This last month has been us concentrating on analysing what we are going to have in the way of a network, joining up all our microcontrollers and how they will talk to each other including providing a data stream of information to be recorded in our databases.
This is an ongoing project and it will stretch into Phase 6, which is where we implements and commissioning of the various Utilities throughout the House and Garage. We are getting to a point where we do need to start designing the hardware level for the network subsystems, connecting each microcontroller distributed right around a room, or outside somewhere. There will be a master controller that will monitor this local network and then make a record of the activities plus passing on commands into the from the wider scope.

We spent this month having a good tidy up of our various computer systems including rebuilding our old file system and creating a much more modular system running an Unix based platform. We got a build from the TrueNAS organisation which actually uses the FreeBSD implementation of Unix. We now have complete separated servers running on the machine, one for the Web side of things, another for the Database engine, a third for the File Storage itself. We will have other servers setup and running like a Plex Server to allow for media streaming too. The File Server makes backups of all our critical data and documents, copying a set completely off-site as well.

Another area is making a connection to the national Met Office gateway and downloading their hourly prediction dataset for the next 48 hours from the time you request this service. It provides a forecast of temperature, wind speed, rain amount and their generic weather codes indicating those cloudy symbols or bright sunshine etc. This is very useful because we can then make an intelligent decision to whether we need to charge up the battery overnight .. or not as the case maybe. We can programme the Solis Inverter (this handles the Solar Panels and the nighttime charging) and tell it how much energy we wish to put into the batteries. We have written a series of PHP scripts to make the connection to their data gateway and translate their data into our database design. We can now run a query and acting on the information about our Solar Panels (like their elevation and compass direction), we can predict to how much Solar energy we could generate and act accordingly.

We have also downloaded all the Solis data that has been recorded since we have installed the Solar Panels and also we have transformed this data and loaded this into our database as well. We can now see what our Solar Panels has been generating. We can compare against an average ten year sample of the weather condition at our Roselea location (using the European Space Agency’s satellite weather analyser that scans the entire Planet) – you can see the monthly breakdown below and get some idea of where we are. Amazingly, we are doing quite well against the predicted forecasted we had used and calculated for our 7 year pay-back plan.

September 2022289kWh324kWh
October 2022460kWh355kWh
November 2022204kWh251kWh
December 2022167kWh209kWh
January 2023207kWh229kWh
February 202385kWh330kWh
Solar values from our system

As you can see, we are actually slightly ahead of schedule .. so far .. it is all down to the weather !!

As I said before, this is an on-going project and we decided that we will cycle between these two phases, 5 and 6, on a weekly basis. We do need to get on with the house and regain some grounds that we had lost because of all the work we have done on installing the Solar Panels, Batteries and Storage Heater etc.

By Shaun

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