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  1. #1
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    Solar panel energy and effects on hifi; any problems likely?

    I'm seriously considering the installation of 4 kW of Pv panels, and have been told that the automatic switching of feed-ins and energy company supply will not affect the electricity flow in any way.

    As I have some quite serious kit powered up 24/7 on dedicated radial circuits (own c.u. with individual RCBOs), I am a little concerned. Are there any Wammers who've done this or anybody more conversant with electrical theory than me ( a fair majority?) who can offer advice or guidance on this? I'm probably concerned unnecessarily, but lashing out quite a few grand to be greener then having the hifi objecting would probably hasten an early grave, methinks.

    MOD'S. I'm aware of the mains etc. AUP, but have no idea if this contravenes it. If so, please pull. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Wammer Corpus_Chain's Avatar
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    From what I've heard, running hi-fi from a battery (which is what would happen when you switch to solar power) incurs less noise than mains power, so it might (possibly) sound better on solar power.
    Myopic Empire, doom metal band: http://myopicempire.bandcamp.com
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpus_Chain View Post
    From what I've heard, running hi-fi from a battery (which is what would happen when you switch to solar power) incurs less noise than mains power, so it might (possibly) sound better on solar power.

    Sure the panels will produce DC but it must be inverted ie converted to 230V AC. How noisy is this conversion?
    http://www.civicsolar.com/resource/I...oise-Emissions

    Sine wave inverters are the most expensive inverters but produce the purest AC current that matches the current in the grid, have the highest efficiency and the least distortion. Modified sine wave inverters are in between and are used in PV systems that do not operate sensitive equipment. Modified square wave inverters are appropriate for operating a wide variety of loads, including motors, lights and standard electronic equipment like TVs and stereos. Motors, such as refrigerator motor, pumps, and fans will use more power from the inverter due to lower efficiency, some fluorescent lights will not operate quite as bright, and some may buzz or make annoying humming noises. Appliances with electronic timers and/or digital clocks will often not operate correctly.Noise emissions from inverters are generally reduced by a combination of shielding, noise cancellation, filtering, and noise suppression. Metal enclosures are common for inverters and some other equipment. The use of shielded, twisted pairs for wiring is a common and effective practice. Filtering is a common feature of nearly all electronics.The most common method is to use capacitors across a signal line or wire to ground to get rid of the noise. More recently, the use of noise suppression provided by ferrite chokes, cores, and beads has become more commonplace in PV installations. With appropriate equipment choices, noise reduction techniques and proper installation practices, noise emissions from PV installations are not a significant problem.
    Last edited by avinunca1; 12-04-2012 at 10:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Moderator yoda900's Avatar
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    Biggest problem is when you try to sell the house. Then the real problems start if it was not done 100% by the book, in legal terms, to satisfy your lender, the buyers lawyer, the buyers lender and their lawyer. Even if it complies to-day there is absolutely no gurantee that it will meet any new requirements that they dream up after you are bound for 25 years and then another 25 years etc. as it is a commercial lease and needs to be excluded from L&T Act 1954 Part II .The Co that you sign up with will sell to a third party who will then mortgage the commercial lease on your roof and airspace above it. So the original Co will disappear with the sale of rights proceeds. The buying Co will have had its money back from the mortgage so no one will be interested in you. The rights will belong to someone you have no control over or dealings with and you will need intervention of the heavenly kind when something goes wrong with the panels, the planning ( if the panels are more than 4cm above the roof face), the Building Regs, the house insurance never mind the wiring system. Literally a minefield on your roof. Watch your step as you and all the readers have been warned. There endeth the Lesson for to-day

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pussycat View Post
    I'm seriously considering the installation of 4 kW of Pv panels, and have been told that the automatic switching of feed-ins and energy company supply will not affect the electricity flow in any way.

