Case study: Solar panels and sonnenBatterie
We installed solar panels and a solar battery for Jeffrey back in May. We caught up with him last week and asked him a few questions. Here’s how our mini-interview went!
Why did you decide to install solar panels?
Effectively, it was to do my bit for the planet and to offset future energy price rises. Additionally, it’s my personal belief that energy prices are not going to get any cheaper. I also think perhaps at some point in the future, council tax might reflect the carbon emissions that your house produces. Overall, my main aim was to be as self-sufficient as possible with solar panels and a solar battery.
Are you pleased with your results so far?
Yes, everything has been great so far! On bright sunny days, the solar panels produce a fair amount and I’m glad that I can store this energy in my solar battery too. The idea of the battery is to capture the energy that you can’t use. In fact, most of the energy that I generate is whilst I’m at work, so I don’t want to waste it.
I originally ordered a 10kWh sonnenBatterie but I decided to make it bigger because I wanted to export even less to the grid. The sonnenBatterie is second to none and they look great too. You could have the battery anywhere within your home. Mine is in my garage but you could have them in your living room – they look lovely.
The Sonnen helpline is fantastic too. My solar battery display was in German for a few weeks and I didn’t know how to change it. I phoned up and spoke with customer service and they assured me it would be changed that day and it was done within 2 hours. They are fantastic. In summary, I found them really helpful and they sorted the issue out straight away!
How much are you saving on your bills each month?
In the summertime, I’m saving around 90-95%! The solar panels start generating around 5:30 am and by about 8 am, it’s producing around 2kWh! By lunchtime, the solar battery is usually fully topped up. My wife usually puts a few loads of washing on during the day to use some of the energy and the battery lasts through to the night and the cycle starts again the next morning – it’s fantastic.
Even though I have a 15kWh sonnenBatterie, we’re still exporting some energy back to the grid. I’m pretty much self-sufficient during the summer months and that was my goal. I know it’s not possible to get it to 100%, but I wanted to get it as close as I could.
During the winter months, the system still produces really well. On a day where the sky is almost black, I can generate around 2-4 kWh. It does exactly what I want it to do.
I’m planning on looking into a Time-Of-Use tariff soon. The standing charge with British Gas is most probably as much as my bill so I want to look for a provider with a low standing charge in the future.
Have your friends and family asked about your new system?
Yes! The reason that I got solar panels in the first place was that my neighbour has them and I was intrigued. I was pestering him every day asking how much his system was producing! In fact, I used him as a bit of a guinea pig because his roof faces the same way as mine, so I could find out how his system was performing. I opted for a slightly bigger system than his because I thought I could make the most of generating a lot of energy, even on darker days. It’s probably slightly oversized in summer, I think I produce enough energy to power two houses! Sometimes I’m up to around 32-33 kWh of energy. But it’s really powerful both in summer and in winter, generating plenty of energy all year round.
Are you proud that you’re doing your bit for the planet?
I’ve got an environmental diploma so for me it wasn’t about making money, the main reason was to be as self-sufficient as I possibly could, which is obviously going to benefit the planet. Although sometimes it annoys me that I’m exporting my energy to the grid for free, I think to myself, at least it’s saving power stations coming on!
about the system
Jeffrey, from Pontypridd, has a 5.44 kWh solar panel system and a 15 kWh sonnenBatterie. His home is south-east facing with a 30-degree angle roof which has minimal shading.
During July 2019, Jeffrey was 94% self-sufficient and has saved over a tonne of CO2 emissions in total!
Get in touch
0800 856 2200