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Case Study 6: Mr and Mrs Gee

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Richard and his wife Mary Gee live in Gloucestershire and have recently refurbished their 5-bedroom Cotswold stone house. 

As well as increasing the insulation level throughout, they also decided to use three outbuildings for solar panels to try and minimise their electricity use through the year.

They have three teenage children and, although they have oil central heating and a wood burner through the winter months, they still have significant electricity demand - with a private sewage system pump required to be running 24/7, a further pump preventing groundwater build up, some electric heating, twin hot water tanks, an Everhot 150i and a new Everhot Stove to dump any excess electricity into before exporting to the grid.

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Although none of the buildings were ideally oriented, the solar panel proposals still offered a payback of circa 10 percent at 2021 electricity prices. Mr Gee says, "this seemed to make the investment logical as well as trying to reduce my carbon footprint. With the increases in electricity costs, it’s anticipated that the payback will be in around five years rather than the ten projected - giving a 20 percent return."

The total permitted installation size from the electricity board was 13kw but Mr and Mrs Gee installed 18.8Kw of panels with a 13Kw inverter capacity to limit it. This would ensure the inverters were producing useful power for more of the year, and there was also excess in sunny weather to charge batteries for overnight use.  

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Mr Gee says, "The installation has only been fully operational for April 2022, and the data is currently limited to that period, but initial results are very positive. All of the data is reported via the Solarlog inverter software and in the first month solar has produced 78 percent of our electricity requirements." 

Essentially on a sunny day they can run grid-free as there is sufficient excess power to charge the batteries which will then see the family through the night. They have adjusted their ECO delay on their Everhot so that the hotplate wakes at 0600 rather than 0500 and then the ovens slumber on until 0800. This allows the solar production to pick up before the house load increases. 

Their electricity consumption overall has actually risen slightly because they 'dump' their excess power into their Everhot Stove and their hot water tanks via an ‘Eddie’ and the wood burner and oil boiler have been turned off. This saving in oil and wood hasn’t been quantified but is an added bonus that hadn’t been really anticipated.