23.31°C 73.9°F
House 20.31 °C
Barom 1011.4mb Rising S 0.6
Humid 50.75 %
Temp 24.25
Temp 24.50

Solar power

Professor Brian Cox OBE could tell you in one of his billion moments about the awesome power of the sun

Wikipedia currently [21/05/2010] says "Sunlight is Earth's primary source of energy. The solar constant is the amount of power that the Sun deposits per unit area that is directly exposed to sunlight. The solar constant is equal to approximately 1,368 W/m2 (watts per square meter) at a distance of one astronomical unit (AU) from the Sun (that is, on or near Earth). Sunlight on the surface of Earth is attenuated by the Earth's atmosphere so that less power arrives at the surface-closer to 1,000 W/m2 in clear conditions when the Sun is near the zenith. For an excellent explanation of this look at Brighton Webs Ltd

So with all this lovely free energy, why don't we all heat and power our houses from it?

1 Kw from a meter square panel great - sign me up!! Perhaps it isn't as easy as that - (clear conditions, no clouds, not raining, regulaly cleaned glass, - sun directly above and shortest distance (but the sun moves!! (actually it's the earth!))- facing south - no cable losses- no storage in inefficient batteries - no losses in inverters) My appliances are 240V AC, panels are lower voltage DC. My peak electrical use isn't midday it's at night!
It seems expensive, perhaps as most of us have got double glazing - those salesmen have moved on to solar /wind power? I'm all for doing my bit to help reduce carbon emissions and saving money. I can see how I would be able to get a tank of solar hot water a day but what are the actual savings or payback duration for microgeneration?

The Solar water system is now under construction, the display above shows the current status and live data