Winter Solstice, Finally

Finally the shortest day of the year has nearly past us by here in the Southern Hemisphere.

That means that instead of the dreadful average 4 kWh of solar power I am generating per day for the last few weeks, it is onward and upward for the rest of the year. I have a 2.8 kWh grid tied PV system that sits on top of my carport, and it hasn’t seen a full sunny day for what seams like ages. The best output I have had for the last two months was about three weeks ago with an 11 kWh day! I wish I had a wind turbine. At least we get a little bit of wind out here on the western plains when it is cloudy.

I will be planting my tomato and capsicum seedlings tomorrow in my little plastic green house. Hopefully it will warm up enough in it for them to germinate quickly and then I will transfer them into larger pots in a months time. It should be interesting, because I didn’t start my seedlings off until August last year, and it took until mid January until I got to pick the tomatoes. The capsicums were not ready until late April/early May, and they were small, but tasty. I still have three capsicum plants, and two chilli bushes producing as I write. Hopefully, better luck this year with a longer and earlier crop.

Tomorrow, Kim and I are going to a New Age festival here in Melton. A few years ago, we would have thought that they were just a bunch of aging hippies, but now we are open to all sort of interesting things, and are keen to have a look. It should be a fun day!


  1. Anonymous says

    Gavin, have you thought about what your panels actually generate as opposed to their rated output? We, too, have a 2.8kW system but find our maximum output is about 20% less than the manufacturers plate.

    There are other factors all the experts seem to agree on and mainly it is the “it-will-not-quite-generate-all-of-that” factors!

    Due to location, weather, heat loss, mounting inefficiency, panel degradation, cable resistance loss and so on and so forth that works out to be around less 20% and not forgetting the type and place of manufacturer

    This “Derate Factor” can be calculated and it will account for the output inaccuracy of the manufacturer’s nameplate rating.

    or more precisely – Inverter and Transformer and Panel Mismatch, Diodes and connections, DC wiring, AC wiring, Soiling, System availability, Shading, Sun-tracking and Age (but this list is not exhaustive).

    According to [url=]PVWatts[/url] theoretically we should optimally generate about 3648kW/ year and we’ve been around 500kW down / year since installation 2 yrs ago and that is 2.16kW.

    See PVWatts for an explanation where you can also input your Lat/Long, inverter size, and so on.


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