Hi, Grant here again as Deege have kindly allowed me to write another blog post to explain what solar-powered life is like! As you may have seen in my previous post Deege installed my solar panels and battery at the end of April 2021. In this post I will go through all of my facts and figures after around 6 months (mid-October 2021) of having a Solar PV System Installed. Hopefully I will be able to convince a few others to go green too!
My Smart Solar PV System
It is generally most financially beneficial to make use of as much of the generated power as possible, rather than exporting it to the grid for a minimal payback. As such, I have three devices as part of my solar solution which help harness as much of the power as possible:
- First up my battery solution, a Growatt SPA3000 AC-Coupled battery inverter paired with Pylontech batteries providing me 7kWh of storage and a maximum charge/discharge rate of 3kW.
- The myenergi Zappi is one of the best Electric Vehicle chargers on the market, flexible and super smart, this has the ability to be set to only charge from surplus solar energy or indeed off-peak tariffs.
- Finally the myenergi Eddi, probably my favourite bit of kit, is hidden in a cupboard with my hot water cylinder. The Eddi is essentially a smart immersion heater, it trickles any surplus power into my hot water tank using whatever surplus power there is up to 3kW.
All of my energy storage solutions listed above have CT clamps connected in the meter cupboard which monitor the solar generation/grid usage/house usage, allowing them to dynamically adjust their power draw/release as applicable. The Growatt battery inverter rapidly swaps between storing surplus energy and discharging the battery to support the house load. While the Zappi/Eddi take surplus energy beyond what the battery can store and the myenergi app allows me to prioritise EV charging/hot water heating .
Do Solar Panels Save You Money?
When it comes to talking solar panels all people generally want to talk about is how much money they will save and what’s the Return on Investment. Especially recently with rocketing fuel bills. So how can I actually calculate that?
Firstly let’s take a look at some of the raw figures and then explain my maths:
|Power (kWh) Apr-Oct ‘21||Savings @15.33p/kWh (£)||Pay @ 3p/kWh (£)||Actual Savings (£)|
|Total Generation Used (89%)||3540||542.68||N/A||542.68|
|Generation Stored in Battery (33%)||1300||200 *value from use||39 *if not stored in battery||161|
|Generation Exported (10%)||410||N/A||12.30||12.30|
|Generation Used in Eddi (10%)||430||66 *use rather than gas/grid||12.9 *if not stored in water||53.10|
|Realtime Usage (46%)||1810||277.47||N/A||N/A|
|TOTAL TO DATE||£769.08|
My Savings with Solar Panels
From the table above you can see that in the past 6 month I’ve generated around 3,950kWh of power (3.95MWh). Which if I had to buy from the grid at 15.33p/kWh (as per my tariff) would have cost me £605.50! With 92% of this having been used in some manner in the house resulting in a £542.68 saving. Of this generated power almost a third, or 1300kWh, was stored for later use in my solar battery. Which allowed a further £200 of grid power avoidance rather than earning only £39 from my export rate at 3p/kWh (a net £161 saving).
From an export perspective I’ve optimised my usage so have only exported 410kWh, around 10%, which has returned only around £12.30. While this seems very low, I’m on a specific tariff not optimised for export, which matches my usage.
The myenergi Eddi
On to the undervalued part of the solution, the myenergi Eddi, which has taken around 430kWh or just over 11% of my generation over the last 6 months. This has directly resulted in a reduction in our gas bills, however the “electricity usage : gas savings” ratio is hard to quantify so the best way to calculate this is by comparing how much this would have cost if using the grid to heat the water – a saving of £66 over the last 6 months. Had I instead allowed this to be exported, I would only have received £12.90 so I see this as a net saving of £53.10.
But aren't Solar Panels only good in sunny countries?
In a word, no! Sat here on a rainy grey October day my panels are currently generating 1kW, the house is using 300W with the remaining 700W topping up the battery. Assuming this continues at this level, the hot water will get a boost and I will go into the evening with a full battery. Even following a lot of research I’ve been genuinely impressed with how little sun is needed, with the last 6 months having generated around 65% of my last year’s total power usage!
