|Because the panels will be located on the games room roof we had to make sure that they were not in shadow. This unfortunately meant removing the old sycamore tree in the front garden. It did however provide a few year's wood ready for when we get the new stove installed in the front room.|
The installation of solar panels also requires a connection to the main fuse board which is 20 metres away in the house. We therefore had to dig a trench to bury a new 10mm armoured cable running from the house to a new fuse box in the games room. We had to be careful not to dig up the mains water pipe but Izzy of course made digging through the clay and flint a relatively painless job. However...
What a nightmare! Every step of the games room building work has led to even more work being required. We did not realise just how badly the building had been constructed. The roof which was supposed to hold the panels had only eight trusses and five of those were above the garage leaving only three trusses to span over 10 meters. This obviously resulted in the roof sagging and because the roof had also been built incorrectly the walls had been pushed out. The end result is that 80% of the games room will need to be completely demolished and rebuilt before the panels can be fitted!
|The solar panels were finally delivered and installed although we weren't too impressed with the final fixing which would not have been water tight. Calls to Schuco technical support backed up our concerns so Solar Focus had to come back and make good the installation. They had left open bolt holes and gaps in the central track which would simply fill with water and pour onto the felt, felt that was damaged when they put their foot through the roof. One of the central track pieces wasn't secured down properly, with no butyl tape underneath and the expensive flashing was badly fitted without enough overlap. Unfortunately I felt the installation was poor.|
|However, they still did not have the inverter so the panels could not be connected and were basically very expensive roof tiles. In fairness to Solar Focus, the whole industry is complaining about supplies because Germany seem to have bought up most available stock in Europe. However, the panel installation did mean that the roof tiles could finally be fitted and the whole room could begin to become water tight. But even this was delayed because the special 20:20 tiles were not ready for delivery and when they were delivered they did not provide enough.|
|Anyway, after this first experiment we then turned on the household circuits and to my surprise, even with everything running, we were still generating more than we were using and exporting power to the grid. That was with the airsource heat pump working, Luke on his Playstation, me working on the computer and all the usual clocks and gadgets plugged in. However, just turn that electric heater on and see the dial instantly whizz the other direction! There is a chart below to monitor the electricity generation.|
Unfortunately we have also noticed that the fittings on the solar panel flashing are already rustings and leaving brown streaks.