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  #21  
Old 01.10.2013, 21:04
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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We have fixed solar panels (this summer) ostensibly for heating the pool but we are told that even in these northern climes, there will be excess capacity which can be directed towards the household hot water system throughout the year.

There were federal subsidies, cantonal subsidies and subsidy from the town meaning that the price became rather reasonable and from the forward calculations (I work for an environmental consultancy so they modelled some pretty detailed figures for me) we anticipate the system paying for itself within 10 years. System lifespan is 20 plus.
We have started to get offers in and your talking 30000+ but have seen that they only give 5 years garantee on the Panels so what happens if they all break in 5 years???
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Old 01.10.2013, 21:47
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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We have started to get offers in and your talking 30000+ but have seen that they only give 5 years garantee on the Panels so what happens if they all break in 5 years???
How many panels? In view of the weather, you can over provide as they will be idle for a certain period in the year and when they are producing lots of hot water is generally when you consume the least (ie summer). You will always need another source of heating so it is a balancing act ..

As for them all breaking in 5 yrs - the idea is that any manufacturing defect will have shown through in 5 yrs. If they are running problem free at the 5 yr mark, it is unlikely that major repairs will be needed until end of life begins to impact.

Shop around, check out your subsidies and get a heating engineer to calculate your need vs. projected savings.
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Old 01.10.2013, 22:10
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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How many panels? In view of the weather, you can over provide as they will be idle for a certain period in the year and when they are producing lots of hot water is generally when you consume the least (ie summer). You will always need another source of heating so it is a balancing act ..

As for them all breaking in 5 yrs - the idea is that any manufacturing defect will have shown through in 5 yrs. If they are running problem free at the 5 yr mark, it is unlikely that major repairs will be needed until end of life begins to impact.

Shop around, check out your subsidies and get a heating engineer to calculate your need vs. projected savings.
Most serious manufacturers give a 20-30 year warranty on their panels and put their products through a wide array of tests in order to withstain all sort of roughing up caused by weather.
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  #24  
Old 01.10.2013, 22:40
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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Most serious manufacturers give a 20-30 year warranty on their panels and put their products through a wide array of tests in order to withstain all sort of roughing up caused by weather.
Cover damage caused by weather?

I'll check how long the guarantee is on our panels and post back ..
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Old 02.10.2013, 10:19
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

They give 20 years on the amount of electricity produced but just 5 years on the Panels which worries me a bit, dont want to have to do the Roof again in 5 years ( will probably be dead by then so maybe shouldnt worry about it)
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Old 02.10.2013, 12:12
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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We are thinking about doing something similar for our outdoor pool to keep it from being too cold in Sept/Oct/Nov. But we are in Spain, so only need to raise the temp 5-10°c. Did you find your plans on the internet? Interested to know what you have done.

fduvall
We had a firm do the system for us. You may find something if you do a search for Windhager but I'm not sure. We are only using it for the hot water needs for a single family house so I think that for the needs of a swimming pool it would not be sufficient. For 5-10°c in a swimming pool, you would probably need a much larger collection area and most likely need to supplement it with electricity or a gas burner.

My uncle in-law has a system for his swimming pool (outskirts of Madrid) mounted on his shed roof that the pool water circulates through but I think that he is only getting a couple of degree increase with this system. Look at a swimming pool supply place as I'm sure they will have something to suggest. His is sort of a thin, flexible array of small black tubing that is maybe 8 square meters in size.

If you have the space, you could do the ghetto way of making a large flat coil out of flexible, black plastic tubing. We stayed at a house near Mojacar this summer that had one of these (5-6 meter diameter coil??) and the owner claimed that he could get a 5 degree increase. I am a bit skeptical of this but it is worth a try and the system is relatively inexpensive.
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  #27  
Old 02.10.2013, 12:21
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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Unless you are talking about some sort of battery, which just recently hit the market, then there are almost no components produced in Switzerland and the quality mostly depends from what company you plan to purchase them from.
The offer that I received states something about the collector panel being "SWISSMADE" whatever the hell that means. Probably there is some little screw manufactured in Switzerland on the system that enables them to state that.

