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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    Solar PV RIP?

    A lot of people think solar PV is dead, but they are labouring under a misapprehension, yes the Feed in Tariff scheme is about to end but it is no longer needed. My local University has just installed solar panels on several buildings on its campus outside of the Feed in tariff scheme, the installations were economic without it. One of our best local private schools is about to commission its fourth solar PV system, the first three, which have all been instilled in the last few years, are returning at 12% or more on investment and the best one at almost 16%, the next installation will give returns of over 12% and the capital costs are coming down. Energy prices are only ever going to rise so these returns will actually increase over the coming years.

    Dead, not by a long way
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    Without the FIT payments where is the return coming from? As predominantly daytime consumers I assume they can use most of the generation so is that where the return figures come from?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    Yes, exactly, they can self supply cheaper than they can buy from the grid and once installed their costs are fixed but grid electricity prices rise most likely ahead of inflation so they are better off doing it than not.
    • CommentAuthorGarethC
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    https://www.pv-magazine.com/features/investors/module-price-index/

    I hadn't realised that module costs are down over 25% even in just the last year. Got to help.

    FiTs removal I get. But still can't get my head around removing export payments completey. Forced to give excess leccy away for free. Bizarre and really unhelpful.
  1.  
    Over here you get the wholesale price of power for what you export to the grid - a small fraction of what you are charged for power taken from the grid. (i.e. as much as possible is stripped out of the payment e.g. grid cost etc.) The effect is that people only put in enough on their roof to cover their needs on an annual basis and reconciliation is done annually.

    At the moment the general figure quoted is for an 11 year ROI on domestically installed PV and with an 80% output guarantee for 25 years on the panels makes some sense for those with the spare funds to install PV.

    However the EU recently announced removal of import tariffs on Chinese PV which is expected to drive down module prices by as much as 30% almost immediately and there is forecast a 40% growth in new PV installations for 2019. It will be interesting to see how much the price actually drops and what that does to the ROI figures.

    So with the removal of EU tariffs and the Trump tech tariffs placed on Chinese goods there is an expectation of a push on Chinese PV sales into Europe.
    • CommentAuthorGarethC
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    Website I link to already suggests removal of MIP had an impact in the latest month.
  2.  
    MIP ??
    • CommentAuthorskyewright
    • CommentTime5 days ago edited
     
    Posted By: GarethC
    FiTs removal I get. But still can't get my head around removing export payments completey. Forced to give excess leccy away for free. Bizarre and really unhelpful.

    For the vast majority the current export payment was based on a simple assumption of 50% of generation, as recorded by the official FIT TGM (Total Generation Meter). If there is no FIT, there is no official TGM reading to base the export on.

    Proper export payments would require a proper export meter, and proper meter readings.

    We happen to have a 'proper export meter' (it used to be a free option when signing up for FIT with SSE). We export well over 50%, but even so the export payments are tiny compared to the FIT (we installed very early). Biggest ever quarter export payment was just under £40. In the winter quarter it can be less than £2. It's very hard to see handling the admin for that alone as at all attractive to an electricity co.

    Maybe government & electricity companies would rather just encourage self-consumption (with or without battery storage)?
    • CommentAuthorGarethC
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    Ah I see. And net metering, which would seem a solution, I think someone told me would actually be quite complicated to introduce in the UK.

    Alternatively, couldn't they pay a one-off, lump sum grant subsidy, roughly based on expected total export contribution to the grid over the lifetime of the install, on new installs? Even a £500 one-off payment for a 4kW system would knock a decent chunk off current installation costs, while being less subsidy than the current system pays out in just a few years (I think).

    Peter MIP = Minimum Import Price = EU tarrifs (again I think!)
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime5 days ago edited
     
    Posted By: skyewrightMaybe government & electricity companies would rather just encourage self-consumption (with or without battery storage)?

    Evolving battery technology/price/availability is key.
    Without battery, the main function of the grid is 'storage' - with battery, little need to feed back transient surplus, so need for grid connection is only for peak demand i.e. if the PV installation is undersized.

    That's on a per-house basis - if in future local mini-grids can be organised, with micro-trading payments between neighbours, then load averaging maybe with voluntary peak-load reduction strategies, can make grid connection really obsolete.
    • CommentAuthordickster
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    The golden goose has laid a little egg and so we've been thinking about biting the PV bullet.