    As I have some quite serious kit powered up 24/7 on dedicated radial circuits (own c.u. with individual RCBOs), I am a little concerned. Are there any Wammers who've done this or anybody more conversant with electrical theory than me ( a fair majority?) who can offer advice or guidance on this? I'm probably concerned unnecessarily, but lashing out quite a few grand to be greener then having the hifi objecting would probably hasten an early grave, methinks.

    MOD'S. I'm aware of the mains etc. AUP, but have no idea if this contravenes it. If so, please pull. Thanks.
    I have recently had solar panels installed and there is no difference in the quality of the mains that I can detect. In fact it is quite satisfying to know that during the day I am listening to the hi-fi, and/or operating on my computer, at no cost in carbon or electricity use. The one area that there is a concern I have only discovered a few days ago, is my FM reception. I have loft mounted FM and DAB aerials pointing towards the same transmitter, and these are directional and on the signal side of the panels and equipment. The DAB signal is unaffected, but the FM signal is burried under a noticeable hiss during the main daylight hours, but returns to normal at night. Putting the aerial on the roof is likely to be more difficult now than it was. I am currently experimenting with the antenna position within the attic. It's early days yet, but so far all I seemed to have done is added a greater background hiss overnight (maybe by losing the optimum position). I think what I am getting by day is some RF from the wiring that is focussed on the FM band. There's lots of experimenting I need to do before giving up and paying a not insignificant ammount to put the FM yagi on the roof. The solar panels are a positive move, it's just a pity that I might have problems listening to the proms and live evening concerts at the one time the BBC will be guaranteed to use the lower, less satisfactory bit rate on Radio Three, due to the Olympics. For some reason the live HD feed on the web does not sound as good to me as the 192kbps DAB feed, let alone the FM when the signal is at it's best.
    It\'s the music that it is there for!

  6. #6
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    Thank you, gentlemen. YODA; your caveats are valid, but not in my case. AVINUNCA1 Interesting technical stuff, and useful.

    A friend with a similar hifi mains installation and highish end (top Naim) kit has expressed grave doubts. The first two concern investment validity and longevity of the panels, but these don't concern me. The third, however, does ! He maintains that solar panel electricity comes with highish impedance, due partly to the low energy production compared with the grid and partly because of the inverter and other connections involved. After all, 100 amps is instantly available from the grid, but one tenth of that on average from solar energy.

    The primary reason for installing a dedicated hifi supply is to lower the impedance; the lower the better for dynamics and s.q. in theory. His claims of higher impedance even affecting the low grid impedance when solar energy isn't available (when dark, e.g.) is even more worrying. He is a physics lecturer, so should know his stuff, but I wonder if anyone has anything to add to this.

    Even the threat of impairing s.q. through higher impedance, which cannot be reversed easily after installation, is enough to deter me from what I otherwise think is the way to go, with a south-facing roof which can accommodate 13 - 15 panels (3.25 - 3.75 kWh generation at max).
    Last edited by Pussycat; 13-04-2012 at 02:54 PM.

  7. #7
    Super Dooper Wammer johnniebaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoda900 View Post
    Biggest problem is when you try to sell the house. Then the real problems start if it was not done 100% by the book, in legal terms, to satisfy your lender, the buyers lawyer, the buyers lender and their lawyer. Even if it complies to-day there is absolutely no gurantee that it will meet any new requirements that they dream up after you are bound for 25 years and then another 25 years etc. as it is a commercial lease and needs to be excluded from L&T Act 1954 Part II .The Co that you sign up with will sell to a third party who will then mortgage the commercial lease on your roof and airspace above it. So the original Co will disappear with the sale of rights proceeds. The buying Co will have had its money back from the mortgage so no one will be interested in you. The rights will belong to someone you have no control over or dealings with and you will need intervention of the heavenly kind when something goes wrong with the panels, the planning ( if the panels are more than 4cm above the roof face), the Building Regs, the house insurance never mind the wiring system. Literally a minefield on your roof. Watch your step as you and all the readers have been warned. There endeth the Lesson for to-day
    Very interesting, I had wondered about the implications of leasing your roof space to a 3rd party, when selling on the property.

