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Solar System for Low Carbon Home in St Albans

Our latest installation in the Clarence Park area of St Albans was a particularly interesting one. The eco-minded customer had already disconnected their gas supply and installed an air-source heat pump (requiring a 3 phase electricity supply upgrade), but had been let down by a previous solar installer panels had already been put on the roof. The customer requirements were as follows:

  • Power their home and electric vehicle (EV) from the sun as much as possible.

  • Install the equipment outdoors in a tight space in the side alley of the house.

  • Get access to time of use tariffs so as to be able to buy electricity from the grid at off-peak rates to further increase their savings.

  • Have the system installed asap so the customer could make the most of the Summer sun .

As accredited installers of GivEnergy, we found that their new 3 phase hybrid inverter with a stackable high voltage battery would be the best fit for the customer environment for the following reasons:

  • The hybrid 3 phase inverter meant that each phase could output 3.68kW of electricity (11 kW in total), which would comfortably cover all house loads during the day and still fall under the G98 requirements for connecting power generating equipment to the grid.

  • The stackable battery system could be added to in the future should more storage be needed to meet the household loads.

  • GivEnergy’s EV charger would be visible to the inverter and controls set for charging from energy coming from the solar panels and not drain the stackable battery.

  • The equipment is IP65 rated so can be installed outdoors under an awning to keep off the worst of the rain or potential leaf debris.

  • Octopus Energy and GivEnergy have close ties meaning that some intelligent time of use tariffs, which learn the household consumption habits and optimise when the system charges and discharges energy to/from the grid automatically, would be available to the customer to further increase their savings.

The installation was done over one week in mid-April and involved the following:

Moving 3 panels from the roof gully area to a space next to the existing East-facing panels.

This meant that we would only be having two arrays (South and East) of panels going into the GivEnergy inverter. Neither of these orientations would be shaded and would be more productive than their existing location.

Cable Management

Solar cables connected to the PV arrays were brought into the loft space from behind the panels and neatly run to the far side of the house and into trunking, going down external wall to the inverter position.

Inverter mounted and stackable batteries positioned on the ground directly below

The 10.2 kWh of battery with 100% depth of discharge was floor mounted underneath the 11kW wall mounted inverter, with space left to add more battery modules in the future. A black framed awning was required by the manufacturer to provide some shelter to the components.

System commissioning

The GivEnergy battery and inverter come with a 12 year warranty. The system is connected to the internet so the performance can be monitored in real time using the app and the GivEnergy cloud portal. SOL POWER monitor this to check that the system is performing optimally and have the metrics to suggest any changes like increasing battery size should this further increase the customer's savings from solar

Next Steps

The customer will move onto an "intelligent" time of use tariff by Octopus Energy that will optimise the charging and discharging of the battery to increase the customer's returns from the system as well as avoiding the need to manage this manually. We will monitor the consumption and how the current system is meeting the household loads from solar.

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