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  1. #1
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    would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?



    Hi,

    I know this might be a silly question, but I have solar panels on the roof, and am not seeing any solar gain, even on sunny days? Granted, its not the height of summer, but can someone point me in the right direction as what it SHOULD be doing at this time of year?

    I am a housing association tenant and the system is a new build

    Crash course in solar required.



  2. #2
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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    are you talking about solar electricity or solar hot water?

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    oh- Solar hot water! I am in the UK though so not much sun here usually!

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    No Cathy, we need a bit more sun before any free heat comes along.
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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Brian, She may be on the sunny "east side", haha

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_UK View Post
    No Cathy, we need a bit more sun before any free heat comes along.
    Thanks Brian. How would the solar need to be set up to work efficiently. Can you give a rough idea of the parameters- or is that too vague a question?

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    The first thing is that you need the sun. You have a solar controller and on it you should be able to see the the collector temp and the storage temp. The collector needs to be at least 10C above the storage temp to turn on. We don't know what brand of controller you have so a picture or name might help.

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Ah- The sun- We dont get an awful lot of that here! Anyway, my unit is a solaris RP3 if that helps?

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Hi Cathy,
    From the details I believe that your solar pump control station is of Daikin origin to match your Daikin Altherma unit.
    As the others have commented, no sun - no heating input.
    You will have to wait for more sunshine to be able to establish if it is working properly or not.
    I am not sure of the individual settings for your solar system.
    Did you get you heat pump settings sorted out?
    Mobile A/C at its best, see avatar.

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Hi Hyperion,

    I am still trying to get my HA to remedy the UFH heating problem. Its a painstaking process, as different people installed different parts of the system, so its hard to establish who is responsible for what! I'll keep you posted. Thanks for asking tho!

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Cathy,
    That sounds all too familiar.
    The HA projects that we have installed end up being a problem to get the right trade in.
    We install the heat pump, the plumbers the UFH and radiators and the electricians the controls etc.
    We end up attending the call outs and trying to put the whole system right.
    Keep on at the HA and you will get there.
    Try to get the Residents Association to help you and put some pressure on the HA.
    Mobile A/C at its best, see avatar.

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperion View Post
    Cathy,
    That sounds all too familiar.
    The HA projects that we have installed end up being a problem to get the right trade in.
    We install the heat pump, the plumbers the UFH and radiators and the electricians the controls etc.
    We end up attending the call outs and trying to put the whole system right.
    Keep on at the HA and you will get there.
    Try to get the Residents Association to help you and put some pressure on the HA.
    Thanks Hyperion,

    Reading between the lines, you install heating systems? The problem , and delay in them coming to sort the whole thing out was because the HA did not sign a maintenance contract with the installers so............ in the meantime we are all running systems with patchy/ non existent heat output. I think I would be right in saying that if I have patchy heat then I would be consuming more electricity to get the property to reach temperature? Perhaps you would correct me if I'm wrong!

    Are you aware of how I might go about ensuring (what with all the different installers) that the system is running efficiently. Who would make sure that it is?

    PS. It seems that I have become the founding member of the 'residents association' and am applying the pressure required to get this sorted for all concerned.

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Hi Cathy,
    Yes you are right we install the Daikin Altherma split heat pump systems and then rely on the main building contractors other trades to complete the UFH, plumbing and electrics. We would then return to site to commission the system.

    If the heat output to the rooms is patchy as you have previously mentioned, then it may be that the UFH has not been completely balanced and commissioned. This needs to be done by a heating engineer conversant with the type of system that has been installed.

    You are probably correct in that the system could be using more electricity than expected if the rooms are not the required temperature.

    It must be most frustrating trying to get the HA to appreciate the complexity of the problem.
    Is there a Tenants Liaison Office on the HA who may be able to advise you how to escalate your complaints?
    Mobile A/C at its best, see avatar.

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Hyperion, are you (or any one trade) not allowed, in the UK, to take on the whole project and have your own subtrades (electrical etc).

    I will not do a job where I don't have full control of all aspects that could cause issues with the install but I don't know what the norm is there. We have condominium buildings here where each suite is owned by individuals but it is like herding cats when there is a common problem. The builder gives up responsibility too quickly IMO.

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Hi Mike,
    We can take on full responsibility at the design stage and offer to use our own specialist sub-contractors, however with new builds, the main building contractor often prefers to use his own or preferred sub-contractors.

    This is the problem at present with many of the Housing Association heat pump projects. If it was a conventional gas fired boiler, then you would rightly expect the heating/boiler engineer to sort out any operational problems.

    In most cases if we attend the site we endeavour to find a solution whether it be on the heat pump unit, plumbing or electrical. Sometimes we have to call on other trades to correct the problem. This is all well and good if you are getting paid for the work, but not so good if you are expected to attend under warranty and find it is plumbing or electrical problem external to the air source heat pump.
    Mobile A/C at its best, see avatar.

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    OK, same here. What you would call a "Housing Association" is probably what we would call a "Condominium Corporation". Everyone has their own unit but with some common areas and a new build warranty that is supposed to cover everything.

    Never works here as the builder only wants the cheapest mechanical stuff but expensive kitchens and tiles. Builder picks and chooses trades and they overlap, trade takes off saying problem is the other trades fault.

  17. #17
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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperion View Post
    Hi Cathy,
    Yes you are right we install the Daikin Altherma split heat pump systems and then rely on the main building contractors other trades to complete the UFH, plumbing and electrics. We would then return to site to commission the system.

