Solar Panel Output

When I was deciding which solar company to go with, I found out that some of the inverters had inbuilt internet access and others could have data logging added. The system I have (Sunny Boy 3800 and bluetooth piggyback with Sunny Beam) allows me to collect csv files of the day before output. The csv contains limited data, max panel power in a ten minute bracket, total energy generated and all time energy generated, but this is where PVOutput comes into the equation. PVOutput allows one to manually (or automatically if you have the correct setup) upload that data to the website, where it’s stored for free, provides statistics on the data and allows comparisons against other systems.

Here is our output graph:

I’m currently working on an app which when the Sunny Beam is plugged in, will read the new files and send outputs to the website automatically, which will save time and prevent typing errors.

Solar Panels!

I had my solar panels switched on today! I’ve wanted solar panels or a wind turbine for over 3 years now and finally have my own.

The process started in July this year when I decided to find out the true cost of installation. I contacted a local building firm who came the next month to give a quote. After that a neighbour recommended getting some more quotes and three more later I’d chosen the company I wanted to use.

I chose to go with Ecohouse (although two other quotes were real contenders*) as my neighbour used them and he highly recommended their installation team. I signed up and sent my deposit mid September and installation has taken place this week. There have been a number of small issues during the installation (E.g. asbestos), so instead of taking a day the installation was spaced over 5 days, but the quality of installation is fantastic, the installers very friendly and I’d highly recommend them myself.

Details about the system:
250W Suntech solar panels – Total 4kwh peak
SMA Sunnyboy 3800 inverter with Sunny beam wireless monitor

* Eco-energyUK and BSG Property Services

Food Waste

I’ve just come back from holiday in Cyprus and while I was there I really wanted to write an article on something that wound me up every day: food waste.

We had a fourteen day holiday and ate out all but one day. On average over the two weeks, the cost per head for supper was 15 Euros. The first night we went out to eat, I ordered carbonara and was presented with enough food for two people. I only ate a little over half and commented that there was enough for two in my bowl.

Next night I ordered chicken and got the largest piece of chicken fillet I have ever seen! …and a huge pile of chips. I must admit that I ate everything, but did feel uncomfortably full all night.

This trend continued for the entire two weeks. In fact every night it seemed to get worse. From the second night onward the restaurants we went to were giving away free dishes in order to win an extra point from the customers. One of the restaurants gave us an entire meze dish set and a complete green salad. We sent all of that back which they were surprised at. The waitress pointed out that it was on the house but we pointed out that it wasn’t going to be eaten.

The amount of meat we ate in two weeks was amazing. I’m pretty sure that in two weeks I ate the same amount of meat that I’d normally eat in 6 weeks. One night we had each ordered souvlaki. Each plate that arrived on the table had three skewers of meat and was about eight pieces in length. One would have been sufficient. We each ate two, but shouldn’t really have.

This is probably one of those rare times where I prefer the way we have it in the UK. When we order a meal, we tend to get the right amount of food for one person. There are rarely any extras which would go to waste or make people greedy; you get what you order.

Another thing that annoys me is buffets (this is particularly frustrating in hotels). The amount of food that people take and waste really annoys me! I can only guess that I’ve been brought up differently from most people, but when I go to a buffet, I take as much as I think I can eat and no more. After all, I can always go back up if necessary. We went out one evening and watched one table take twice as much food as they actually ended up eating. They did that for each of the three courses too!