Monday, 28 May 2012

Solar Update...

Phil arrived early last Thursday to fit our new solar panels. The sun was out and warming the marina and it was looking like being another hot day. We had spoken to the marina management and they had agreed to let us stay as late in the day as was required without charging us for another night and had also agreed the use of the wet dock, none of this check out by 10.30 business!  Phil didn’t need the wet dock he was happy to balance on top of LJ and do what was required.

Martin had given Phil a copy of the sketch I had photographed and emailed to him detailing roughly what I wanted done. There was always going to be a bit of a tangle of wires from the front two panels joining up with the rear two and he did his best to keep it all as neat as possible. I expected him to be with us for an hour or so but morning coffee drifted into lunch before Pip and John had to make their way back home. By the time Phil was ready to test the system it was late afternoon and touching 28 deg C, the top of LJ being fairly dark blue was also roasting, Phil looked hot.

As we had been on electric hook up at the marina the battery bank was already at 100% so we wouldn’t start to see the kind of input that we needed until later that, or possibly the next day. What I was really after was to find that I could knock about a third off the engine charging time per day. One hour less would equate to roughly £45 per month and put the diesel spend back on track. It will of course take a while to run through different scenarios to see what savings we can make. I am pleased so far though and although it is another bright and sunny day today we have not started the engine at all. Now we haven’t used much power either as it’s not the weather for TV etc, but the fridge has been struggling to cope with the 30 deg C inside again so has been running at full pelt. It will be likely that the battery bank will be somewhere around the 85% full mark by the time we call it quits tonight. The actual usable %age is between 50 and 100%, if you regularly let the batteries drop lower than 50% nasty things happen and they start to die an early death.  So 10-15% a day could give us about 3/4 days with only a little engine running. Hopefully the lack of sun on cooler days will balance out the fridge being on less, at least until we can save up for a proper 12v fridge that combined with not having to run the inverter will also save a fair wedge of power.

Solar and a nice sunny day!

Next job is to sort out the generator. As the big royal weekend is imminent we will probably hold out another week to sort that, relying on the cob bbq and stove (with all doors and windows open) for cooking.

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