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A short history of the house computers


These pages detail our attempts to minimize our eco-footprint. We have dabbled with

  1. Photo-Voltaic panels (including Uninterruptible Power Supplies)
  2. Rainwater Harvesting
  3. Smart Heating
  4. Computer support for all the above

Current PV Scenario (Solar Plots)

Our original Trace inverter of 3.5kW was installed in 2003, and has been running more or less happily ever since. Unfortunately, it only has 1.5kW of PV panels attached, as that was the maximum size afforded by the PV panel rebate then in force. Still, it supplies about 1/3 of our daily usage, together with 330AH @ 24v of battery backup.

With the remodelling of our house, it seemed appropriate to upgrade this system, and extend the number of panels to fill out the available capacity. However, while I was told that this was technically feasible, a better and cheaper solution was to go for a completely independent new inverter and panels. So we now have a new Fronius Primo 3kW inverter, together with 3kW of PV panels. With double the capacity of the old system, and now 3 times the original system, it should come close to providing almost all our power needs.

I say "almost", as the system is not ideal, with 1.5kW of panels on the east facing gable, and 1.5kW of panels on the west facing gable. (The old system remains on the north facing gable.) It all does do better - our power consumption has dropped from 24kWh/day to about 12kWh/day.

(20210907:105414) Yes, well, that was before our son and daughter-in-law with their two daughters moved into the house with us. This was planned (see My Personal Page), so it was no surprise. But our services consumption has increased correspondingly. Our daily electricity usage now averages just under 28KWh per day.

(20210907:114846) But wait, there's more! 4 weeks ago we ripped out the solar/gas boost hot water system (the solar tubes were now shaded part of the day, and were not doing much), and replaced it with a heat pump system. Our electricity usage has soared to 43kWh per day. That does seem a lot, and there's doubtless some seasonal effect, since last year at the same time it was 34 kWh. We shall wait to see how it settles down, and what the cost saving on gas is before passing judgement!

You can see the power and energy generated by the Fronius system by clicking here.

Current Rainwater Harvesting

We now have three 2000 litre tanks for collecting rainwater. The 4000 litre "wootank" had to be dismantled at the start of renovations. Imagine our surprise when we found Percy the Perch flopping around in the bottom as we drained it. We thought he had died years ago. We rescued him and took him to Jells park, where we released him into the lake there.

Unfortunately, at the moment none of the tanks are plumbed to any outlets, so overflow simply goes down the drain. Two factors limit the plumbing: a) the supply pump is currently decomissioned, and needs to be re-instated; and b) there are no vegetable gardens, toilets, or other outlets currently plumbed in.

(20210907:115435) The pump has been recommissioned, and one vegetable garden bed is now with irrigation. But the pump currently suffers from excessive leaking from its joint (more teflon tape anyone?) and urgently needs attention.

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18 Feb 2021
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