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 10 understanding the solar systems (Read 11104 times)
Paula
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understanding the solar systems
Nov 20th, 2015 at 12:05pm
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hi,

we are coming over to our new house soon & are confused by differing information about the solar system. We are trying to work out the best forms of heating: 
oil rad - requires a solid power supply,
paraffin heater - expensive to buy, or
just use the fireplace?
I'm vering to the fireplace & oil rad, but only if the power will not struggle.

The house has been a holiday let & has a 12 panel, 12 battery system with a monster generator (to me!) that will automatically kick in when the batteries are depleted, or so I am lead to understand.

Friends are saying that the geni is for filling the batteries when there is little sun, but I am assuming, from what I have read & been told, that if the batteries run low at night the geni will kick in & power the batteries to power the house?

Help:)
  
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Nigel
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #1 - Nov 20th, 2015 at 3:23pm
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A tricky question!
It somewhat depends on your battery size although running anything that heats from Solar is going to 'eat' your power.

A typical solar system has between 5 and 10KwH of storage. This means that (in theory) you can run a 1Kw heater for between 5 and 10 hours and that would drain your batteries. In reality you wouldn't want to do that as you would quickly kill your batteries.

The most common forms of heating here are a wood burner, oil fired central heating and/or portable gas air heaters. Each has its plus and minus.

Hope this helps rather than adds to the confusion!
  
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Paula
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #2 - Nov 20th, 2015 at 4:09pm
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interesting that you don't list the paraffin heaters

I want to get a wood burner, but at present it's just got a grate.

he did try to sell a CH system, but we declined, so not sure if it will still be there or not, but it's all boxed up so no use yet.

thanks for the info

I'm assuming that the generator would kick in when the batteries got low though, so could I not carry on heating with electric??
  
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #3 - Nov 21st, 2015 at 2:23pm
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The modern (inverter) paraffin heaters are great.  Very efficient.  However, they need a power supply to operate as the have an integral fan and are electronically controlled.  The other down side is that they are expensive to run, especially in Spain where the fuel is twice the price as in France (both Leroy Merlin for comparison).  A typical 5 litre refill will last about 12 hours and a 20 litre bottle of PTX 2000 will cost you around 40 euros here.  If you travel via France regularly it's well worth buying some on the way down.
It's difficult to give specifics without knowing the size and layout of your property.  If you could describe the size of the rooms you need to heat it would be easier to advise on log stoves etc.  The butane heaters are a good all round solution.  They don't need power, are relatively cheap to buy and run, are portable (as are the paraffin) and last a good few years before they need replacing.  The main down side is lugging the heavy gas bottles around.
  

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Paula
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #4 - Nov 21st, 2015 at 2:29pm
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thanks, It's a relatively small house, one level with the main room about 35' by 14'

  
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #5 - Nov 21st, 2015 at 3:22pm
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About 40sqm then.  One butane heater would probably be adequate except during really cold spells when a second one might be a good idea.
Alternatively, a good log burner with a butane heater as backup would do the job.  The butanes are about 100 euros to buy but a decent quality log burner is going to be in the order of 1,000 euros.
If you have access to your own logs on site then it's an economic medium/long term solution.  If not, logs were in the region of 135 - 150 euros per ton last time I looked and you'd probably go through about 1.5 tons in the average winter.
Gas bottles are around 15 euros and last about three/four days (day and evening).

  

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Paula
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #6 - Nov 21st, 2015 at 8:00pm
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thanks, I want to look to a wood burner, if nothing else cos the chimney is big & bulky!

Will look into the butane burners too, although they seem quite expensive to run.
  
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #7 - Nov 21st, 2015 at 8:35pm
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Hi Paula,
I would recommend a woodburner. For us, the downside of both gas and parrafin is that they put out a lot of water vapour and we think that they smell and use up the oxygen in the room.
It's easy enough to start with a simple wood stove for little money, especially second hand. We have a pretty big stove that also heats our radiators and towel rails so the whole house is warm. They use surprisingly little wood and if you have trees to prune then is free! PM me if you would like more info, we are in Perello.
  
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #8 - Nov 21st, 2015 at 9:37pm
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Paula,
You will see that basically what I said is correct.
There is the secondhand wood burner which I have already mentioned with a back boiler.
  
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #9 - Nov 21st, 2015 at 11:15pm
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Pete,
The inverter paraffin heaters I mention don't put out water vapour and only give off a slight wiff for a minute when lighting and extinguishing.  Any heater (gas, paraffin or log) will use oxygen from the room.  It's needed for combustion so some form of ventilation is required.
Log fires with back boilers can be used for a form of central heating but the general opinion is that "cheap" log burners (with or without back boiler) are a waste of money.
  

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cubetwo
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #10 - Nov 21st, 2015 at 11:29pm
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Bigyin wrote on Nov 21st, 2015 at 11:15pm:
Pete,
The inverter paraffin heaters I mention don't put out water vapour and only give off a slight wiff for a minute when lighting and extinguishing.  Any heater (gas, paraffin or log) will use oxygen from the room.  It's needed for combustion so some form of ventilation is required.
Log fires with back boilers can be used for a form of central heating but the general opinion is that "cheap" log burners (with or without back boiler) are a waste of money.


I totally agree about the new style inverter paraffin heaters. The 2 I have work amazingly well with minimum smell at start up and switch off.  Ideal back up heating for instant heat when it's not worth lighting up the log burner etc
  
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Paula
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #11 - Nov 22nd, 2015 at 12:36am
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can someone let me know about the basics of the generator/battery relationship??

I think the decision really is instant heat from gas or paraffin depending on how much water vapour you want & also the cost of fuel (the gas seems to be more??)

I have been hoping that I can use the generator a bit?
  
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Paula
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #12 - Nov 22nd, 2015 at 12:47am
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mind you it's probably no different from a friends house in Abergavenny, where she just had the wood burner & Aga, we managed without any other heating by banking up the WB & dressing warmly:) Our place has small windows & shutters, so should stay warm when we get the temp up…..
  
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #13 - Nov 22nd, 2015 at 9:25am
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All figures approximate.
Butane heater:-
Cost to buy 100 Euros.
Gas bottle (exchange/refill) 15 Euros.
60 hours at 3Kw = 25c/hour
Paraffin heater:-
Cost to buy 200 Euros (plus).
20 litres paraffin 40 Euros.
48 hours at 3Kw = 80c/hour
Gas some water vapour, paraffin none.
I've no idea what the fuel costs would be of running a generator for heating but all forms of electrical heating are considered to be inefficient.
As for keeping the house warm, because of the construction of houses here (no cavity walls or insulation), any heat gathered during the day/evening will be lost overnight.
  

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cubetwo
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Re: understanding the solar systems
Reply #14 - Nov 22nd, 2015 at 9:36am
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Paula,
Here is a good link which confirms what people have been posting on here about  the generator/battery relationship.

http://www.freesunpower.com/generators.php
  
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