Homeowner Blog

Solar PV Monitoring Solutions: The Best Apps and Platforms

George Riley · 01 Apr 2021

Image: SolarEdge.

Since solar panels are static, there’s little to actually, well, see when they’re generating. Sure, it’s nice to start receiving smaller energy bills but, if you’re like most of our customers, you’ll want to dig into the performance data every now and then.

As well as checking when the most solar power is being generated (a useful reminder to turn on the dishwasher and make the most of that free electricity), solar monitoring is great for reviewing past output and comparing performance. Sudden drops can indicate faults that need fixing, or help assess if it’s worth giving the panels a clean.

Wondering which solar PV monitoring solutions are the best? Read on...

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Topics: Solar PV, Tesla Powerwall, Inverters

Living with Solar Panels: One Year On

Mark Golding · 17 Mar 2021

Last February, when the world was a very different place, Spirit installed SunPower panels in the roof of my new home - read all about the installation process here.

So it’s been just over a year now that I’ve been living with solar panels. Although not the best of years, it has been nice to work from home to maximise the use of my own solar energy. But how is my PV system doing? Has it performed anywhere near what my quote promised? And how have my behaviour, bills and carbon footprint changed?

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Topics: In roof solar panels, Solar PV

Are Solar Panels Worth It in 2021? Yes, Solar Power Costs 8p/kWh!

Erica Charles · 17 Feb 2021

Recent years have seen significant shakeups to the economics of solar power. Since the Feed-in Tariff closed to new applicants in 2019, photovoltaics are no longer subsidised. Later that year, solar tax rates also got a shakeup, meaning not every installation is eligible for 5% VAT. So, are solar panels worth it today?

Speaking purely from a financial point of 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 and the climate crisis.

Back to the financials. The solar subsidy may have ended, but the cost of the technology has fallen by more than 50% over the past decade. Overall the cost of domestic solar electricity is now around 8p per kWh. This is well below the 16p average domestic import cost from the grid (which, by the way, increased by an average 4.75% each year over the past decade...).

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Topics: Financing, Solar PV

Smart Export Guarantee Tariffs: Which is the Best Rate?

George Riley · 10 Feb 2021

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) has now been in effect for over a year, since it came into law on January 1st 2020. It’s the mechanism to ensure solar PV owners are paid for the power they send to the grid, ending the policy void that existed since the Feed-in Tariff closed to new applicants in March 2019.

According to the SEG, energy suppliers with over 150,000 customers must offer an export tariff with a rate greater than zero. The SEG is available for customers with an MCS-certified renewable energy system under 5MW and a second generation smart meter.

With zero as the minimum, at the very least you can’t be charged for being relieved of excess solar power. However, suppliers don’t have to give you very much for it. So how much are they offering in practice?

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Topics: Tariffs, Solar PV

Domestic Ground Mounted Solar Panels

George Riley · 03 Feb 2021

One of the great things about solar power is how scalable the technology is; you can generate electricity on top of an individual streetlamp or a vast solar farm. When it comes to residential PV, we often just think of rooftop arrays, but recently we have seen a rise in interest in domestic ground mounted solar panels.

The main benefit of ground mounts, if you have the land, is that you can choose the optimal orientation to maximise solar generation, which isn’t possible with an existing rooftop. It’s also a great option if your roof isn’t strong enough to support the weight of a solar array. In a ground mount, panels are fixed to a metal frame, which is secured by concrete or pile-driven foundations. But what else do you have to consider?

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Topics: Solar PV

Zero Carbon Homes and Renewable Technologies: Our New Brochure

George Riley · 20 Jan 2021

It will come as no surprise to hear that we are passionate about renewable energy. Our mission here at Spirit Energy has always been to support every building in becoming its own sustainable micro power station, generating and utilising as much of its own clean energy on site as possible.

As we move towards a net zero carbon society, it’s essential that we build zero carbon homes. But what exactly does this mean? And what is the best way to incorporate renewable technologies when building your new house?

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Topics: Battery storage, Spirit Energy news, EV charging, In roof solar panels, Solar PV, Environment

Powering the Renewable Revolution into 2021

George Riley · 13 Jan 2021

This time last year we were celebrating Spirit’s 10th birthday. Little did we know how soon everything would change.

Despite the extraordinary challenges of 2020, we are pleased to report that Spirit is still going strong and our team is as dedicated as ever to making our world a cleaner, greener, more sustainable place to live.

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Topics: Battery storage, Spirit Energy news, Solar PV

The Future of Solar: Road, Rail and... Space?

George Riley · 09 Dec 2020

With all the recent talk of innovative green technologies, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most ingenious - and eccentric - ideas being explored for solar PV.

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Topics: In roof solar panels, Solar PV

How to Save on Your Energy Bills This Winter

George Riley · 26 Nov 2020

We’re facing a winter like no other.

Likely confined to our homes, many of us will be concerned about rising bills from extra heating and electricity usage. But it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve put together some practical tips for how to save on your energy bills over winter and investigated the impact of on site renewables in the colder months.

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Topics: Battery storage, Tariffs, Solar PV

We’re Continuing to Install Safely During Lockdown

George Riley · 10 Nov 2020

As the UK settles in for another lockdown, we want to take the opportunity to reassure you about all the measures we’ve taken at Spirit so we can continue the drive to sustainable energy during this challenging time.

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Topics: Spirit Energy news, Maintenance, Solar PV