Having watched the price of photovoltaic solar panels steadily fall over the last few years and seeing a drop in incentives looming on the horizon, we decided to pull the trigger on a system for the Automated Home.
Two of the companies quoted a similar figure of around £5,000 whilst the third quoted for a more sophisticated system using micro-inverters at almost double that.
We went with the Solar Panel Co NI, one of the companies around £5K after receiving a personal recommendation from a friend that had used them before.
Our system comprises of 14 x 285W SolarWorld mono black panels and an SMA Sunny Boy 3600TL-21 inverter.
Whilst we could have mounted some panels on the south-facing roof at the front of the Automated Home they wouldn’t have looked great and we have plenty of space so we opted for a ground mounted system in the back garden instead.
Our rear fence runs around 25 degrees off perfect South meaning the parallel array faces SSE. A slightly westerly facing array is usually better than an easterly one as that means you continue to generate a little more power in the evenings when you normally use the most. But it should make very little practical difference.
The guys from the Solar Panel Co NI did a fantastic job, installing the ground mount in the garden, erecting the panels, burying the cables that run into Node Zero and connecting everything to the SMA Inverter – all in one day.
Northern Ireland has it’s own incentive scheme (NIRO), like the rest of the UK – England and Wales (RO), Scotland (ROS). ROCs payments continue for 20 years and we cover the economics in part 2 of this review series, but I’ll say this, it’s a special moment when you see your electricity metre slow down, stop and then start to go backwards 🙂
For now checkout the video of the system below and make sure to watch to the end for the obligatory time lapse of the whole day.
Read the full Going Solar Series…