Rushcliffe Solar

Rushcliffe Solar started as a Transition West Bridgford campaign to encourage greater use of Photovoltaic home power generation systems in Rushcliffe borough, but we are always willing to answer an enquiry from other towns in the region. There are many buildings and entire streets with roofs which have a good view of the Sun and could produce power for the Grid and Income for the occupants. Hit the You Enquire tab to get a free appraisal of the photovoltaic potential for your building. Email:
If you are thinking about it, do not be put off by recent changes in the tariff!: Since April 2012, the tariff was reduced to 21 pence/unit and ones on poorly insulated buildings get only 9 pence/unit. There have been further reductions since. Use the Expertsure calculator to check out your house and see if it is still worth doing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Good Energy help Home Generators

28 June: This a non-commercial plug here, because of course, everybody makes their own choice of whom to supply electricity - based on price usually, but the change can also be made on ethical grounds. We made the choice 4 years ago to change to Good Energy as they are the only UK electricity supplier who are 100% renewable based energy - under their charter they can only deliver electricity in quantities that they can procure as completely renewable. So every new customer is an additional incentive for investment in wind, solar, tidal energy.
   They do have a wind-farm of their own at Delabole, but they need more power suppliers if they want to take on more customers. Therefore they are extremely eager to sign up Home Generators and give them plenty of support. Before the Feed-in Tariff began in April 2010, they were paying us a sort of early feed in tariff of 15p per unit (instead of the normal selling price of 5p per unit) from 1st October 2009 to 1st April 2010. So even if the FiT had never happened, they would still have provided income for some payback.
   If you do not have your own generating capacity, you pay a bit more than the cheapest, but what you pay is furthering investment in wind-farms and home generation.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Added an "About PV" page

26 June: As we are getting Rushcliffe Solar up and going more, I have added an About PV page which is in the Tab at the top of the website. There is also a Financial Q+A page. It's full of answers to the questions that seem to be asked most often.
    Similar answers can be found on many websites about Photovoltaic, but if you are here now, it provides you with good advice, and it is very Rushcliffe oriented, and spiced up with the author's personal experience. When people I meet ask more more questions, I will add the answers to this page.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

PV Costing Seminar at EvoEnergy

24 June: Some of the Rushcliffe Solar team went for a 2 hour seminar with EvoEnergy today, working up a formula for providing safe but independent budget estimates of installations. The idea is to be able to give people an idea of payback before they get into the more complicated business of seeking three tenders from suppliers etc.
Income would be based on the amount of PV installed, where it is on the building, and the Feed in Tariff. Cost is affected by currency, volume manufacturing, scaffolding, building shape etc, but we managed to agree with EE a 'ballpark' figure for varying sizes of installation, up to a maximum of 4kW installed. Payback is a ratio of cost to income.
In the photo: Yu Wei Luo (UoN), Tim Saunders (EST), Chris Brookes (EE) and David Nicholson-Cole (UoN)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another sunny Solstice!

21 June: Report from Peveril Solar house: It was nice that the last two solstices, Dec 21 and June 21 were both sunny days, so one could compare. In this diagram, the two Poisson curves are at the same time and power scales, and show the difference impressively. Other people might go and watch the Sun rising over Stonehenge or Glastonbury Tor.... But me? I check the PV meter and the SMA website. How sad is that! .... :)
   Because we have a high hill to the south, the winter sunrise is an hour later than on level ground, and the sunset an hour earlier. So there is daylight, but not sunlight, hence the tail in and sudden steep rise at the start of the December solstice. By March equinox, the hill has less effect. At this time of year in June, the roof is consistently outperforming all the predictions, and with the sun rising and setting in the north quadrants, the hill has no impact on the performance.
   We have had no payment from the Feed in Tariff yet, the first one can't be expected until October. If you have PV now, don't forget to register!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rushcliffe Solar moves up to a new plane!

July 17: Things have gone quiet a bit, and needed stirring up. We had a meeting of the Rushcliffe Solar working group, and decided to make a real fresh start and get this project going more seriously for the coming summer. David N-C (Nottm University), Tim Saunders (Energy Savings Trust), Paul Philips (Rushcliffe BC) and Richard Mallender (Rushcliffe BC) met at Rushcliffe's Civic Centre.
   IN short: we will go ahead with the project, employ two university students for two months in the summer, find space for them to work, and embark on the solar mapping of West Bridgford, with a view to expanding residents' awareness of the potential for home generation with Photovoltaic. This is likely to start end of June, probably the 28th. Before that we will have a short training course for the students.
   We are likely to partner with one of the key installers in the region, plus an architect's office who have offered space to our students for the summer.
  More will be written about this when more details emerge.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weather Comment and Form filling

17 June : Weather: April had about 40% more sunshine than we might have expected from the computer prediction, and May about 25% more - if the real output of my Photovoltaic roof is anything to judge by. June started badly with some days that reminded me of February, but has now caught up nicely with a sequence of sunny days, and the colder air temperatures giving us good solar capture. We have had a couple of 'Best of the Year' days where combinations of good sun and north wind (cold air) have produced over 25 kWhrs in a single day - on the 4th and 16th June.

Form Filling
If anybody reading this now has solar PV panels installed, don't forget to register as a Microgenerator. There are forms to fill out and send off, but don't be put off by this - you are, after all, signing up to receive quite a substantial amount of money from the electric utilities for the next 25 yrs, so a little bit of checking is required. You are likely to have to ring up your electric utility to get some of the details finalised (eg your 'generating station number' and ROC ID).  For form filling you also want to have meter reading handy, especially at the key moments of April 1 and October 1.

Read the meter regularly:   It is also worth recording your meter readings, either daily or weekly, so you can compare your actual installation with what is theoretically possible according to the computer model. There is no tuning you can do, other than checking for bird shit on the panels... well rotating the house to face south better would do better, but that's slightly more difficult.
  If you have a handheld meter, the numbers will roll off when they are 30 days old, but you can download them with a USB cable to your PC/Mac, and of course you can read daily totals off your LCD display on the inverter. If you are really information minded, your inverter may be able to take a Web router, that sends data to the SMA website in Germany and stores/displays your data for ever - every day for the last or the next ten years! (you can see an example of this in a few articles below)
  My meter readings are a bit manic, as you can see from but you don't have to be quite this obsessive! If you do want to be this obsessive, then do not be afraid to ask for copies of the spreadsheet formulae, so that you can use dates and times to computer daily generation and consumption.

Location - check your location