Context of tentative PVs installation behind glass
I deciced to turn my apartment's balcony into a source of electricity, especially it is ideally oriented towards the South-West, on a hill facing the Mediterranean sea. 180W solar panels were found to fit in the available space, as per the below picture. I temporarly wired two panels in series underneath the railing and behind the glass.
On a very sunny day and against a maximum theoretical current of 9.52A (Imp), the measurements I conducted simply proved that there's no use to install PVs behind glass.
The below figures do show the Amps readings at the same moment of the day, with the solar panels installed behind the glass (left) and outside the glass (right), and indeed in the exact same place and orientation:
The conclusion leads to no confusion, taking into account the below factors:
The solar panel generated a maximum of 6A instead of 9.52A, that is a loss of -37% compared to Imp.
When installed behind glass, the solar panel's output peaked at 3.4A, that is a further -43% reduction or -64% from the rated maximum current.
Installing solar PVs on a balcony
Taking the above into account, I had then to modify the glazed aluminum frames in order to replace parts of the glass with PVs...until transparent PVs are made availble in the market and can be used for windows!
The wonderful sunlight of the Lebanese mountains
I've recently completed the construction of my vacation home in the middle of one of the numerous picturesque villages of the Lebanese mountains, at some 1200m of altitude, and at the bottom of a mountain cliff populated with a wide variety of pine and oak trees.
The surrounding forest is home to several species of birds and wild animals: crows, falcons, eagles, partridges, jackals, foxes, weasels, voles, and many more...
In such a context, one can hardly imagine turning on a diesel genertor to power-up his/her home, or worse (?), fitting 6 to 8 solar panels on the roof, which destroys the beauty of the roof tiles and produces a harmful mirroring effect pointing towards the piercing gaze of the flying raptors.
How solar power can be made sustainable
The decision was taken and sustainability was considered in all its aspects:
How to power-up a home with a single PV!
The single 545W solar panel was installed directly on the roof tiles while an 800W wind turbine provides some additional energy during winter and storms.
The details of the renewable energy off-grid and autonomous system are as follows:
The total cost of the above solar - wind system is around 1500USD not including installation, the latter having been carried by me; this results in a payback period of approximately one year and up to a maximum of 14 months, compared to equivalent utility energy bills.
Here's why one solar panel is enough...
1- Location where the PV is used
This solar panel is installed at 1200m altitude facing the Eastern Mediterranean see. The climatic conditions are much favorable since:
The sunset as seen from my terrace on a day of November
2- Simple automation and life habits associated with the solar panel installation
To make it work with one and only solar panel, I have fitted very simple automation devices to the system in order to:
Other daily life habits are observed by my family in order to adopt a "solar lifestyle":
That's it! An entire home is powered-up by the Sun, using a single PV!
The electricity occasionally generated by the wind turbine, is a bonus.
I do have indeed a 5KVA diesel generator installed as a backup for weekends with no Sun or Wind, also during storms with low and frequent lightning strikes.
I'm an owner of a niche DIY website and like to share my experience with others.