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Help & Advice

Energy Cost Comparison Calculator Gas & Electricity

In our own personal experiences of running a family home, sometimes it can be difficult to decide on the best gas and electricity supplier. Energy suppliers seem to like making it as complicated as possible to decide which is the best deal! Some suppliers can have a high daily standing charge but have a low energy price per kilowatt hour, whilst other suppliers may have little or no daily standing charge and a higher price per kilowatt hour, so which is the best deal. Please use our free gas and electricity supplier comparison calculator below to find out. You may also wish to check how many kilowatt-hours of gas you have used over a period of time to see how much this has cost you. If your gas meter measures cubic feet or cubic metres of gas, there is a calculator below which will convert these units into kilowatt-hours of gas. For example, last week in cold weather I used 42.77 m³ of gas, our unit conversion calculator finds this to be 489 kilowatt hours, if I pay 5p per kilowatt hour for gas, this means I used 489 x 5p = £24.45 for that week

 

Gas
Gas Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Electricity
Electricity Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Gas
Gas Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Electricity
Electricity Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Gas
Gas Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Electricity
Electricity Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Gas
Gas Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Electricity
Electricity Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Gas
Gas Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)
Electricity
Electricity Usage (Kilowatt Hours)
Standing Charge Per Day (£)
Rate per KWhr (£)

Gas Unit Conversion Calculator


Convert Cubic Feet or Cubic Metres of gas in to Kilowatt Hours (KWhr) to match the energy units on your energy bill

Step 1 Subtract your previous meter reading from your current reading to give the number of units used over the billing period.

Step 2 If you have an Imperial gas meter, convert your units into Cubic Metres of gas consumtion as below

Units Consumed   Cubic Feet
 
   
If you have the Cubic Metres consumtion figure, please enter it here or enter the figure calculated above Cubic Metres

Step 3 Convert the volume of gas consumed into its calorific value (the amount of heat energy available)

Calorific Value
megajoules per cubic metre (MJ/m3. This figure should be provided on your energy bill and is usually between 39 and 41 MJ/ cubic Metre)
   
Total Calorific Value

Step 4 Final Conversion into Kilowatt Hours Consumption figure (MJ divided by 3.6)

Step 5 The number of Kilowatt hours used is then multiplied by the price you pay per Kwh to find you total energy cost

Solar Calculator

Our solar calculator can be used to help you decide the best combination of solar panel power output and battery storage capacity in relation to your planned power consumption. Solar power generation is variable between cloudy and sunny spells so it is best to store the power using a battery when it can then be used at any time of the day or after dark.

You can experiment with the different power solar panels. This calculator will show how much power will be generated at different times of the year. There will often be a peak generation during the summer with excess power and limited generation in the middle of winter. The guidance notes to help you understand some of the terminology below the calculator.

 

 

Solar Calculator assumptions

Assumptions

Based on south facing panels mounted at 35 degrees above horizontal, located at a uk latitude of 52 deg n, i.e. manchester. As a guide, the uk south coast and south west england would have around 10% more generation; scotland would have around 10% less solar generation than the figures below.

Terminology

TERMINOLOGY

Wattage To calculate the wattage power consumption of a product, use the following calculation: amps x voltage = watts E.g. 1.5 amps x 240v = 360 watts
Ah An ampere hour (abbreviated Ah, or sometimes amp hour) is the amount of energy charge in a battery that will allow one ampere of current to flow for one hour. An ampere is a unit of measure of the rate of electron flow or current in an electrical conductor.
KWhr Kilowatt Hours. For example, one 1 KWhr is 1000 watts used for one hour.
Deep Cycle A deep-cycle battery is designed to discharge between 45% and 75% of its capacity, depending on the manufacturer and the construction of the battery. Although these batteries can be cycled down to 20% charge, the best lifespan vs. cost method is to keep the average cycle at about 45% discharge.
Recycling Deep cycle lead acid batteries are recycled 98% by volume, 99.5% by weight. The plastic cases, lead plates, sulfuric acid, solder, and other metals are 100% recovered for reuse. Always take used lead acid batteries to a recycling centre at the end of their useful life.

Essential Information

NOTE: The usage hours above assume you have had adequate sunshine to fully charge your battery, or your battery has had a full solar re-charge because you have not used it recently.


FURTHER CALCULATION & GUIDANCE NOTES

You may find that in order to full charge larger capacity batteries, especially during the winter months, that you need to design your system with more solar power wattage input, in some cases a multi solar panel array maybe needed.


