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Deep Cycle Batteries in the UK

Discussion in 'Photovoltaics' started by John, Feb 11, 2007.

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  1. John

    John Guest

    Hi! I just wonder if there is anyone posting in these groups from the
    UK who is into homepower and solar stuff? If so I wondered where you
    get your deep cycle batteries from? Where can you get good value i.e.
    more AH for your Pound? And what kind of set up have you got?

    At the moment I am just doing something small to start with. I am
    going to get a UPS for my computer, but I am going to have a deep
    cycle battery connected up to it so I can have my computer system
    powered for longer during any power cut.

    I think eventually I will possibly get either a solar panel or maybe
    even some sort of pedal power system to keep the batteries charged up
    instead of powering off the mains.

  2. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    With the relatively low insolation in the UK how can it make any sense to have
    PV ?

  3. John

    John Guest

    I believe that the Swiss TISO test institute in the past has done
    tests on different PV panels and quite a number of them perform very
    well in Northern climes with low light. I believe Unisolar and Siemens
    make solar panels that are particularly good in low light. There are
    probably other makes too.

    Energy prices in the UK both Gas and Electric have gone up quite a lot
    in recent years and they are highly likely to continue going up in the
    future. We are only just deciding to build more nuclear power plants
    so that future demand will be met.

    I read a post from one bloke here in the UK on the Motley Fool
    website, and he has put in a solar system that just heats his water
    for shower, hot water and radiators etc. The system he had installed
    cost just over £4000. He has posted back a year later and for his
    family that is translating into a saving of just over £400. So it
    would take just under 10 years for this system to pay for itself in
    his case probably slightly sooner if energy prices keep going up.

    I imagine that you could do this system with a complete DIY approach
    and even save on the costs of this particular bloke. You could source
    all the solar panels from the United States as the exchange rate is
    quite good at the moment, and the prices are a lot lower anyway in the
    States for solar panels and there is a lot more competition. Then if
    you did the installation yourself, you could reduce the cost of such a
    system quiet a lot perhaps between as much as 25% and 50%.


  4. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Do you have any specific info rather than belief ?

    They're just about to go down again actually !

    Let's just think about that.

    £400 p.a. equates to ~ £1.10 per day.

    You would normally use gas to heat your water and £1.10 equates to 44kWh ! To
    collect that much on average you'd need around 10 sq metres of solar collectors.
    Worse still you collect least when you need it most. Make that say at least 15 sq
    metres to account for that.

    I'm entirely confident that he's just making it up !

  5. Landline

    Landline Guest

    Unisolar - low light, cold and winter is a very interesting concept used all
    in the same sentence.

    Unisolar in cold are terrible compared to crystalline, hate the red shift in
    the sun in winter and no idea where you get the idea of 'low light'.

    Unless I lived in the tropics or close to I would not entertain a Unisolar.

    Perhaps you could tell us where you found this data.
  6. Karl S

    Karl S Guest

    While I'm not in the UK, I can tell you the modified UPS you are
    considering works well here in the US. I got a "broken" UPS for free,
    found that the 12v gell battery had failed, and connected in a
    deep-cycle 12v battery (in a plastic box to protect the furniture and
    carpet) in its place. The charger built into the UPS wasn't designed to
    charge a 90Ah battery, but other than the slow recharge all went well.
  7. Landline

    Landline Guest

    More likely the reason why you don't want to post here is not a flame war.

    The reason is you could have a dodgy brand/type, way overpriced, or wanting
    to hide something.
  8. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    All good stuff but jow about taking account of the data here.....

    Location: 51°40'8" North, 0°21'27" West, Elevation: 59 m a.s.l,
    Nearest city: Watford, United Kingdom (3 km away)

    Month Irradiation at inclination: 40 deg (Wh/m2/day)
    Jan 1229
    Feb 1995
    Mar 2770
    Apr 4097
    May 4527
    Jun 4583
    Jul 4754
    Aug 4458
    Sep 3531
    Oct 2453
    Nov 1485
    Dec 910
    Year 3071

    Those ET Solar panels claim 14% efficiency and I thought I saw a 2m^2 one on for £699 ( no batteries, inverter etc ).

    Even so if it can only generate an average of 2kWh daily between Dec and Jan how
    much use is that really ?

    I made that a mere 314kWh of electricity generation annually. The economics
    don't even bear looking at !

