My Secret Life as a Generator

It has been an exciting week this week, as I have now officially become a micro-generator and as such am playing my part in supplying the grid with clean, green electricity – albeit a rather modest amount!  My small, but perfectly formed, 1.68KWp PV system was commissioned last Friday and has been hard at work generating all week.

Here are some of the figures from my first week in the generation business:

Total KWhs generated: Approx 40

Typical daily KWh generated: 5  to 6

Hours of generation 8am – 8pm

Peak generation so far: 1.6 KWh

Total FIT income: Approx £18

What has surprised me the most is that, even first thing in the morning (8ish) when the sun is not directly on my panels, I am still generating enough to easily cover my ‘base load’ electricity.  Also, even when it is totally overcast and pouring with rain, I am still generating enough to cover my typical usage.

A slightly irritating aspect is my average daily use of electricity is 5KWh (this hardly varies throughout the year); so if there was a viable, and affordable, battery technology that could store my excess generation through the day, in summer I would be totally self-reliant on my own power.  And hence for 6 months of the year my electricity bills would be zero.

One really useful gadget is the Wattson Solar RTD which was given to me as part of the package by my installer Joju Solar.  This nifty device displays lots of different data.  You can see what you are generating in real time; what you are using and then a net consumption value.  I tend to keep it on the net consumption as It great when it displays a negative value – telling me my generation is outweighing my consumption.

So, so far so good.  The system seems to be working optimally, and even with our changeable weather this week it has delivered a reasonable amount of power.  The Wattson allows a download of all the data onto computer, so I will be able to create graphs of generation and usage to share with fellow data nerds in future.  Watch this space.

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