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Solar iboost.. ebay or keep?

Tony Hoyle

Well-known Member
I've just had panels fitted and the installers also fitted a solar iboost, which is apparently for immersion heaters. As we don't have a working one of those it sits on the wall, unused (my wife tells they tried to wire it up and there was a big bang so they didn't try again).

I'm not sure of the justification for this device. Clearly if you only had an immersion heater it could save by only heating the water when you're not drawing from the grid, but we have a gas boiler (which is old and crusty and will be replace with a combi as soon as we have money to spare for it).

So with the iboost, I either sell the electricity back to the grid at 12.94p/kwh, or heat the water using gas at ~4p/kwh. So running the iboost is a net loss of ~9kwh? Clearly either the manufacturers/installers have gone completely nuts or I'm missing something...
 

SteveCritten

Distinguished Member
In the long run it is more efficient to use the I boost. If you are trying to be as energy efficient as possible I would go for a condensing boiler with a pressurised cylinder.
I am pretty sure you don't get the same amount for selling back as you pay. I believe I receive 3.5p and it doesn't matter how much you use of your solar electric you still get paid for 50% regardless. So it's best to use 100% as you still get 50% as they don't measure it, it's is just an average.

I will take a pic of my bill shortly to show you how much I receive.
 

Basinguy

Active Member
Exactly, ideally you want to use all the electricity you generate, you are paid twice for it anyway!
 

SteveCritten

Distinguished Member
Well reminded here is my last bill, bear in mind I didn't get my reading in on time last month so this is 2 months FIT.This is my export amount at the bottom.
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
 

IronGiant

Moderator
So with the iboost, I either sell the electricity back to the grid at 12.94p/kwh, or heat the water using gas at ~4p/kwh. So running the iboost is a net loss of ~9kwh? Clearly either the manufacturers/installers have gone completely nuts or I'm missing something...

You are paid for the electricity you generate, you aren't charged for using it. So it makes sense to "store" anything you aren't using. the easiest way of "storing it" in a domestic environment, is to heat water with it.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Doh, I think we just bumped a dead thread. The OP hasn't returned to the forum since the day he started the thread :).

Never mind, it's a useful thread as I'm thinking of getting one of these sorts of devices myself.

First I need to check what I'm exporting because we are a high use household and I doubt it's anything like 50%. So I've ordered a proper PV/household monitor from OWL.
 

SteveCritten

Distinguished Member
I am actually waiting for the battery storage technology to improve I would love to be self sufficient and not rely on the rip off utility companies.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Well it took me a while to get the monitor up and running. Partly user incompetence and partly contradictory instructions (but mostly the former :)) But it seems that we generated 7.00kW since 14:00 today and exported a massive 0.4kW. :facepalm:

So if we are missing out on about 5-10p a day worth of electricity I think investing £250 to dump it into the hot water system might have a rather long pay back time. I will of course monitor it for a couple of months to see whether that pattern is consistent.
 

SteveCritten

Distinguished Member
That is interesting, I thought our export would be low as we tend to do the dishwasher and washing machine etc during daylight hours but less than 10% wow!!
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Looks like that is fairly consistent too. 33.3kW generated and 3.8kW exported to date. Which is good in some ways, as it's one of the "free" installations so the only benefit to us is if we are using the generated electricity.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
I'm not a fan of the monitors that use CT clamps as I've found them to be wildly inaccurate depending on the voltage of your mains supply (I'm rural so may have a bit more voltage variation than others). In the end I opted for the the CurrentCost Envi monitor with NetSmart Pro gateway and OptiSmart sensors which measure the pulses/flashes of the LEDs on my generation and supply meters. This has proven 100% accurate and I even have virtual meter readings on my dashboard that match my "real" meter registers. I upload the data to PVOutput.Org too as this has a nice graphing/reporting page and links to their App on my iPhone & iPad. It all links together pretty easily and the integration between CC and PVOutput was pretty straight forward too.

ImageUploadedByAVForums1409855715.145606.jpg
 

IronGiant

Moderator
How much was that? I couldn't find an optical solution that was easily available.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
I bought direct from CurrentCost after opening a trade account. I'll look out the costs later. I've had a look at their EBay and Amazon stores and OptiSmart is not currently listed which means they are currently out of stock - seems to be an issue that they are often waiting for stock to meet back orders, so it might be worth dropping them an email via the Current Cost website to check on availability and costs.
 

jouster

Moderator
I too had the CurrentCost system and whilst it was good I found myself wanting a bit more so now have a Chorus PV setup which is amazing...all of the details are here... very very happy with mine...great as like the CurrentCost..it does generation AND usage but without the requirement for a subscription and the historic data is amazing...mind you i am a bit of a geek

Chorus II PV
 

neilball

Well-known Member
I too had the CurrentCost system and whilst it was good I found myself wanting a bit more so now have a Chorus PV setup which is amazing...all of the details are here... very very happy with mine...great as like the CurrentCost..it does generation AND usage but without the requirement for a subscription and the historic data is amazing...mind you i am a bit of a geek

Chorus II PV

I cannot find any technical,details on the website about the sensors for the meter or how the units all communicate, nor details about the App or how it provides information. Would you be kind enough to post some additional info when you get chance?
 

jouster

Moderator
Yeah the website is a bit sparse on actually what's in the box.

Basically the sensors are both pulse ones like this.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1410699888.203126.jpg


I've got one on my generation meter and another on my electricity meter outside in it's box. You also get a a clamp which goes on the main electricity cable that goes into the meter and the combination of the two measures usage.

You also get a network bridge which you plug into your router and the display receives information from it and uploads data to the web portal.

It's the best system I've personally used and I've had Current Cost, and the original GEO Solo PV

Personally I can't see another system that works as well put there so I'm very happy with how it's all working.

The portal gives you display which shows current figures like the main Chorus II PV unit.



There is also a section which let's you look at historical data with lots of configuration
 

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