Solar Energy

Solar panels are a great way of boosting your renewable electricity production. As with all these renewable technologies, they have pros and cons.

Pros

  • The energy is easy to manage. There is no need to have dump loads or fancy charge controllers..
  • Straightforward to install.
  • versatile. You can use the power for DC battery charging or invert to AC and use it direct.
  • Huge investement has been done in this area and there are many good and versatile products and mounting options.
  • Easy to comply with government Feed in Tarriffs.
  • Connects and interfaces really well and interactively with the off grid kit we recommend using.

Cons

  • House roof needs to be of a certain orientation and pitch.
  • relatively small output for the surface area involved.
  • To be elidgable for Feed in Tarriffs your property needs to satisfy certain criteria.
  • Relatively low Feed in Tarriff and therefore long payback time.

If your house has a side that faces between South West and South East and you have a roof pitch of about 30 degrees or more then solar may be a viable option even in Scotland. The off grid kit will automatically time any generator runs to maximise the potential solar yield first. The AC power is fed straight to the house with any left over being diverted to charge the batteries. If there is insufficient solar for the demand, the inverter makes up the difference.

The Energy saving Trust has on its website a solar calculator to give an idea of a projected solar yield.

We work closely with Lochaber Renewables for remote solar installations and can give advice and install pretty much any size of array. If your property complies with the energy efficiency criteria, our solar installations will allow you to claim Fed in Tariffs.

Solar arrays need not be mounted on your roof. You can mount them on the ground as well. This can give a better orientation and not compromise the watertight integrity of your roof. Normally this is done on a flat piece of ground but this is not strictly necessary. This array on a remote island was bolted to a sloping rock face giving the owner an additional 3 KW of power.

Groundbasedarray

Hybrid Systems.

A hybrid system is where there is a combination of solar panels and a wind turbine or micro hydro. These items go really well together especially in West Scotland, where in the winter when there is minimal sunlight but there is often plenty of wind or rain. In summer these conditions are often reversed. The combinations are endless but we would recommend hybrid systems for most remote off grid applications in this area. The design of these systems varies hugely depending on individual power requirements.

Please get in touch and we will be happy to advise you.

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Alternative Engineering Solutions