Going all in on Electric

We’ve been ‘all electric’ at home since we built the house almost 20 years ago. There’s no mains gas and we didn’t have an oil tank so our energy has been all-electric. It’s worked well, but we’ve always wanted to be generating our own electricity really. We did look into have photo-voltaic tiles on the roof instead of standard tiles but at the time it just wasn’t feasible. We couldn’t find people to do it, we didn’t really have the time to sort it out whilst building the house and the cost was also prohibitive.

We’ve looked at retro-fitting solar panels several times over the years as well. The results of these investigations have invariably been the same. They were too expensive to install and wouldn’t pay for themselves even with the various grants that have been available over the years.

Time for Solar

Those grants are no longer available, but the price of the panels themselves and installation has come down significantly in recent years. Coupled with ever increasing energy prices it means that now is the time for us to get solar. It’ll still take at least 10 years for them to pay for themselves (even if energy prices continue to rise) but for us the idea is just to reduce the costs of running the house and to do our bit for the environment.

As the house is a bungalow it has quite a large footprint versus the number of rooms and luckily for us the largest roof faces pretty much dead south. It’s an idea location for solar panels, and where we live probably gets more than it’s fair share of sunshine compared to much of Wales too. All being well it should generate a decent amount of energy.

We’re starting off with a 4.5Kw solar array and will be coupling that with 5.8Kwh of battery storage. We’ll get both installed in such a way that either can be added to in the future. That way if we wish to expand our generating abilities or storage capabilities we should be able to.

The idea will be to use any generated solar during the day to power the requirements of the house. Any excess will then be stored in the battery. Once the battery is full any more excess will be channeled into the car battery (if the car is there) or back to the grid. We can then use the stored energy in the battery during the evening once the sun has set. We’re on a green economy 7 tariff so overnight during the cheap rate period we’ll switch to using grid power. We could if we wanted re-charge the battery from cheap rate grid power but we don’t think that will be necessary.

Too windy

The panels were supposed to be installed last week. The scaffolders turned up as planned, put up the scaffolding and enjoyed some coffee and cake.

The panel installation was called off on the day that it was initially scheduled for due to the weather forecast. The roofers then turned up the next day, and were greeted with apocalyptic rain and winds.

They too enjoyed some coffee and cake while waiting for things to calm down. They then ventured out onto the roof but soon returned having decided that it was just too dangerous out there. It was a typical Autumn day in Ynyslas. The winds were just too much for them. They therefore postponed again. Personally I think they were just there for the coffee and cake!

They should be back on Friday, so all being well we’ll have solar panels by the weekend. The weather looks OK for Friday at the moment with no rain and moderate winds. It looks pretty windy for Saturday though so lets hope that doesn’t arrive early. Maybe a wind turbine would have been a better investment that solar panels!

Weather for Friday and Saturday
Weather for Friday and Saturday

Electric Vehicle

I may have hinted above that as well as the Solar panels we’ll have an electric vehicle too. I mentioned a while back that we had been test driving some EV’s. Well, as suggested in that post, we liked the Hyundai Kona Electric and soon put in an order to lease one.

Kona - Dark Knight
Hyundai Kona – Dark Knight

That too should have arrived last week, but was a little delayed. We should however be collecting it tomorrow. We won’t be all electric on the vehicle front as we’ll keep the camper and will probably pass the little Peugeot 107 down to Morgan but our main everyday car will be all electric.

With the solar panels and the electric vehicle we may be able to charge the car for free!

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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