In any case, when I said that the components were sourced in Switzerland, I meant that the components were purchased through a firm located in Switzerland. I imagine that if I tried, I could have found the identical components in a different country for less money.
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Old 02.10.2013, 12:31
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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We had a firm do the system for us. You may find something if you do a search for Windhager but I'm not sure. We are only using it for the hot water needs for a single family house so I think that for the needs of a swimming pool it would not be sufficient. For 5-10°c in a swimming pool, you would probably need a much larger collection area and most likely need to supplement it with electricity or a gas burner.
.
We had ours fitted exactly for heating a pool and we are assured (plus figures checked by an independent source) that what we have is more than sufficient to maintain the pool at 28 degrees during the summer months with the excess capacity being diverted to the hot water supply when not needed by the pool. It helps to have a really good insulating cover on the pool of course. We are only using panels to heat water for the moment and not photovoltaic panels to generate electricity .. those might come later but the savings in that instance are not so clearcut.
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  #29  
Old 02.10.2013, 12:41
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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In any case, when I said that the components were sourced in Switzerland, I meant that the components were purchased through a firm located in Switzerland. I imagine that if I tried, I could have found the identical components in a different country for less money.
You have to decide whether you are buying a system or buying components.

You can of course design your own system and shop around for the cheapest components (and why stop in Germany if it's a low price you're after, there are mail order companies in China that will ship to you directly). But before you do that, I would seriously recommend you do some homework, and I don't mean watching some random youtubes but reading serious books on the subject. Then you can end up with a taylor-made system that does exactly what you want - if you didn't make a mistake somewhere, and you have only yourself to blame if you did.

On the other hand, you can buy a system and that means buying the parts as a bundle and installing them exactly as it says in the instructions, as any attempt at creativity can void the warranty.

Comparing the costs of those two options can sometimes reveal huge discrepancies. But before you complain about the profit somebody is making, you have to consider the work that goes into engineering and setting it up.
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  #30  
Old 03.10.2013, 11:14
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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Cover damage caused by weather?

I'll check how long the guarantee is on our panels and post back ..
Did you check?
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  #31  
Old 06.01.2015, 21:45
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

Dragging up an old post
But most of the comments are still relevant.

I just read here that Ikea are now offering a 4Kw solar panel installation (Including all fittings) here for circa CHF 15K.
Assuming the Swiss Govt. 30% installation subsidy is true and 4Kw is adequate (which I doubt) and interest rates stay around current levels then on my current annual electricity bill of ca. CHF 900 it will take at least 12 years for such a solar panel cost to break even
I assume some of my electricity bill of ca. CHF 900 is for fixed charges which won't go away and so will extend the 12 years break even period.
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Old 06.01.2015, 22:53
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

The posts so far refer to solar panels without distinguishing between solar water heaters and solar electricity (photovoltaic) panels. Usually a solar water heater is a better deal economically since they deliver more energy at lower cost than photovoltaics, with fewer expensive replacement parts needed. But they produce heat, not electricity. Photovoltaic panels come with efficiency ratings which allow you a ballpark figure to calculate how much energy they'll produce. The amount of solar energy available in Switzerland per year goes from about 1500 kW-hours south of the Alps to about 1000 kW-hours north of the Alps per square meter, http://www.powernewz.ch/2014/04/01/p...strahlung-aus/. For a solar electric panel that's 10% efficient, you'll get 10% of the energy of the incoming solar energy. The efficiencies of solar water heaters are a little harder to come by.
Some calculations in Zurich: 10% efficient photovoltaic panels will produce about 100 kW-hrs per year per square meter installed. A family of four might consume about 4000 KW-hrs per year. To cover usage, you'd need 40 square meters installed. Lifetimes of solar electric panels are usually rated at 20 to 25 years so you can figure out savings based on that. You'd be replacing the transformer probably about 4 times in that period, since they tend to break down and aren't cheap to replace. That's most likely the expensive part.
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Old 06.01.2015, 23:10
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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Some calculations in Zurich: 10% efficient photovoltaic panels will produce about 100 kW-hrs per year per square meter installed. A family of four might consume about 4000 KW-hrs per year. To cover usage, you'd need 40 square meters installed.
I hate these units. What's wrong with SI?

