Homeowner Blog

Get Ready for the Sun: Solar Panel Maintenance and Cleaning

Erica Charles 23 Jan 2018

Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner.  And with it, the start of the sunny-but- not-so-hot season in which solar panels thrive.

Clean panels do better than dirty panels. And a well-maintained, serviced system does best of all.  

Which begs the question, how proactive should you be in looking after your solar system? What do other Spirit Energy customers do by way of servicing?

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Topics: Solar panel maintenance

Are Solar Panels Worth It in 2018? Yes, Solar Power Costs From 5p/kWh!

Erica Charles 09 Jan 2018

This month saw a modest drop in the feed-in tariff. The tariff for a typical 0-10 kWp domestic system is now 3.93p per kWh, down from 4p per kWh before Christmas.

And well down from the heady days of 2010, when the feed-in tariff scheme was first launched and the subsidy was 43p per kWh.  So, are solar panels a good investment today?

Speaking purely from a financial view, the answer is a resounding yes.  Of course beyond the financial, there are many other environmental benefits to be gained from installing solar, installing residential battery storage, driving an electric vehicle etc. Not least because they all contribute directly or indirectly to tackling air pollution, which, we are told, is gradually destroying the nation's health.

Back to the financials. The solar subsidy may have fallen, but so has the cost of the technology.  Overall the cost of domestic solar electricity is now between 4p and 10p per kWh.  This is well below the 15p average domestic import cost from the grid (which, by the way increased by 7% in the last 12 months....)

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Topics: Is Solar a Good Investment?

Save around 10% on your electricity bill with Voltage Optimisation

Erica Charles 11 Dec 2017

In line with CE and EU regulations, most of the UK’s electrical equipment is optimised to work at 220-230v. For historic reasons our electricity is supplied at an average of 242v but could be as high as 253v.

It is a little known fact that the more voltage you apply to an appliance the more energy it consumes – costing you more and shortening the life of the device.

By reducing your voltage supply to 230V or slightly below, it is possible to make a substantial energy saving (~ 12% reduction in the average home) and prolong the life of your electronic appliances.

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Topics: Voltage Optimisation

Buy cheap, use peak - a game changer for the UK electricity market?

Erica Charles 30 Nov 2017

Our Tesla rep Jerry came to our office this week to update us on the latest Powerwall 2 developments.

The most exciting thing? Timed charging and discharging is due to go live in January or Feburary 2018.  

Why is this so exciting?

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Topics: Powerwall2, Tesla Solar Battery

Lutron Lighting Controls: The World Between Off and On (and "Alexa turn my lights off")

Erica Charles 23 Nov 2017

Most of us have heard of Thomas Edison and his 1000 plus ways not to make a lightbulb.  But how many of us realise how much our world owes to Joel Spira?

And what's he got to do with Alexa?

The answer lies in Lutron lighting controls: creating a world between Off and On...

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Topics: Lutron Homeworks, Lutron Lighting Controls

To infinity and beyond: the infinite Tesla solar tile warranty

Erica Charles 16 Nov 2017

I have been updating our Guide to Building Integrated PV, available as a free download from our website.  

Inevitably I had to check out the Tesla UK website for an update on their long-awaited solar roof tiles. And I read this:

Infinite Tile Warranty

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Topics: Roof Integrated Solar Panels, In Roof Solar Panels, Tesla Solar Tiles

High efficiency solar panels: SunPower panels output 30-50% more power

Erica Charles 03 Nov 2017

As a rule of thumb, with the decline in Feed-in Tariffs and the advent of battery storage, a grid-connected solar system is best sized with an annual output (kWh) approximately equal to the annual usage of the property.  Battery storage capacity in kWh is typically set at 1 to 2 time the system size.

So if your load is 5,400kWh a year, and a kWp outputs 900kWh a year, size the system at 6 kWp and install 6kWh - 12 kWh of battery storage.

What if your roof is too small to achieve this with standard panels? Which panel do you turn to?

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Topics: SunPower, BenQ

The Solar Cold Callers are back ... is the SolarEdge retrofit they're selling worth it?

Erica Charles 20 Oct 2017

If you own a domestic solar PV installation it’s likely that you will have been cold-called recently about the system. We get emails or calls from our customers along the following lines about once a week:

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Topics: Domestic Solar Cold Calls, SolarEdge

zappi: The Intelligent EV Charger Optimising the Use of Excess Solar

Erica Charles 11 Oct 2017

Many of our customers have installed an iBoost or Immersun or similar to divert excess solar PV into their hot water tank.

If you have an electric vehicle (EV), it makes sense to divert excess electricity into the EV battery.  In fact if your hot water is heated by gas, oil or biomass, it makes more sense to charge the car than it does to charge the hot water tank.

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Topics: eddi, EV charging, solar self consumption, zappi

£5000 Giveaway from the Carbon Trust for SMEs and State Schools

Erica Charles 27 Sep 2017

Did you know that the Green Business Fund will provide a non-refundable capital contribution of 15% of project costs, up to £5,000 towards the cost of energy efficiency measures such as LED lighting upgrades and solar PV? 

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Topics: Carbon Trust Loans, SMEs, Energy Efficiency Finance, Salix Finance