Been busy as usual- neglecting the blog a little- so hopefully get a few updates out tonight :)

There’s been a lot of talk about solar power recently and the various schemes to reduce energy consumption and in turn utility bills!

From initial research it looks like you have several options:

  • Receive the equipment/installation for a minimal fee & sign an agreement to keep the panels for 25years (your energy bills will be reduced but any power generated in excess of your usage will be fed back to the grid with no reward)
  • Buy the equipment outright for a rather substantial fee (£10k+) and receive payment for any power generated in excess of your home’s consumption (some initial calculations suggest 20years roughly before your savings cover your initial investment)

I don’t really want to be tied in for 25years nor do I have £10k+ to spare so I thought I’d experiment with some cheap imported panels to see whether I want to invest more time/money in a long term solution.

I imported 4x 100W panels and 4 grid-tie inverters from china for roughly £800 and set them up temporarily in the back garden.

I bought a £10 extension lead from maplin which shows power throughput and hooked up the panels/inverters. I ran the setup for 2days (fairly decent weather wise for the UK) and generated 5KW of power (max at any one time was 340W). The video below is a bit poor as the monitors refresh at different rates, but you can just about see my home’s power consumption (top) dropping as the power generated by the solar panels (bottom) rises:

I was relatively pleased with how easy the setup was but after some calculations decided that it still wasn’t worth the investment (would be looking at roughly 10years to cover the initial investment). I’m selling the kit on eBay and hope to make my money back :)