Another record month! We've had, on the whole, a very mild October with plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures, and our output was an incredible 53% above predicted levels!
Whilst this is very pleasing, we do have to remember that it is Autumn now, so even though we are well over what we'd hoped, in kWh terms the output is still down on September.
This means that even when there is only a light amount of cloud, we often only have around 500W of power for our office. This is still enough to give us lighting and run all our computers and printers etc, but we can definitely see the downwards trend.
The output fluctuation is also far more erratic throughout most days - dropping from 2000W+ down to 500W and back again regularly. There are many ideas on "green" forums where Solar PV owners propose that they will setup a small (<3kW) immersion heater wired to a timer so that they can take advantage of free electricity to heat their water. In my opinion this is definitely not a good idea.
If we had done this it would be virtually impossible to guarantee times during the day when there would be sufficient output to run the immersion, meaning that we'd be paying for outside electricty to run it (not cost effective!). This only becomes more true as the weather gets colder.
In order for the idea to make real savings I suspect a dedicated computer or device would be needed to constantly monitor the solar PV output / current building usage and control the immersion directly. Such a setup would of course be fairly costly itself...
As I type this there is a definite winter chill in the air and if we can fully power our office for many days from November to January I will be surprised!
In the graph below, the yellow line indicates the average level we needed to reach each day (7.359kWh) in order to meet the predicted monthly total. The blue line shows the average level we actually reached (11.284kWh).
|Predicted (kWh)||Actual (kWh)||%|
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