    If the heat output to the rooms is patchy as you have previously mentioned, then it may be that the UFH has not been completely balanced and commissioned. This needs to be done by a heating engineer conversant with the type of system that has been installed.

    You are probably correct in that the system could be using more electricity than expected if the rooms are not the required temperature.

    It must be most frustrating trying to get the HA to appreciate the complexity of the problem.
    Is there a Tenants Liaison Office on the HA who may be able to advise you how to escalate your complaints?
    Thanks Hyperion

    So if i understand you correctly, If you , (for instance ) had installed my system, and others installed the UFH etc, then you would come and commision the whole lot? Would that commissioning include the efficiency of the UFH heating, or heat recovery unit? Or are you saying that you would only commission the Daikin bits?

    You are right in saying the situation is frustrating. It doesnt help that no-one at the HA really knows how the system works themselves. I appear to know more about it than them, thru reading installation manuals , field settings etc which has taken up a considerable amount of my time! I will get there in the end with them - of that I am sure. I will wait to see who the HA suggests remedy the problem, but failing that, a formal complaint might be on the cards.

  18. #18
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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Hi Cathy,
    Normally we would only commission the Daikin parts that we supplied and installed, but would also work alongside the UFH specialist to ensure that the heat being generated by the Heat pump is being effectively used. However we would not have hte means to check the heating efficiency.

    In the event of a call out to site we would check the operation of the heat pump first and then look to see if there was something obvious preventing the UFH from working. This might be as simplistic as taking the floor temperatures in various rooms and comparing it to the room ambient temperature, this should give some indication as to whether the UFH is working.

    We could check the flow and return temperatures on the individual loops at the manifold connections to also help to establish if all of the loops are getting water circulated.

    If there is a major problem with the loops once you have established that the heat pump is working properly, then you would need to get a thermal image carried out on all of the room which will help to establish the actual loop temperature under the flooring.

    This really ought to be taken up by your HA as there could be some costs involved, but at least the HA could then go back to the developer to seek further assistance. A lot of the recent developments are tied into a two year defects program, which obliges the developer to get things put right.

    Your HA seem to be no different to many others, they have jumped onto the heat pump scheme in order to get the correct BREAM rating for the development without actually looking into the technology or understanding the way that these systems work.

    I admire you for wanting to find out more about how the system works etc, it is a pity that the HA are not as diligent.

    Mike:

    The Housing Association over here finance the building project and then release the houses on either a part rent/part owner ship scheme or on full rental of the properties. They are supposed to accept responsibility for the common areas and other areas as well on the full rent.
    Mobile A/C at its best, see avatar.

  19. #19
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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Hi Hyperion.

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperion View Post
    Hi Cathy,
    Normally we would only commission the Daikin parts that we supplied and installed, but would also work alongside the UFH specialist to ensure that the heat being generated by the Heat pump is being effectively used. However we would not have hte means to check the heating efficiency.
    How could/ would I know, what the heat pump settings should be? Would this be in field settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperion View Post
    In the event of a call out to site we would check the operation of the heat pump first and then look to see if there was something obvious preventing the UFH from working. This might be as simplistic as taking the floor temperatures in various rooms and comparing it to the room ambient temperature, this should give some indication as to whether the UFH is working.
    It is established that the 3 point valve is now working correctly (is this the same as the heat pump?) The heating is working but patchy and/or non existent in other properties.

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperion View Post
    We could check the flow and return temperatures on the individual loops at the manifold connections to also help to establish if all of the loops are getting water circulated.
    I have isolated each of the loops separately, and the feed pipes do get warm (in turn)

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperion View Post
    If there is a major problem with the loops once you have established that the heat pump is working properly, then you would need to get a thermal image carried out on all of the room which will help to establish the actual loop temperature under the flooring.
    Wish me luck on getting this far with the HA!



    Quote Originally Posted by hyperion View Post
    Your HA seem to be no different to many others, they have jumped onto the heat pump scheme in order to get the correct BREAM rating for the development without actually looking into the technology or understanding the way that these systems work.
    What is a BREAM rating


    Thankyou for all your help! you're a star!

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    Re: would you expect a solar panel to have any benefit at this time of year?

    Hi Cathy,

    Yes the heat pump settings would be within the setting parameters. Adjustments to these have to be carried out with care or you could end up with higher running costs. Whilst it is possible for these to be adjusted by the end user, we would recommend that any adjustments be left to a service engineer.

    You mentioned that you received a service visit at which point in time adjustments were carried out to correct a problem with the three port valve. It is quite possible that all of the other properties have been inadvertently set up with the three port valve set up wrongly. It is possible that the circulation pump may be incorrectly set, which could cause low water flow through the UFH loops.

    The thermal image is a last resort and could be quite expensive to get done.

    Sorry, that should have been BREEAM. See the details in the link http://www.breeam.org/about.jsp?id=66

    To summarise, the water flow rates through the Daikin Altherma unit need to be checked to determine if the required 5DegC delta T differential is being obtained. There may be a partial blockage in the inline water filter. There may be parameter settings which are incorrect.

    Your HA may be able to persuade Daikin to attend all or some of the properties to determine if there is a fundamental common error which may be easy to rectify. You could volunteer your system to be the one that all checks and alterations are carried out on, as you now have a reasonable understanding of how the system could and should work.

    The findings from your house should be thoroughly documented, thereby making possible time savings when the other systems/properties are inspected.

    Hope that this helps.

    If you were to identify the area of England that you are in, this might encourage one of the local engineers to become more interested in possibly offering help.
    Last edited by hyperion; 24-02-2014 at 08:49 AM.
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