january's total.
Big change in the weather this month, with more than a few days where 4 KWh has been harvested. Consumption has crept up with the more abundant free solar power, finally turned off the mains connection this month - usually it goes off April or May.
No changes made to the system this year. I added six panels last year and they were worth it during the LONG runs of poor sun conditions, allowing me to balance a 1.5 KWh a day consumption with around that amount collected.
Harrow. 2 days back on the Solar supply with the return of the sun, eased back to2 circuits solar one on grid .
UK wide. 10 percent of electrical energy coming from the wind yesterday, which on a weekday is good going. During the overnight off peak period wind generation significantly exceeded gas generation, which is good for eeking out the least plentiful fossil fuel component.
The gas bills are in for the largebuilding in Bermondsey where a Solar Thermal system was added to one of the central hot water installations this year.
During the seasn April to October 2011 the building consumed over 2300 x 100 cu feet of gas. For the same period in 2012 the consumption had dropped to a little over 1000, despite only one of the two hot water systems presently being fited with solar therma and at times the weather being a little "Unseasonal"
This bodes well for next year as the second system is due to go in and a third central hot water with solar thermal from the outset due for construction
The flat ran off grid between March and the end of October this year. A run of overcast skies at the end of October led to shutting down for around 3 weeks to ensure all available solar energy went to battery charging, bring the batteries back to 100% and the return of the clear days allowing the batteries to spend time in Absorb Charge mode to reverse any sulphation which might have attempted to establish itself.
Load is presently splitwith the solar system dealing with lighting and the circuit supplying the fridge, allowing long periods during the day when all energy is going towards battery charging