Solar panels, and what to expect.
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Project Manager
Project Manager
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Location: Llanfair Caereinion, Mid Wales.

Solar panels, and what to expect.

by ericmark » Fri Sep 22, 2023 9:40 am

I have about 2 weeks ago made the plunge into having solar panels, professionally fitted and set up, as no way at 72 am I climbing on my roof.

Every one I talk to seems to have some issues when fitted, I am no different, The thing which made me go for them, was the worry that a power cut would leave me with defrosting food and no central heating, and the panel controls have moved on, so now even with a power cut they will still charge the batteries and power some selected outlets, although most of the house will be plunged into darkness.

So I have 5 outlets, 4 sockets where the freezers are plugged in and a FCU supplying my central heating, a good reason why all 230 volt requirements with central heating should be supplied from a single source. Sockets are type A RCD ones, but the FCU is not, this is one fault which I need to correct.

The feed in and out tariffs are so far apart today ones needs a battery using the grid as your battery is costing too much, so the inverters have a sequence of use, solar power first to house, then to battery, then to heat hot water and finally export to the grid, the hot water inverter is independent from the main one, called an iboost+ this has been causing me problems. I have in the past used the central heating to heat the DHW, oil is cheaper than electric, but with a feed in tariff of just 9p per kWh cheaper to use excess solar now.

The iboost+ is some kind of inverter, and instead of using either zero or 3 kW it can put a varying amount of power into the water, common to see 250 watt only being used. But clearly 9 pm at the moment no sun light so it should not be working at that time. However mine was.

No instructions left, so step one was down load them, got wrong ones, got iboost instead of iboost+ finally got right version and it says CT coils must be 100 mm apart, they were not, and there was not a long enough tail from meter to henley block to get that distance. Tried moving them a little and no improvement. But it also talked about "Storage offset 100W (default)" changing this to 200 watt seems to have cured the problem.

I will swap the FCU for a RCD FCU, however not clear how to isolate to do the work, now no single point of isolation but 4 isolators 2 DC and 2 AC and I have a feeling the DC switch under the inverter or the plug on the inverter for the UPS supply will need switching off or unplugging to isolate the EPS supply, does not help called UPS and EPS which it seems is same thing.

As of course the paperwork, I have the compliance certificate, got it before the work was finished? But the G99 and the installation certificates are still outstanding. So is any info on how I claim the feed in tariff. The new export meter is fitted, but no one has read it, and it shows more than the software which shows I have exported 51.3 kWh at 9p only £46.17 but still do not want to give it away.

I welcome comments, I am still not sure I have done the right thing, and worry over lack of paperwork.

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