Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weather Comment and Form filling

17 June : Weather: A good time for PV!
April had about 40% more sunshine than we might have expected from the computer prediction, and
May had about 25% more - if the real output of my Photovoltaic roof is anything to judge by.
June started badly with some days that reminded me of February, but has now caught up nicely with a sequence of sunny days, and the colder air temperatures giving us good solar capture. We have had a couple of 'Best of the Year' days where combinations of good sun and north wind (cold air) have produced over 25 kWhrs in a single day - on the 4th and 16th June. I don't expect more than this for the remainder of the year.

Form Filling
If anybody reading this now has solar PV panels installed, don't forget to register as a Microgenerator. There are forms to fill out and send off, but don't be put off by this - you are, after all, signing up to receive quite a substantial amount of money from the electric utilities for the next 25 yrs, equivalent to more than twice your total installation cost... so a little bit of checking is required. You are likely to have to ring up your electric utility to get some of the details finalised (eg your 'generating station number' and ROC ID).  For form filling you also want to have meter reading handy, especially at the key moments of April 1 and October 1.

Read the meter regularly:   It is also worth recording your meter readings, either daily or weekly, so you can compare your actual installation with what is theoretically possible according to the computer model. There is no tuning you can do, other than checking for bird shit on the panels... well rotating the house to face south better would do better, but that's slightly more difficult.
  If you have a handheld meter, the numbers will roll off when they are 30 days old, but you can download them with a USB cable to your PC/Mac, and of course you can read daily totals off your LCD display on the inverter. If you are really information minded, your inverter may be able to take a Web router, that sends data to the SMA website in Germany and stores/displays your data for ever - every day for the last or the next ten years!.
  My meter readings are a bit manic, as you can see from but you don't have to be quite this obsessive! If you do want to be this obsessive, then do not be afraid to ask for copies of the spreadsheet formulae, so that you can use dates and times to computer daily generation and consumption.

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