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EMMA and the effectiveness of solar photovoltaics (PV) in Scotland.
The discussion between a panel of experts and members of the public during the first half of the Call Kayeprogramme mentioned grants, payback periods, earnings from feed-in tariffs (which are Government backed and indexed linked for the next 25 years), the longevity of solar PV panels (which last at least 40 years and are maintenance free) and the positive performance of PV in Scotland.
A brief extract from the show appears below (starting circa 30 minutes in).
"Hugh (calling the show from Newbridge, Scotland): We installed solar photovoltaic panels about 3 months ago and we’re delighted with them. My calculations estimate that we’ve got £600 to come back in the first two and a half months [i.e. payments due from feed-in tariffs] so I’m delighted with them. But, I have actually got a question – because they’re photovoltaic, when we’re generating electricity we’re trying to arrange everything so that we use the dishwasher, washing machine and everything during the day so it’s not actually costing us anything. I would be interested to know whether on a good day when we’re producing lots of power, whether there is any way I can actually use it to switch on an immersion heater, rather than manually by hand, but rather by radio-control or something – so we can actually be even more efficient.
Keith (installer): Are you talking about a water heater?
Hugh: Well, we have something that shows how much electricity the generator is producing at any given time.
Keith: A generation metre?
Hugh: Yes. Is it possible to use that to automatically switch on the immersion heater when we’re producing a lot of electricity?
Keith: Yes you can. There’s a device on the market called an EMMA unit which does exactly what you suggest. If you’re consuming only a small amount of energy in the house and your solar PV modules are producing a lot more than you’re consuming, the difference can be dumped into, generally, hot water.
Hugh: Yes, that’s what I was trying to do but I didn’t know how to do it.
Keith: Yes, well there is a unit on the market called an EMMA unit – which is an acronym for something, I can’t actually remember what, to be honest – but yes, that’s exactly what EMMA does."
Our thanks to Keith for mentioning EMMA. EMMA, incidentally, is an acronym for Energy and Micro-generator MAnager. EMMA was originally designed to work with micro-generators, hence the first M of the acronym. However, EMMA has since evolved to work with any size generator – small, medium and large – not just micro, so it is perhaps now more technically correct to describe EMMA as an Energy and Renewable-generator MAnager – but we haven’t gone as far as renaming it ERMA!
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