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another solar PV query

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by mikhailfaradayski, 13 Jun 2011.

  1. mikhailfaradayski

    mikhailfaradayski

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    Had my ear bent by a plumber today, telling me that solar PV installs are the future. (yea, in England :confused: )

    He reckons that all new homes built after 2016 will no longer be supplied by mains gas, then there will be an explosion in the desirability of such PV installs.

    I've read various points of view about how feasible solar PV is in this country and, so far, I'm not a supporter.

    I've had a little scan around and can see lots of info about houses being 'carbon neutral' by 2016, but so far haven't seen anything to back-up the Plumbers claim that mains gas is to be ditched in 5 years.

    Can anyone point me to info on this (if theres some truth here), or possibly suggest new ways to insult plumbers (if its a load of rubbish)

    Ta V.much

    Mik
     
  2. ricicle

    ricicle

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    Are all new houses going to have south facing roofs ?

    Take a look at any Solar PV specification and see the size of panel required just for a handful of kW. Now compare that to the power capability of an average boiler - 30kW perhaps.

    And this all assumes that the sun is going to shine consistently.

    Your plumber is talking out of his tundish.
     
  3. mikhailfaradayski

    mikhailfaradayski

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    I suspected as much.

    TBF, in his defence, he has been listening to another plumber who seems to just like the sound of his own voice, no matter what incoherent gibberish he is spouting.

    He was also babbling on about some mythical entrepreneurs in London and surrounding areas who are apparently renting roof the roof space out from the owner of the building, installing PV and then selling the electricity back to the owner at a profit (or some such similar story)
     
  4. membergd

    membergd

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    Bit late to the party on this thread, but thought I could contribute...

    PV panel efficiencies are rising steadily, and install costs have come down some 30% in the past 6 months alone. If you have a roof facing any less than 90 degrees from south, then PV is a viable addition to the power you use from the grid. If you combine a PV install with changing your usage habits, such as setting washing machines etc. to run in the day, then it is a positive thing to do.

    PV is VERY feasible at the moment due to government feed in tariffs, these should remain in place for new installs for the next few years at least, and are guaranteed for 25 years for anything installed at the moment. PV has its drawbacks, of course, but in the right location it works very well, and whilst you will generate more power in sunnier countries, it is still a useful technology in the UK.

    Regarding rent-a-roof schemes, there are many different funding models out there. The most popular is for a company to install your panels for free, and the investor will take the tariff. The owner benefits from reduced electric bills. I don't really understand the example you have sited however, and doubt this is happening.
     
  5. Stoday

    Stoday

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    Do not for one minute think that the cost of pv panels is falling 30% in 6 months. This cost reduction is a consequence of increasing competition among installers, as more electricians obtain the necessary certification to install pv.

    The profitability of pv was shown on Dragons' Den where an installer who got in early was proposing to expand his business and become an overnight millionaire.

    The going rate for pv is £3,000/kW provided you negotiate a price effectively.
     
  6. membergd

    membergd

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    Typical install costs have gone from £14-£15K to £9,500-£12, 500 for a 4kW system.

    Distributors buying price for high quality Chinese modules has gone from around £1.30 / w - 90p per W when buying in Container loads of panels since the start of 2011.

    Trade prices on modules have gone from around £1.50 / w to £1.10 / W or less. A full kit for a 4kW system can be had for well under £6K at trade. I know this because I buy and sell PV for a living.

    Prices have fallen that fast. Believe it.

    Dragons Den was probably filmed months ago when there were not many people on the MCS register who knew what they were doing, and those that did were making money hand over fist. There are many people stepping into the market, creating a situation where people are making a fair amount of money, rather than 1000's for a days installation work.
     
  7. mikhailfaradayski

    mikhailfaradayski

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    What about the claim that new build houses after 2016 will not be supplied by mains gas?

    Has anybody heard anything to support (or reject) this claim?
     
  8. riveralt

    riveralt

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    You sound like an advert looking for business - without FIT and constant sunshine they're dead in the water.

    This is an abstract from the Guardian newspaper on a similar scheme to the UK's and should be read by all who still believe in solar PV..