    Trouble is we only use 5kWh per day, so payback even if we install before March is going to take us past our own sell-by dates.

    So we've been sitting on the fence a tad. With a 4kWhp system we will generate twice as much as we use a year, maybe with a Powerwall 2 later on if and when the islanding feature is available. On the other hand we think about the cost to the environment of the kit and the fact that we are about to switch to Ecotricity or similar in the near future. So what's the right thing to do?

    Then on Monday the IPC report came out. We guess it's better to be producing and exporting than not, but it's all a bit problematical.
  3.  
    Posted By: GarethCAh I see. And net metering, which would seem a solution, I think someone told me would actually be quite complicated to introduce in the UK.

    Does it require anything more than making it 'legal' and reasonable to have a meter that can reverse (provided you can show a legitimate reason for the reversal)?
  4.  
    Posted By: dickster
    Trouble is we only use 5kWh per day, so payback even if we install before March is going to take us past our own sell-by dates.

    Does PV absolutely have to have a full financial payback, as in 'paying for itself', for it to be worthwhile?
    Of all the other things your golden egg might be spent on, how many are going to 'pay for themselves', ever?
  5.  
    Im just installing a 12kW job for a client on his offices/manufacturering unit , he's not really that interested in FITS , he like the idea of solar , and considers a worthwhile investment in term of finance and social environmental benefits.
    like you say Skyewright it doesn't have to be all about the money.

    but if we're talking money just to give you guys an idea im paying about 29p/W for 300W panels
    all in materials are around 55p/W ex.
  6.  
    Posted By: GarethCAnd net metering, which would seem a solution, I think someone told me would actually be quite complicated to introduce in the UK.


    Posted By: skyewrightDoes it require anything more than making it 'legal' and reasonable to have a meter that can reverse

    Correct - That is what happens over here. When you install grid tied PV you get a bidirectional meter and you can opt for annual reconciliation which will iron out the summer/winter differances
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime4 days ago edited
     
    Posted By: Peter_in_Hungary
    Posted By: GarethCAnd net metering, which would seem a solution, I think someone told me would actually be quite complicated to introduce in the UK.
    Posted By: skyewrightDoes it require anything more than making it 'legal' and reasonable to have a meter that can reverse
    Correct - That is what happens over here. When you install grid tied PV you get a bidirectional meter and you can opt for annual reconciliation which will iron out the summer/winter differances

    Net metering is a fudge just like the FIT though. It's an alternative incentive scheme. No other generator gets retail price for energy sent to the grid at a time of their choosing. As Tom says, storage is the key and that's where the incentives should be now. (Admittedly, I'm happy with my 2015 FIT incentive, so I'm biased) :shocked:
  7.  
    Posted By: djh
    Posted By: Peter_in_Hungary
    Posted By: GarethCAnd net metering, which would seem a solution, I think someone told me would actually be quite complicated to introduce in the UK.
    Posted By: skyewrightDoes it require anything more than making it 'legal' and reasonable to have a meter that can reverse
    Correct - That is what happens over here. When you install grid tied PV you get a bidirectional meter and you can opt for annual reconciliation which will iron out the summer/winter differances

    Net metering is a fudge just like the FIT though. It's an alternative incentive scheme. No other generator gets retail price for energy sent to the grid at a time of their choosing. As Tom says, storage is the key and that's where the incentives should be now. (Admittedly, I'm happy with my 2015 FIT incentive, so I'm biased)http:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/shocked.gif" alt=":shocked:" title=":shocked:" >

    It's not fudge. if the the end of the year your meter is +ve then you pay the retail price for the kWhs if however the meter is -ve then you get the wholesale production price for your excess over usage which is lots less than the retail price (which is why over here no domestic PV is installed with more than the calculated annual usage)
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryIt's not fudge. if the the end of the year your meter is +ve then you pay the retail price for the kWhs if however the meter is -ve then you get the wholesale production price for your excess over usage which is lots less than the retail price (which is why over here no domestic PV is installed with more than the calculated annual usage)

    It is a fudge. Why should you effectively be paid retail price for electricity that you contribute to the grid, and especially why should you get to determine the price, rather than the spot price in the wholesale market at the time you contribute? Basically, you produce most in the summer, during the day, whilst the peak demand and price is in the winter during the evening. Now historically, firms have chosen to smooth out the price variations and charge a constant rate throughout the year, but that doesn't reflect reality.
  8.  
    I wonder if it will become easier for PV to be installed by general builders or roofers or DIY, maybe with a sparky to finalise the hook up. There's not much market for this yet because everyone had to bring in a MCS outfit, or no subsidy.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    @WillInAberdeen

    I hope so, since installation costs are a disproportionate and growing fraction of system costs, with PV costs continuing to fall rapidly. Maybe with microinverters per panel (so no HVDC wiring to contend with) it will become safe and easy and relatively unskilled to install a good PV system...