Well anyway hrs/year = 1/(365*24)

So 4000 kW/(h/year) = 456W.

The eco gurus are telling us we should be working towards the "40 W Gesellschaft" - and I'm assuming that's per person and averaged over time, so when all energy savings are fully implemented 456 W averaged over time for a 4 person family is more than plenty, no? Or has the solar lobby been feeding us with more misleading figures?

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Lifetimes of solar electric panels are usually rated at 20 to 25 years so you can figure out savings based on that. You'd be replacing the transformer probably about 4 times in that period, since they tend to break down and aren't cheap to replace. That's most likely the expensive part.
To figure out savings you would need to first figure out what electricity prices are going to be doing over those 25 years. I also don't see why a transformer should be a point of failure. You've got copper and iron and no moving parts and if its efficient its not even getting very hot. I'd be much more inclined to expect to see silicon fail before copper fails. That is, unless the transformer was shoddily manufactured from the beginning.
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  #34  
Old 06.01.2015, 23:24
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

We installed the newer thermal solar panels to heat all our water, via an exchanger (not photovoltaic) - we were not allowed to install them on the house or roof as we live in a very old house in a protected area. We've installed 2 x 2msquare panels facing South and South-West on a frame in the field next to the house (ours) which can't really be seen from the village or road. Got subsidies- but it may take quite a few years to get the money back, but we are very satisfied with the results and our consumption of oil as been more than halved, as we also installed a granit clad wood-burner in the kitchen- so we have much more independence from oil and a variety of heat sources.
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Old 06.01.2015, 23:45
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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We installed the newer thermal solar panels to heat all our water, via an exchanger (not photovoltaic) - we were not allowed to install them on the house or roof as we live in a very old house in a protected area. We've installed 2 x 2msquare panels facing South and South-West on a frame in the field next to the house (ours) which can't really be seen from the village or road. Got subsidies- but it may take quite a few years to get the money back, but we are very satisfied with the results and our consumption of oil as been more than halved, as we also installed a granit clad wood-burner in the kitchen- so we have much more independence from oil and a variety of heat sources.
I'm all for energy independence where it can be achieved. I have installed a wood stove in my holiday house and have never had the gas heater on since. I am also thinking of thermal solar to heat the water but that one is still some years off. But photovoltaics don't convince me somehow, at least not the configurations the big suppliers try and sell us. What I think would make some sense is using DC directly (the panels make DC, batteries use DC, things like LED lighting are DC, you can even get camping dishwashers and things that run on DC) - the whole AC transformation thing is really just about grid connectivity and it comes at the cost of lower efficiency and more bits that can fail and to me the whole selling point of going autonomous is to not be connected. But I have yet to meet a salesman who even agreed with my point go view.
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  #36  
Old 06.01.2015, 23:46
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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The posts so far refer to solar panels without distinguishing between solar water heaters and solar electricity (photovoltaic) panels. Usually a solar water heater is a better deal economically since they deliver more energy at lower cost than photovoltaics, with fewer expensive replacement parts needed. But they produce heat, not electricity. Photovoltaic panels come with efficiency ratings which allow you a ballpark figure to calculate how much energy they'll produce. The amount of solar energy available in Switzerland per year goes from about 1500 kW-hours south of the Alps to about 1000 kW-hours north of the Alps per square meter, http://www.powernewz.ch/2014/04/01/p...strahlung-aus/. For a solar electric panel that's 10% efficient, you'll get 10% of the energy of the incoming solar energy. The efficiencies of solar water heaters are a little harder to come by.
Some calculations in Zurich: 10% efficient photovoltaic panels will produce about 100 kW-hrs per year per square meter installed. A family of four might consume about 4000 KW-hrs per year. To cover usage, you'd need 40 square meters installed. Lifetimes of solar electric panels are usually rated at 20 to 25 years so you can figure out savings based on that. You'd be replacing the transformer probably about 4 times in that period, since they tend to break down and aren't cheap to replace. That's most likely the expensive part.
About " A family of four might consume about 4000 KW-hrs per year." Is this during the time the sun is shining? If not it blows a hole in the calculation?

Of course you can add batteries but then they cost, have a relatively short life and usually contain some toxic materials.
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