Rural Energy Partnership
TEAL INLET PROJECT
The aim of this project is to significantly reduce the amount of fossil fuel required to provide adequate electricity to a single domestic dwelling by introducing a sustainable technology for the first time.
The current energy system at Teal Inlet is a diesel hybrid system, installed to supply the house with electricity
1 x 5.6kW diesel generator, installed in 2014
1 x 3kW Outback Inverters, installed in 2011
550Ah battery bank, installed in 2011
The current system uses on average 2500 litres of diesel a year costing £1250 (Diesel price £0.50 per litre). It is estimated that the generator runs between 500 - 700 hours per year.
1.5 kW of Solar Photovoltaic Panels installed facing north at an angle of 40° is estimated to provide around 1350kWh per year of electricity. It is predicted this will reduce the running time of the generator by 200 hours a year, saving around £300 per annum.
After the award of the Rural Energy Partnership Development grant the design of the array began. The first thing that was to be decided was to install a roof mounted system or ground mounted system. As there was no suitable buildings with north facing roofs, the decision was made to install a ground mounted array.
Once the decision was made we contacted the Falkland Islands Government Building Advisor to find out it any permits were required for the installation. The building advisor was very helpful and informed us that the array would not require planning permission but would require a building permit. The form was very easy and quick to complete and was submitted along with a drawing of the building and map of the settlement. Very quickly we received the approved building permit.
With all permissions in place the array was ordered in April 2015 through the local renewable supplier and installer PowerSense.
While the system was being shipped from the UK, I was thought it would be a good idea to get the electrical systems of the property checked for safety. A proportion of the expense for this work on the domestic property can be covered under the Domestic Electricity Safety Check and Improvement Grant Scheme. This scheme is managed by FIDC and is open to all domestic properties owners across the Falkland Islands to improve the electrical safety.
The installation started in September 2016 with the concrete footing blocks pored, after the blocks were set the ground mounting frame was installed by family members. The installation of the panels and associated parts took PowerSense under 2 Days to complete the installation of the array. The array was commissioned on the 11th October 2016. The total cost of the installation was £1,940, if the system generates as predicted the payback will be 6.5 years.
1. The array output from the installation on the 11th October 2016 until 31st January 2017.
The solar array has covered 100% of the demand for the property. Before the array was installed the diesel generator would normally operate 2 hours a day to cover the electricity demand and this has not been required. The diesel generator required around 2.5 litres of fuel per hour to operate but the solar array have meant that the diesel generator has not been required, meaning that around 550 litres of diesel haven't had to be burnt to meet the demand; a saving of £275 (diesel price at £0.50 per litre) over a three month period.
2. Period - 1st February 2017 until 30th September 2017
The array has continued to work without a fault. With the limited number of daylight hours in the winter months and overcast days within this period, the array has still covered just over 75% of the properties energy demand over this period. The installation of the solar array has reduced the expected operating time of the diesel generator by almost 360 hours, meaning 720 litres of fuel have not been used, saving £360 (diesel price at £0.50 per litre).
3. Period - 1st October 2017 until 7th December 2017
The array has continued to work without a fault, as the daylight hours have extended as the time of year moves from spring into summer. The array has covered just over 95% of the property’s energy demand over this period. The installation of the solar array has reduced the expected operating time of the diesel generator by almost 130 hours, meaning 325 litres of fuel have not been burned, saving £160 of fuel costs (diesel price at £0.50 per litre).
4. Period - 8th December 2017 until 28th March 2018
The array has continued to work without a fault throughout the summer. The array has covered just over 100% of the properties electrical energy demand over this period. The installation of the solar array has reduced the expected operating time of the diesel generator by almost 220 hours, meaning 500litres of fuel has not been used, saving £250 (diesel price at £0.50 per litre).
5. Period - 28th March 2018 until 28th June 2018
The array has continued to work without a fault throughout the Autumn and beginning of Winter. The array has covered just over 60% of the properties electrical energy demand over this period. The installation of the solar array has reduced the expected operating time of the diesel generator by almost 107 hours, meaning 267 litres of fuel has not been used, saving £133 (diesel price at £0.50 per litre).
Annual Update - Teal Inlet Domestic Property
The aim of this installation is to demonstrate that a small solar array would be ideal for a single house system (holiday homes, etc.), and give adequate electricity for at least the central heating controls, fridge and freezer to operate for a week without requiring a diesel generator to operate.
The 1.5kW solar array was commissioned at Teal Inlet on the 11th October 2016 and has worked without fault for just over a year to 7th December 2017 (422 days). The Solar array has covered 84% of the electricity demand of the property, has helped to save an estimated 710 of operational hours of the diesel generator, representing 1,775 litres of diesel which equates to £887.50 fuel cost savings (diesel price at £0.50 per litre). While planning the installation of the 1.5kW array it was estimated that the array would save around £300 per year in diesel cost and have a payback of 6.5 year. The array is currently performing 255% better than expected, mainly because the solar data available for the Falkland Islands is very conservative. If the array continues to perform as it has in the first year of generation, the payback is estimated to be 2.53 years.
The owner of the array says; “The solar power system installed at Teal Inlet has helped me to save money in this the first year of operation. It gives me lots of power to use throughout the year without the need for me to keep going outside to put the generator on.”
This project has demonstrated that a small solar array connected to a single home off-grid system in the Falkland Islands is an ideal addition to the electricity generation system.
FIDC is committed to helping reduce the costs of running and make a business more sustainable. Our Energy Advisor is available to visit and make detailed recommendations on how this can be achieved. This case study highlights the real gains from following our guidance.