Sunday, 4 May 2008

Sunny Days.

OK, now brewing beer is an energy intensive activity and always has been - we're never content with leaving stuff at ambient temperature, always wanting it very hot or very cold. So as a collective industry we've had a few hundred years practice at keeping these costs as low as possible. For instance: as the brew is boiling we use the steam generated to heat cold water for cleaning or brewing. Cooling the wort (after boiling) with cold water generates more hot water for cleaning or brewing or heating.

Yet despite all this efficiency and energy recovery our usage is relatively high so I took a look at the feasibility of installing a solar-panel (pv) system on our roof in the hope of becoming a British Gas supplier, rather than customer (which, as we all know, is close to purgatory).

Here's what I found out:
  • The south east is a good place to be for this kind of thing because it isn't the grim north, I suppose.
  • Our south facing roof, pitched at 30 degrees above the horizontal is a pretty good orientation.
  • Every 8 square meters of pv panels will generate around 800 units of electricity (based on our orientation & location).
  • Every 8 square meters would cost £5K installed.
  • 800 units, at current prices, saves me £73.44 on my British Gas bill.
  • The government would contribute a further £28 totaling up my savings to £101.44
So, for every £5000 I spend I save £101.44 per year. A return on investment (interest ignored) of 49.29 years.

Not exactly enticing is it? Would any manufacturer give me a 50 year warranty? Would they 'eckers like! Energy is going up and technology is improving so there will come a time when the numbers add up. If there emerged a vibrant pv panel manufacturing industry, costs would fall rapidly and grants and/or increased subsidy would help that become a reality sooner.

Lobby your MP please.

In the meantime I'm thinking up ways of integrating solar-water-heating-panels to our system as they are considerably more economically justifiable. Problem is, I have more hot water from my existing recovery systems than I really need already. Any ideas?

4 comments:

Pants2U said...

You could give your dray(MAN) a good wash. Or perhaps half of THANET!

Gadds Beers Hop said...

Wash the great unwashed? Open a bath-house? (Did you know Churchills started life as a bath-house?)

Yes, I could wash half of thanet (and my drayman). Perhaps you'd like to inform them that they need it?

Jake The Smeg said...

Presumably that'd be the half of Thanet that is working up a sweat through gainful employment?
The half of Thanet that (most likely) paid for the computer which enabled such a bold statement to to be broadcast on the internet.

Gadds Beers Hop said...

'pants2u', 'jake the smeg'? What cute handles you've dreamt up?

Disparaging remarks about Thanet are largely born of ignorance in my humble opinion. I love the place and the people are sound and friendly.

Now can we talk about solar panels please?