Power to the People (and a Tesla III please)

Driving through Umbria and Le Marche you will see lots of solar panels. Plenty of sun in the centre part of Italy and programs by the European Union gave solar power a boost.

January 2017 my fidanzata and I bought a farm house in Umbria. An 150 year old, huge villa, badly insulated with antique stone floors and single glass windows with shutters. It had a diesel powered(!) heating system. Not a good start for treehuggers like us: we burned 800 liter of fossil fuel in our first month and it wasn’t even below zero Celsius. But…. there were also 28 solar panels (or fotovoltaico, as they’re called here), producing 5 kW. It was clear the house needed renovations badly.
First we kicked out the diesel heating and exchanged it for an electric boiler and a highly efficient Dutch Remeha heating system running on GPL. Since we’re in the countryside we couldn’t hook up to the methano-grid of the community unfortunately. Also we installed hr double glass to keep the cold out and the heat in.
Then we moved on to expand the number of solar panels to meet our growing demand for power. After a couple of offers and talks to numerous experts, we discovered that there were a lot of options to choose from: what brand of panels, what inverter, mono phase or three phase, etc. This wasn’t easy, because on top of everything new we had to do all meetings in Italian. Eventually we chose a small company ‘around the corner’ NPN, owned by 2 young engineers.

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After lengthy consultations with them bought 16 panels of 327W each, so we doubled our total capacity to 10 kW. More than enough to cover our own needs. Fortunately the Tesla 2 battery that can store up to 13,5 kWh just became available on the Italian market. After some trouble getting the whole system up and running we started charging the battery in October 2017. With this system we only need the grid for peak hours and as a matter of fact most of the time we deliver back to the energy provider ENEL.

The solar panels are mounted on a pergola next to the swimming pool Tesla Solar Umbria

The Tesla App gives you information what’s going on in and around your house. It’s simple to use and shows you how much power your panels produce, what your level of energy consumption is, if the battery is charging or discharging and if you are using or feeding the grid.
After a couple of weeks we had charts that gave us a lot of information like these screenshots of a random day in October are showing:

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Around eight o’clock am the panels start producing energy for the house and, if it’s more than we need, for the battery. Around 2 o’clock the battery is full, so the remainder of the power goes to the grid. Looks like we’ll have an enormous surplus in summer that we rather not sell back to the grid at a very low price. So now we need to start looking for a battery on wheels! Maybe a Tesla Model III?

#Tesla #TeslaBattery #solarpower #fotovoltaico #NPN #Remeha #renewables #war_on_coal