PV panels get a bad press here in Britain and especially in Northern Ireland. There just isn’t a lot of sun – well not when you’d expect it anyway. Certainly I don’t think I’d like to rely on it, on a large scale. However, for our purposes it’s working great.
For the techies, we have two cheap and cheerful 80W monocrystalline panels, feeding three Elecsol Carbon Fibre AGM 135Ah batteries through a Steca 3030 controller.
All the lighting in here is LED; most of our other use is laptops and the inboard water pump, and so far it seems pretty much impossible to get the battery charge down from 100%.
In dull weather we are pulling 1.5 amps from the panels, and as many as 12 amps when the sun shines. I’m logging the daily input and usage, and so far we are net generators of electricity which is really cool.
Once the turbine arrives, we’ll be able to use a lot more, but they way things are going we’ll have adapted to using a lot less by that point anyhow..