Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Solar power on a good day

Last May we installed solar panels on our roof capable of generating 5kW of electricity per hour - this is of course when the sun is shining. When the VAT was eliminated and SEAI grants added, it was an attractive proposition - we reckon it will pay for itself in about 5 to 6 years. So - four months later, how are we doing?

Of course, the summer of 2023 was not a great summer for sunshine. The best day for electricity generation was on 3rd June when our system generated 38.65 kWh. You can see from the green line below that at peak time (early afternoon) almost 5 kW was being generated per hour. 

One of the reasons for getting solar power was to avail of the opportunity to charge my car with cheap and possibly free electricity. You can see above from the red line that I charged the car from about 13:30 until 16:00 (the second peak is the immersion heater coming on. The car charges at a rate of 8kWh, and for most of the charging period 5kWh was produced. This means that it was only slightly better than half price night time rates. So - only on really sunny days does charging at this rate make sense - I have since reduced the car's input from 8kWh to 2kWh. It takes longer, but is effectively free.

We also generate excess electricity that is automatically fed back to the electricity grid. We should get about 21c per kWh - on the same day as above, we should have received €4.83 from our supplier, Electric Ireland. However, as we don't have a smart meter in our house (though one is coming soon) we only get an estimate of electricity generated, which is way lower than what you see on the chart below.

So far, solar power is a positive experience. It's great on sunny days when 5kWh can be generated - however, when a cloud blocks the sun, this figure can drop to 1kWh. On rainy and dull days, very little is generated (more about this in next post), and of course the winter is coming!

Monday, September 18, 2023


Scan to access Instagram.
I have just recently revisited Instagram. I set up an account a few years ago and promptly forgot about it. Now I want to showcase my woodwork which has become a serious hobby for me - scan the QR code to access my Insta page. I have no intention of becoming an Influencer and making money by selling my work. Instead, my pieces are for family and friends as gifts (or payments!)

Much work goes into making an oak table. Finding the right sized tree is of course the first option - all my oak tables come from my Dad's farm in Ballingate, Co Wicklow. It is usually my brother Joe who cuts the slabs, as he is a far better chainsaw operator than me. A long period of drying follows, and it is pot luck as to how cracks will form during the drying process. Next is levelling with a router followed by lots and lots of sanding until a smooth table top is formed. I mostly buy iron table legs on-line, this makes getting a level table a lot easier. The last stage is filling the cracks with resin and polishing off the final product. A huge amount of time goes into each piece, though I am getting better and more efficient with every job. I see some of these types of tables making big money on-line, but these are made by professionals who have a lot more gear than me. 

I have shown/boasted about some of my pieces in this blog before, but Instagram is the place for my work from now on. I have quite a lot of pieces planned for this autumn and winter - in addition to table tops, I also want to create a side table, bread/cheese boards, and also to try my luck with ash. 

The beginning.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

I haven't gone away you know!

August 2023 is the first month since January 2008 that I have not posted on this blog. After a run of about 170 months in a row, I just did not get around to writing anything in August - a month which I mostly spent in Wexford. It was not a deliberate decision, but over the past couple of years since I retired, there are a lot of subjects that I am no longer really interested in. I have tended to put short posts on Facebook instead.

So - just a quick note to say I am back, and hope to renew blogging over the next few weeks.