Our solar PV installation – a year on…

Following on from the previous short post about our experiences of a new Ground Source Heat Pump system a year after its installation, here’s an even shorter post about how our solar PV array has performed a year on from when it was installed.

(For earlier posts about our solar PV installation, read these…)

Our installation comprises of 20 x Linuo 195Wp monocrystalline PV panels mounted on Schüco Lite rails connecting to an SMA SunnyBoy SB4000TL-20 inverter. The installation was specified, supplied and fitted by the excellent Greenday Renewables based at Fort Dunlop, Birmingham.

The original estimate for the total annual output of our installation, based on historical local climate and meteorological data, was 3,560 kWh. Our actual output for the first year has been 3,585 kWh which I’m pleased with given how much poor weather we’ve had this year.

As we managed to secure the higher Feed in Tariff (FiT) rate of 43.4p/kWh at installation time (which increases every year as it is index linked) we have generated an income of around £1,700 for this first year, plus any additional savings from not having to import as much electricity by using our own generated electricity as much as possible. Based on these figures the system should have paid for itself within 5 years.

Being a true geek, one of the first things I did after the system was installed was to set up some automated logging and reporting of data acquired from the inverter by connecting to its bluetooth interface. This data logging solution has evolved over time but is now implemented using the open source sma-bluetooth project running on a Raspberry Pi single board computer with a USB bluetooth adapter, storing captured data in a MySQL database and producing real-time web accessible charts using PHP and the excellent Highcharts library.

I look forward to reporting on how the system has performed after it’s second anniversary!