Field test: PV Modules

A real world comparison between Mono, Poly, PERC and Dual PV Modules.

Total solar yield: --
Total solar yield: --
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Total solar yield: --
Total solar yield: --
Total solar yield: --
Installation date: 09-03-2020

* This is a field test and the results are specific for this installation on this location please research which is the best solution for your own situation as the results can be different based on environmental influences.

Total solar yield as of 27/03/2023 when the results were reset:
Mono: 9158 kWh
Split-cell: 9511 kWh
Poly: 9113 kWh
Perc: 9471 kWh
Perc-east: 1970 kWh
Perc-west: 1730 kWh

Candlelit pub adds electricity

400 year old off-grid moorland pub installs solar power

When a customer orders a round of drinks at the 400 year old Poltimore Arms, Devon, England, and finds themselves unable to pay because the pub only takes cash, landlord Steve Cotten tells them: “Don’t worry about it, just pay me next time you come.”

One of his customers – on a visit to the UK from New Zealand – didn’t have cash and confessed that he may never be back!

“In that case, when you get back home find someone who needs £10 and give it to them.” Steve said. A month later a photo arrived by airmail from New Zealand showing the customer giving $100NZ to a homeless man.

“If you can’t trust people,” Steve explains, “then there’s nothing left.”

Rural Exmoor Google maps

The remote Poltimore Arms sits high amongst the clouds deep within the Exmoor National Park. Visitors to the area usually find it by accident because it’s tucked away on the junction of three roads that don’t go anywhere. However once you have found it you will definitely be going back because there is no other pub like it in the whole of the UK.

As soon as you walk in you’re at home chatting with complete strangers in a relaxed atmosphere, with no airs and graces. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. The Poltimore plays hosts to farm labourers, land owners, holiday makers, literary and art critics and, from time to time, members of the royal family. (Who never carry cash).

The Poltimore has been welcoming guests for ‘alfresco’ or candlelit fireside drinks – with a rolling diary of food and music events – for four hundred years.

Seventy years ago electricity was introduced when the pub got its first single-cylinder generator. During Steve Cotten’s 11 year tenure he’s been through 13 generators. “They don’t last long because they run all the time the pub has customers.” he says. An assortment of lead acid batteries have never coped well with the constant cycling and accidental deep discharges – so in the end it was just easier to keep the generator running.

But the cost of fuel soared; initially it was £7000/annum ($9,000US). But recent changes to the ‘agricultural’ UK fuel duty escalated those costs for consumers like Steve to the point where it was unviable.

A trial-run using a 3kVA inverter and lithium batteries a year ago was so successful that a 10kWp solar system, 20kWh lithium battery storage and 15kVA inverter have now been installed.

The installation has brought the pub, in Steve’s words; “…out of the dark ages and placed it 25 years ahead of anyone else.”  No more noise from the generator shed. Guaranteed electricity to the chillers and refrigerators. There’s hot water ‘on tap’; kitchen equipment can be powered for the pub’s themed food evenings – and there’s even a light in the Gents.

Oh and – don’t worry – the candles are staying.

The new off-grid 15kVA state-of-the-art solar energy installation was built by Off Grid LiFe who understand and specialise in off-grid energy installations covering the south west of the UK. This installation comprises:

15kVA MultiPlus-II Inverter/Charger is powerful enough for any of the pub’s outdoor events.
SmartSolar MPPT RS 450V 200A solar charge controller harvests energy from the nearby ground mounted solar array with minimum cable losses.
A Cerbo GX communication centre harmonises all devices, providing remote engineering access and many user features such as generator auto-start triggered by low-voltage or low-state of charge. The system can be interrogated by the GX Touch 50 user-interface display.
Lynx Distributor – DC busbar with monitored fuses allows for neat installations.
4 x Dyness 5.12 kWh LiFePo4 lithium batteries.
Lister petter 16kVA backup generator.
24 x JA solar panels of 420W each for a total output of 10.08kW mounted on seasonably adjustable ‘Cornish Rocker‘ frames. Using an allen key the south-facing panels can be angled to the sun’s zenith for optimal solar harvest – six or eight times a year, ideally.
A 16 kVA backup generator guarantees energy security, summer and winter alike, and allows for mini-music festivals to take place providing power for lighting, amplifiers, and mobile catering equipment.
Apart from that Steve isn’t expecting it to fire-up except during consecutive winter days of moorland fog.

Off Grid LiFe installation engineers l-r Phil Waterton, Chris Scullard, Jack Waldron, Colin Ward

Steve says there’s one thing about the new system that’s going to take him a while to get used to – hearing no noise, he keeps finding himself wandering out to the shed to find out why the generator has stopped …and then remembers that the reason it’s not running is because it doesn’t need to!

Steve Cotten – a well-known local character – is particularly pleased with his outside lights which he illuminates during the day. Decadence.

When I ask about his opening hours Steve says: “We’re always open! …and if there’s no one here just help yourself to drinks and leave the money behind the bar.”

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