    When the German programme began in 2000, it offered index-linked payments of 51 euro cents for every KWh of electricity produced by solar PV. These were guaranteed for 20 years. This is similar to the UK's initial subsidy, of 41p. As in the UK, the solar subsidy was, and remains, massively greater than the payments for other forms of renewable technology.

    The real net cost of the solar PV installed in Germany between 2000 and 2008 was €35bn. The paper estimates a further real cost of €18bn in 2009 and 2010: a total of €53bn in ten years. These investments make wonderful sense for the lucky householders who could afford to install the panels, as lucrative returns are guaranteed by taxing the rest of Germany's electricity users. But what has this astonishing spending achieved? By 2008 solar PV was producing a grand total of 0.6% of Germany's electricity. 0.6% for €35bn. Hands up all those who think this is a good investment.

    After years of these incredible payments, and the innovation and cost reductions they were supposed to stimulate, the paper estimates that saving one tonne of carbon dioxide through solar PV in Germany still costs €716. The International Energy Agency has produced an even higher estimate: €1000 per tonne. There are dozens of ways in which you can save carbon for 100th of the cost of solar PV at high latitudes.


    The full article can be read here.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2010/mar/11/solar-power-germany-feed-in-tariff
     
  9. membergd

    membergd

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    mikhai... New build houses not supplied by mains gas sounds like rubbish to me. It may be achieveable one day, but no chance by 2016, and especially not with solar as it doesn't work at night when we are all cooking!

    riveralt - I work in the industry, so of course I believe in the technology or why would I do it? I am not however touting for business. Nothing I have said is not a fact. I am simply putting across my professional perspective in what seems to be an overly negative thread towards PV.

    Without the FIT the industry is not financially viable at present - I have not denied this. The long term aim of the FIT is to kick start an industry in the UK (which it has done) and with improved technology and reduced costs, "grid parity" is a realistic opportunity in the medium to long term. With electrcicity prices up 18% this year from many providers, the case for microgeneration is getting stronger.

    PV is a commendable effort to start building a sustainable future - microgenerated PV (in conjunction with other technologies and changing energy use behaviour) is a positve step in my opinion.

    Nuclear power is also massively subsidised, and the gross total of those subsidies eclipses anything put out for solar, so whilst I appreciate the argument from the Guardian, it is not representative of the whole picture. The only viable energy source at the moment is fossil fuels, and we all know the long term issues associated with that.
     
  10. mikhailfaradayski

    mikhailfaradayski

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    Hi membergd,

    It sounds like rubbish to me too, but since I don't know everything about everything, I was reserving judgment just in case miracles do happen and this particular guy actually knows what he is talking about. (He does seem to like the sound of his own voice and has a tendancy to get carried away when his lips are flapping at full speed, but he could have a seed of truth in there somewhere?)
     
  11. riveralt

    riveralt

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    To aid and abet the robbing of the poor to feed the rich maybe :evil:
    Well actually two negatives do make a positive
    Indeed in the lab they have achieved 20.2% - with a theorectical limit of around 29%, compared to wind 30% - you might have a point but when compared to nuclear at 95% your don't.

    Not at present and never will be.
    Good luck on your endeavors, just remember the tale of all those who leapt on the HIPs bandwagon.
     
  12. membergd

    membergd

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    It isn't impossible, and maybe he knows something I don't? I just can't see how PV will replace gas in the short term. The problems include (but are not limited to):

    Irregular and unpredictable supply (PV doesn't work very well when covered in snow!)
    Inadequate power for a whole home on current module efficiencies, unless you have a massive roof space, or ground mounted system.
    no power at night (unless you have costly, inefficient and polluting battery systems)
    PV struggles to power high drain appliances such as cookers, kettles etc.

    I DON'T think PV has all the answers. It can be another part of the solution though.
     
  13. membergd

    membergd

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    (sorry for the poor formatting - not used to this site!)
     
  14. Wontdothatagain

    Wontdothatagain

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  15. JohnD

    JohnD

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    greenshops price estimator comes out a lot higher than SSE quoted me.
     
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