Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Solar perplexus

It’s an astonishing 5 years since we got our solar panel on Herbie.  Seems like only yesterday.  Anyhow we’re still very pleased with it although of course we could always do with more .  These days we don’t seem to be in such a hurry to get somewhere and it’s not uncommon for us to stay in one place for a couple of days or more.  So, I thought I’d have a look at what it would take to expand our solarosity. (or should that be solaraciousness?)  We could of course move to the South of France and get more sun more often, but the beer is terrible, so plan B is to get another panel. The idea is to up our power from 95W to 200 W. That’s where it gets difficult.

You can’t just go around connecting any old panel to your existing stuff. Oh no, because the panels have to match else one will drag the other down.  Apparently it’s not even a good idea to add a new one of the same make and spec as the old one as they gradually degrade and the old one pulls down the new one.  I’m told that there is clever trickery you can do with diodes  to alleviate the problem but diodes are inefficient things at the best of times. In any case our original Kyocera panel is hard to get these days and it is very expensive compared with more modern panels. I can buy two or three decent 100W panels for less than we paid for our 95W one.  Amazing!

So. If we can sort out a couple of new panels that will fit on what space we have on Herbie’s roof, I’ll find some lucky person to have our old one cheap.  We’ll have to sell our controller as well because we’ll need a bigger one. Then of course I’ll have to make or buy tilting mountings for each panel, and while I’m at it paint that bit of Herbie’s roof which has got a bit knocked about by the current frame feet.  Typical DiY, a simple job turns out to be more than you think.

First job is to get out to Herbie and re-measure our roof space, dodging chimneys and mushroom vents.  This could run and run.

1 comment:

Frank Clarijs said...

And why not just add a new panel (which you intend to do anyway) and an additional converter? That way you don't have to throw away the old panel.
(of course you need to have the place for the second converter and teh additional cabling ...).

Just an idea.