  9. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Ooops ! That's 0.3 kWh. I forgot the 14% efficiency.

    That's 0.3 kWh of DC out of the panel before losses due to the charge controller,
    battery and inverter.

  10. John

    John Guest


    We use approximately 13600 units a year of electricity. Average cost
    from our electricity company including any service charges and vat at
    5% is almost 10p per unit (20 us cents). So our Electric bill is about
    £1300 per year ($2600 usd).

    I wasn't really considering getting a full pv system as the costs are
    too astronomical especially if you go with a UK company and the pay
    back time is too long. I was perhaps just thinking of going with a
    solar thermal system with just the one large panel for heating water.

    Heating water is one of the biggest costs and this system wouldn't get
    rid of the £1300 a year electric bill, but it would take a sizeable
    dent into it as well as the gas bill. Between the gas and electric
    probably about £600 a year is down to heating, maybe even more.

    The person I have been speaking with here in the UK who has had a
    Solar thermal system put in said that the maximum grant you can get is
    up to £400 but that's only if you get the panels from a UK company not
    if you buy them and do the install yourself.

    Getting the panels from a UK company though you are going to be paying
    well over the odds for a solar panel, and the installation is where
    the large costs are too.

    If you just bought a good panel from a US company that comes with a
    long warranty, you could take advantage of the really good exchange
    rate for the pound to the dollar. You could then have it shipped over
    and you still wouldn't have paid as much for your panel even after
    shipping vat and duty than if you had bought it from a UK company.

    There are a large number of great companies in the US selling solar
    panels. You could install the system yourself and save a lot of money,
    and you would be better off financially than if you had gone with a UK
    company and even got a full £400 grant.

    The bloke I have been speaking with reckons his heating bills have
    been cut quite a lot by having the solar heating system he went with.

    If you're sensible and keep your costs to a minimum and go the DIY
    route here in the UK, a solar set up like this can work, and it could
    pay back in a fairly reasonable period of time.

    You might think otherwise because everything seems so expensive in the
    UK, but the big thing here is that electricity and gas prices are very
    high at the moment, the grid is not dirt cheap like in the US.

    So if you are prudent and keep costs to a minimum on a solar set up
    like this then pay back time could probably be within a decade for a
    solar thermal system due to the high energy costs, and even in the UK
    with less sunlight than Texas and Timbuktu etc.

    As far as the panels are concerned, can anyone tell me what panels you
    would recommend? As far as I can remember it was someone in either
    the photovoltaic or the homepower newsgroup (this was about a year
    ago) who said that the UniSolar panels were good as well as Siemens.
    At the time they pointed me in the direction of an article at the TISO
    test institute site but I can't seem to find the article now.

    What panel's do you recommend? Are Siemens not any good? BP? Which
    type of panel would you recommend beside the make? Multi-crystalline?
    The UK isn't rain all the time any more we have been having a lot of
    great summers of late with lots of sun. Sure it's not an Arizona or
    Sydney but it isn't permanently overcast here.


  11. Mike

    Mike Guest

    'Quite a lot'

    hmm, an extremely accurate saving and typical of a non scientific
    approach to alternative energy.

    Forget solar hot water, solar heating and PV and just do the

    Insulate, insulate, insulate, then insulate even more.
    Change your boiler to a condensing one
    Install a heat recovery system
    Forget double glazing unless you live in a greenhouse

    Going by current tends and forecasts of where the prices and
    technology of photovoltaics are heading then it's still a dead end for
    some Western European and North American users and certainly a waste
    of money those above about 40 deg N. Maybe 15-20 years from now
    things might be different, until then for the majority of consumers
    it's a complete waste of money even if you install them yourself. If
    you pay for a commercial install then you'd be better off ripping up
    50 quid notes and cramming them down the composting bog.

    If you are prepared to live completely off grid and adapt your
    lifestyle accordingly then it might make sense but unless you can
    survive in the depths of winter with the meagre output from half a
    dozen 100W panels then forget it.

    If you have a swimming pool or bath or shower or wash clothes a lot
    during the summer months then solar water heating might make some
    sense, otherwise its again a complete waste of money unless you DIY
    the whole job as commercially installed systems will never make their
    costs of installation back regardless of the patter of the sales

    Above all INSULATE

    Did I mention insulate?

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