Well not in the UK, but I've made a start with 120W worth of solar panels and a 180Ah battery bank. I have another 120W of panels and a 400W wind generator (Air X Marine)yet to install. The system was operational at the start of last summer and worked very well. Now that we're coming into winter there has been a huge drop off in performance (motivation to get the other panels and wind generator up). In the peak of summer I was able to leave lights on all the time and other appliances throughout the day. The battery bank would be charged by about 11am the next day. I use a home made charge regulator of my own design. With the shorter days now, and with the angle of the sun lower, I have had to resort to mains charging of the batteries a few times. Also, the batteries I've been using are failing (they were 2nd hand freebies I got years ago), and I'm now down to one half of the bank at 90Ah which itself is slowly dying. I wired the house in ring main configuration with 16mm wire...this effectively halves the resistance depinding on where power is drawn. There's separate light and power circuits, protected with 16A MCB's. Power outlets are Clipsal 402/32 sockets which are the Australian standard for Extra Low Voltage (ie. 32V and less). Typically, with an 8A draw on the furthest socket the voltage falls to about 11.7V which considering the batteries are 15m away is pretty good. The light circuit uses a 16mm feed but with 4mm branches supplying the light sockets, again using ring main configuration where possible. These are mostly E26 porcelain pull chain switch sockets fitted with 12V 50W bulbs which I imported from the US, or locally made B22 sockets and 12V B22 base bulbs of 25W,40W or 60W.
Re: Domestic renewable power UK#145529 06/01/0602:16 AM06/01/0602:16 AM
Personally I'd go for a mains connected PV system if at all. Honestly... if you don't want to put money into it, you probably have to backfeed into the grid and get a good rate for your electricity. Otherwise you pay substantially more for the green power than for mains power. Wind generators might be problematic in Europe, get info on UK codes on wind power installations. In Austria wind generators have to be something like 2km from the nearest residential building...
Some nice option if you got sunflowers or any other oil farming in your area are diesel fueled generators converted to oil. If you find one that really works (some I've seen only run 700hrs straight until requiring substantial maintenance).
Re: Domestic renewable power UK#145531 06/01/0605:17 AM06/01/0605:17 AM
I don't want to dent your enthusiasm to be eco-friendly, as we all need to care more about our own actions that damage our world. In Scotland, I'd firstly opt for passive eco-friendliness by the use of insulation and if possible some recuperation of ventilation heat losses. An 10" layer of glass-wool in your loft may not have the cachet of a solar or wind generator, but it will never cost you a brass farthing in maintenance or repairs, will cost a lot less to buy and it won't wear out. It will also be totally silent, pose no fire risk and it won't pollute your home with noxious chemicals.
Remember that every kilowatt saved is exactly the same as a kilowatt generated!
Wood work but can't!
Re: Domestic renewable power UK#145532 06/01/0606:34 AM06/01/0606:34 AM
Kenbo, the batteries are located in a garage adjacent to the house and away from anything likely to be affected by the corrosive fumes and acid. Two paralleled lengths of 16mm wire connect to the house via about 8m of underground conduit...forcing four 16mm single insulated wires down 25mm conduit was interesting...not something I'd attempt again. There's four 6v 90Ah batteries in series parallel. Approx dimensions of each would be 400mm x 150mm x 120mm. They were removed from a radio station's uninterruptable power supply back in 1999 and they'd looked well used even then. When I can afford to replace them (about $800 for the lot) I'll probably use four 12V 100Ah SLA batteries in parallel. This will eliminate the acidic fumes and liquids, which seem to be always present around the batteries no matter how clean you try to keep them. Plus I won't be having to check the electrolyte levels all the time. My experience with SLA batteries in other things has been very good with 10 years life not being uncommon...provided they are never left discharged.