Since I started my renewable energy course, I’ve been itching to engage with its in practical way. I now find myself having the good fortune where I’m able to finance a small solar PV project.

The aim.

I’ve decided to to implement this at my brother’s residence. His household has quite a high level of energy consumption. Having done the calculations earlier as part of my OU coursework, I am pretty sure that wall and loft insulation as well as solar hot water would definitely help slash his energy bill. Perhaps we will get round to doing these later but for now the attraction of solar PV proves just to irresistible! I had got a couple of 10 watt solar panels and a couple of batteries to play with 3 months ago. It was a very satisfying experience to see these tiny tiny panels charge the batteries in the middle of winter and provide a decent amount of light via high luminescence LED light bulbs (rated 380 lumens) . energy bright

The budget.

Implementing solar PV (photo-voltaic) is not cheap and it is questionable whether it is a good idea to implement in the UK. Having said this, PV panels have come down in price substantially to what they were a few years ago. I think this is in part thanks to the Chinese who have forced European and other manufactures to stop maintaining the price of solar PV panels at artificially high levels.

I expect to spend around £2,500 for a 1.6 kiloWatt system. This is for a hybrid system and has the additional cost of batteries, charge controller and off-grid inverter. I decided it’s better to have this option as I like the idea of energy independence. If you have only grid-tie and the the Government, in collusion with the energy companies passes some draconian law you’d have the option of going entirely off-grid less painfully. In addition if the power lines do go down, your lights will still stay on. At least some of them. :)

The planned system.


This is the planned implementation (please click to see the full size image). The panels are connected in parallel. It would be good to have some feedback.