Planning to fail…


BIG admission here….

We are going to buy new….

….Solar panels!

solar panels

We have finally made the decision to ‘just do it’.

We have talking about it for ages. In fact, when we first started talking about it, we could have got them free, and after that we could still have got a really great feed-in tariff, but we procrastinated for too long…

Never mind.

I know we are not supposed to be buying anything new but we have some fairly solid reasons for doing it:

  • Sustainability

I feel very strongly that as a society we really need to be embracing renewable energy sources.

The oil and gas WILL run out. And in the not too distant future. The supplies are NOT unlimited. And we WILL need alternative, renewable energy sources.

Surely solar, wind and tidal are the way forwards. Not fracking…

  • Financial

We inherited some money last year which has been sat in our bank account earning about 1% or something depressing. We figured we may as well invest the money in something that will be saving us money, and earning more than the pitiful interest rate we are currently getting. AND we save money on our electricity bills. AND we get paid money by the electricity company! (If the sun ever decides to come out again..)

We could obviously have waited until the end of My Make Do and Mend Year, and then none of you would have been any the wiser. But it kind of defeats the point. We want to do this as part of whole ‘sustainable living’ journey, and so it kind of seems apt to do it as part of the year. And also, if we wait until September, we will have missed out on a whole summer’s worth of sunshine (here’s hoping for a sunnier summer in 2013!) and used more energy, with it’s corresponding carbon footprint.

And yes. I did ask the nice solar power man if it was possible to get secondhand solar panels. He just looked at me a bit strangely and said “ermm, no.”

So, as of the middle of February, we will be the proud owners of 16 brand spanking new solar panels.

Please don’t be cross…


28 thoughts on “Planning to fail…

  1. Not cross at all! Seems very sensible. We recently (end of October) moved into a house with an array of panels on the roof. It’s too soon yet to find out what the benefits will be in terms of bills, but we note with interest that it doesn’t need to be sunny for them to be generating enough to be sending electricity to the Grid – even on cloudy days the light on the box tells us it’s exporting power, at the moment between about 10am and 3.30pm on all but the gloomiest days. So don’t despair if the sun doesn’t shine! We were advised to do power-hungry things like dishwasing/laundry during the day when it’s charging, as this will apparently mean our bills are lower. We await the first bill with interest…

  2. we love our solar panels, we had them fitted last summer and like you we procrastinated over having them for far too long, but we have them and even on a cold windy day today weve made electricity. Seeing blue sky means its going to be a good Kw day 😉

    • We are really quite excited. Slightly concerned we are going to be solar panel bores, and not use anything electrical until we can see it it ‘our’ electricity!!

  3. What a wonderful thing to fail with! We are shortly going to fail for the first time, too, also to make us more sustainable, but not nearly as awesome as solar panels. Enjoy harvesting the sun!

      • We started on January first, so it is a very quick fail! We actually might have found a way around it for now, but our fail was going to be a little squirt nappy hose so we can start using reusable liners in Little Fearse’s cloth nappies.

      • I have no idea what a little squirt hose is and we have been happily using reusable nappies for years without one! Sounds like a marketing ploy to me..!!

      • Well, it’s not really. The idea is that the little squirt is used to keep the poo in the toilet area. We have been rinsing them in the laundry sink, but the hygiene factor kind of concerns me. Since we want our nappies to last for lots of kids we try not to let the poo set on them too much blah blah blah. (Boring cloth nappy Mum talk.)

      • We just use a knife to scrape the poo down the loo, and then chuck the nappy in the nappy bin without rinsing, until wash day. They seem to be coping ok! I made some reusable liners from a fleece blanket, so these probably protect the actual nappy a bit. When these start to get a bit tired, we recycle them (clean) and just cut some more.

      • Hi Jen.

        Ive heard lots of nightmare stories (but I will admit these are mainly from people up here in the North – where we dont get as much sun as you do in the South), about not producing enough energy, not being able to store it (so that when we have had a few days of dull, wet weather, people havent had hot water), and possibly the most common moan is that the panels will need replacing before the installation cost has been recouped.
        There are some great articles out there (like this one
        and-disadvantages-of-solar-energy/ ), which are well worth a read.
        As they say, the tech is geting better all the time, but for us in the North, its never gonna be a viable solution.
        Im looking forward to hearing about your installation and experience as it all happens (maybe you’ll help me change my mind!).

      • Will keep you posted Jo! We have spoken to friends and neighbours who have them, and they are very pleased, so we shall see…!

  4. I am jealous I would love solar panels but our roof ia around the wrong way, I will be interseted to see how you get on. What a lovely way to fail.

  5. Are these photovoltaic panels? I understand these are better than other types of solar panels for being able to glean energy even on cloudy days, and more efficient in the long run. Definitely a plus!

  6. We had a small system installed last year and haven’t paid a single electricity bill since. It’s a great investment in the future. Good luck with yours. I think it’s a very good way to spend (and save) money.

    • Wow! That’s amazing. Have you changed the way you do things as well? Presumably you have still been using electricity at times when you have not been generating?

      • We got a really good feed-in tariff – we sell for 44 cents, we buy for 19 cents. We did rearrange how we work. We try to do all our electricity dependent chores – washing, vacuuming, ironing etc when it’s dark. So that means packing the washing machine during the day and turning it on when the sun goes down or an hour before sun-rise, vacuuming once a week in the evening and sweeping the rest of the time. It’s made a real difference. We had the air-conditioner going summer and winter for short periods so it’s not as if we’re not using power. All the best with your panels.

      • I’m confused Hazel. I thought the whole point was to try and do as much as possible in the daylight, so that you are using the electricity you are generating..?

      • If you haven’t got a feed in tariff, that is what you’d do. Use the electricity you generate, and hopefully less than you generate, so you come out at the end of the month with a credit. But in our situation if we do our energy-intensive housework when the sun isn’t shining, we buy at 19 cents. Then, during the day we use less power and we sell the excess at 44 cents.

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