Solar Panels, Are they Worth It?
Whilst you may argue there is some strange logic applied here to my calculations, and it’s certainly not the way EPVS calculations are handled, this is my real life assessment of my solar payback. The used generation figure is a definite way of quantifying what I’ve “saved” by not using the grid and I count all of this despite some being held in battery/eddi etc. as they are supplementary systems and the alternate of exporting is negligible and shown. The battery savings (saving minus potential export value) of £161 shows the value of the battery in my setup so I can see it earning it’s keep over time. Likewise the £53.10 for the Eddi which is efficiently using surplus power and saving our gas bill.
So what does this all mean? A saving of £769.08 from my “man-maths” means I am on track to see a return of my investment before the warranty runs out on any of the parts. So not only am I making the world a little bit more green but I think I’ve made a sustainable investment that’s likely to pay off!
How has installing Solar Panels Changed my Life?
I’ve made a few small changes, that the wife hasn’t noticed (so I deem them successful and unobtrusive!), to optimise our usage. For example I have changed the gas boiler settings for heating the hot water cylinder to only be in the morning pre showers or in the evening before kids bath-time. With an expectation that the surplus solar ensures this is heated most days.
Other than our significantly reduced energy bills, and my excitement for solar (I talk about it too much, apparently), we haven’t had any significant changes to our home life. I make an effort where possible to run washing machine/dishwasher etc. either at the peak times of a sunny day, or alternatively overnight on the off-peak electricity, though in a busy family household these things generally only happen overnight or whilst the kids are at nursery anyway!
The Most Surprising Stats About Going Solar
- July 2021 saw us generate just over 800kWh of which we managed to consume/store 94% (760kWh). This significant power generation covered our high power draw for air conditioning, a hired hot tub and of course left us with a full battery and continual free hot water each day!
- On one day in June we managed to generate 42.66kWh – if we’d had to buy this it would have cost around £6.40. We managed to use 84% (35.7kWh) of this in the house, managing to stay effectively off-grid all day
- Some days I get really excited by seeing a perfect generation curve with a ramp up then gradual ramp down towards the end of the day (sad I know!)
- In August 2021 our gas usage for the month was equivalent to what we used per week last summer, as we now no longer use gas for most of our hot water so it’s only standing charge/gas hob for cooking.
My Advice about Going Solar
So having spoken to a number of friends and family about solar, some of whom have now gone on to have solar installed (!), a common question is what would I do differently? Well,
- Firstly, consider more panels! Perhaps on multiple aspects in my case – fit as many as you can, the cost per panel is less than the cost of scaffolding/electrician/roofer coming back another day!
- Thoroughly consider how much battery is right for your home, where possible ensuring the solution is upgradable. Our daily utilisation is quite high, with air conditioning and a hot tub having a relatively high draw, so our battery being full just about takes us through the night.
The Time For Solar Is Now
From the beginning it was clear Deege Solar were flexible in their approach and ultimately were working to ensure I was satisfied. There was no hard sell approach, no pressure, just open communication and valuable insight. They are thoroughly knowledgeable, have experience across a breadth of solar technologies, and are arguably one of the best installers in the UK. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Deege Solar to anyone, in fact I have the pleasure of looking at our neighbours identical installation by Deege Solar following our recommendation!
If you are interested in Following Grant’s Solar journey, and asking him any questions you can find him on Instagram and Twitter @oursolarjourney. This blog was written by Grant himself to showcase his point of view of what it is like to go solar with Deege Solar. If you would like to receive a free quote click the Enquire now Button below. Alternatively you can reach us directly on 01322 479369.
If you’re considering making the move to solar I can thoroughly recommend working with @DeegeSolar! This is our house, and the start of our solar journey and I couldn’t be happier than to have worked with the Deege team on it 👌🏻 Hit them up for a quote and tell them I sent you! https://t.co/7GIDfPdu6P— Solar Journey (@oursolarjourney) April 28, 2021