    I'm not crazy, my reality is just different to yours.............................

  8. #8
    Wammer ronin's Avatar
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    i have 2 solar systems one off grid with battery banks and the second is a tracker in the garden exporting to the grid .i can produce on a sunny day 3k an hour , i find my stereo sounds much better when its sunny the inverters run so clean with no mains noise at all .

    and its also nice sitting there and earning money and doing your bit to save the planet ,

  9. #9
    Acc shut see Purité North
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    Off at a slight tangent - I've long wondered if PV is as green as it seems if you include the environmental costs of cell manufacture.

    There are a number of variously scary headlines out there claiming it can be as bad, or even worse than fossil fuels. Several quote this peer-reviewed paper to support their claims, assuming people either won't read it or won't understand it.

    The paper actually concludes "... we quantified the emissions from the life cycle of four major commercial photovoltaic technologies and showed that they are insignificant in comparison to the emissions that they replace when introduced in average European and U.S. grids ...". Jump to section 6 for the full and easily understood summary.

    It's just a shame PV cells are so ugly.

  10. #10
    Super Dooper Wammer johnniebaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post

    It's just a shame PV cells are so ugly.
    Absolutely

    I'm not crazy, my reality is just different to yours.............................

  11. #11
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    EoS is correct - the green credentials of solar panels are overstated.

    MUCH greener to turn off your hi-fi when you aren't using it!

  12. #12
    Wammer karlinamillion's Avatar
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    If you want a green HiFi, class D is the answer. When mine (Squeezebox/Rotel CD/Tact pre/Tact poweramp) is running at loudish volumes, total consumption is less than 40 watts.
    Buy one of those plug enery monitors, & plug yer valves into that, but sit down first!
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  13. #13
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    Hi Mike, may I suggest splitting the PV so that one side goes to batteries(50ah+SLA) that will power your audio. Other side straight back into the grid. That way you can achieve total independence from the grid and the related noise issues. Of course IMHO.

  14. #14
    Super Wammer IanG-UK's Avatar
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    I'm surprised no one has yet said that your hifi will sound brighter with electricity from solar panels
    IanG-UK
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  15. #15
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by addicted to sound View Post
    Hi Mike, may I suggest splitting the PV so that one side goes to batteries(50ah+SLA) that will power your audio. Other side straight back into the grid. That way you can achieve total independence from the grid and the related noise issues. Of course IMHO.

    Hmmm ! Interesting. Don't know how this would work but I like the 'have your cake and eat it, too' aspect. Presumably one buys something like an h/d car battery. I shall investigate, but I guess that entails reconfiguring all the kit to run on DC (i.e., bypassing the AC trannies) and re-routing 8 cables to a battery......slowly going off that idea........
    Last edited by Pussycat; 13-04-2012 at 03:06 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by addicted to sound View Post
    Hi Mike, may I suggest splitting the PV so that one side goes to batteries(50ah+SLA) that will power your audio. Other side straight back into the grid. That way you can achieve total independence from the grid and the related noise issues. Of course IMHO.

    Hmmm! Nice idea, and I like the 'have your cake and eat it, too' aspect. However, how this would work is outside or my mental capacity to fully comprehend. Bypassing AC trannies in the kit, reconfiguring 8 large cables to attach to a car battery or suchlike,.... Nope, I'm just too old.

  17. #17
    drama enthusiast
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    Or you could use an inverter ?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by addicted to sound View Post
    Or you could use an inverter ?
    Or stand on my head ! Seriously, I'll put your idea to my friend to see if he thinks it's feasible. I have a feeling that the impedance factor is going to arise, though. Thanks.

  19. #19
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    Hi

    I have a 4kw PV system installed and feeding into the grid. I notice no difference at to my hifi sound at all . You simply forget you are even running the panels until you get the cheques in the post that is

    Go for it !

    Regards Malc

  20. #20
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    I don't forget my 4kw set up is there - I have a power router system which allows me to see hr by hr how much I'm generating :-)

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