    Rgds

    Damon
  9.  
    Posted By: djhIt is a fudge. Why should you effectively be paid retail price for electricity that you contribute to the grid, and especially why should you get to determine the price, rather than the spot price in the wholesale market at the time you contribute? Basically, you produce most in the summer, during the day, whilst the peak demand and price is in the winter during the evening. Now historically, firms have chosen to smooth out the price variations and charge a constant rate throughout the year, but that doesn't reflect reality.

    Here, at no time do you get the retail price for the electricity you contribute to the grid, what you get is the annualised wholesale production price. And yes energy providers smooth the price variations to give an annualised rate because the meters and the billing can't cope with anything else (enter smart meters??) and I doubt that consumers could cope either, so to follow in the same manner domestic PV grid contribution is also paid at the annualised wholesale production price - which as I said is nowhere near the (annualised) retail price which will include grid/distribution charges and VAT
  10.  
    Will, without FITs MCS no longer has a purpose other than a self regulation quality control for customer after that sort of thing.
    All your need is a roofer and a sparky with PV knowledge to do the install and inform the DNO pre/ post
    installation depending on system size with the correct form
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime4 days ago edited
     
    Or even, like other electrics, DIY if you can find an electrician to sign the work off?
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    Yes, that should become an option.

    I've long advocated for making at least the low end of microgeneration as easy and simple as possible, without giving up safety...

    http://www.earth.org.uk/note-on-G83-lite.html

    Rgds

    Damon
  11.  
    Sounds promising! Then, a market needs to develop for roofer-friendly panels that come with integrated microinverters per panel, and foolproof weatherproof AC plug connectors. Sparky runs a radial to the CU with fuse and an isolator.

    Presumably no generation meter is needed, if you're not getting paid for it.

    Is G83 notification still value-adding at that point, or could it be covered by the general Part P for the job (or Scottish eqv)
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime3 days ago
     
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryHere, at no time do you get the retail price for the electricity you contribute to the grid, what you get is the annualised wholesale production price. ... which as I said is nowhere near the (annualised) retail price

    Every kWh that is netted is effectively paid at the retail price! It's only any surplus power that is paid at wholesale.
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTime3 days ago edited
     
    Will , G83 is a statutory requirement if you want your system connected to the DNO grid.
    Personally I think the PV panel DC cable to main inverter to CU is the most robust simple setup. It's pretty much 'plug and play' and reduced the amount of components up on the roof that might go wrong.
    A simple small system with one or two strings and each string having the panel all with the same solar exposure is well within the skill set of any roofer and electrician with a bit of sense, a short read of the mounting kit and inverter installation instructions tell you 99% of what you need to know to do the job. Rewiring a house offers more physical and mental challenges than installing a simple pv system.
  12.  
    Damon , I like your G83 lite idea , most people's background load would eat up 500W so in practice nanogeneration of a few hundred watts would never export anyway. One issue that springs to mind is what ever generated the power would have to be design well to cover it's embodied energy etc as it would be such a small producer over its life.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTime3 days ago
     
    Yes, the emboddied energy point is good: I'll add it to my piece.

    Note that our household background load is ~60W (varies between about 20W and 100W depending on what the fridge/freezer is up to).

    Rgds

    Damon
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTime3 days ago edited
     
    Posted By: DamonHDNote that our household background load is ~60W (varies between about 20W and 100W depending on what the fridge/freezer is up to).


    Why doesnt that surprise me,
    glad to see you're still fighting the good fight :bigsmile:

    mine was pretty low too until the kid discovered xbox :shocked:
    I have to admit since I've installed PV im a bit lazier in that direction , which is one of those rebound issues you get with energy efficiency activities
   
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