BATTERY AH TO KWHR CALCULATION NOTES

In some systems, 12 volt batteries will be connected in series (end to end) to create a higher final voltage which may be needed to suit the type of inverter used. For example, two 12 volt batteries in series will provide 24 Volts, or 8 x 6v batteries in series will provide 48V

In the above 12v Battery example, if two 12 volt batteries rated at 100 Amp Hours were connected in series, while the voltage would increase to 24 Volts, the Amp Hours would remain the same. Therefore, whilst batteries in series add the total voltage together giving a higher voltage output, the total Ah capacity of the batteries is not added together in the same way.

An example of why this happens can be seen when comparing batteries wired in series and parallel. For example, 2 x 100Ah batteries in series would give a 24v output at 100Ah = 2.64Kwh OR 2 x 100Ah batteries in parallel would give a 12v output at 220Ah = 2.64Kwh. Battery KWh storage is indicated above below the battery capacity user input box.


BATTERY CHARGING

A battery solar charge controller will be needed in most circumstances to control the output voltage from the solar panel (usually 18-22 volts) and ensure steady charge to the battery. Our charge controllers also have a 12v output and a 5v USB output.


TYPES OF SOLAR ELECTRICITY STORAGE BATTERY

The natural cost effective choice is to use a deep cycle lead acid battery but please be aware of their limitations as below. Battery limitations may mean it could be better to oversize the battery for you required usage to reduce the depth of discharge and in turn prolong battery life

Depth of DischargeDeep Cycle Battery
100% 150-200 Cycles
50% 400-500 Cycles
30% 1000 and more cycles

Other types of specialist solar power storage lead acid batteries are available which can last for over 2000 deep discharge cycles. These often have specially coated and thicker heavy duty positive plates within the battery.

Lead acid car batteries or similar should not be used for solar electricity storage purposes as they are not suitable for deep discharging due to their thin lead plate construction.


INVERTERS

You may wish to use an inverter with your battery in order to convert the output voltage to power 240V AC appliances. Note that whilst inverters are very useful, they do only have an efficiency of around 90% meaning that 10% of your battery storage will be an inefficiency loss. Alternatively, you may wish to consider using 12V DC input lighting and appliances which would not suffer the invert losses.

Solar Calculator

Solar System Inputs

Typical KWh Generation per Day

Month Low Average Peak
January 0.00 0.00 0.00
February 0.00 0.00 0.00
March 0.00 0.00 0.00
April 0.00 0.00 0.00
May 0.00 0.00 0.00
Jun 0.00 0.00 0.00
July 0.00 0.00 0.00
August 0.00 0.00 0.00
September 0.00 0.00 0.00
October 0.00 0.00 0.00
November 0.00 0.00 0.00
December 0.00 0.00 0.00

Battery Re-Charging time (Days) based on:-

Your Chosen Ah Battery is equivalent to 0.000 Kwh Storage

Please find below Battery Re-Charging time (Days) based on an average day of solar power generation using your selected solar panel size above.

Month Deep 80% Discharge Low 20% Discharge
January 0.0 0.0
February 0.0 0.0
March 0.0 0.0
April 0.0 0.0
May 0.0 0.0
June 0.0 0.0
July 0.0 0.0
August 0.0 0.0
September 0.0 0.0
October 0.0 0.0
November 0.0 0.0
December 0.0 0.0

Approximate Hours of Usage:-

Based on your anticipated power load on the system of watts, your maximum usage time for this battery capacity would be around 0.0 Hours

Approximate Hours of Usage based on your selected battery capacity in section 2 above with an 80% deep battery discharge (see notes on battery life below)

Other usage examples below Watts Hours of Usage for your selected battery / solar panel combination
Computer (monitor & printer) 400 0.0
Electric Drill 450 0.0
Games Console 100 0.0
Laptop Computer 95 0.0
Small Refrigerator 250 0.0
TV 13" with dvd player 210 0.0
10w LED floodlight 12 0.0

Help & Advice

Glossary

  • LED - Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a device consisting of a semiconductor that emits light energy when an electrical current is passed through it. LEDs can be used for a wide range of lighting applications. It is predicted that LED lights are the future for energy-efficient home lighting.
  • IP Rating - IP, or Ingress Protection rating of an electrical product is a guide that is used to detail the strength of the enclosure that surrounds the electrical components. In the case of LED lights bulbs, the IP-rating measures the tolerance to the effect of dust particles and the level of protection against water or liquids. IP65 means that the LED bulb is totally protected against dust and can withstand low-pressure jets of water from all directions - with limited ingress acceptable.
  • GU10 - The Classic Mains Voltage GU10 twist fitting spotlight. Choose LED options for lower energy and longer lasting bulbs.
  • MR16 - spotlight bulb fitment type. Most MR16 lamps are operated using voltages lower than 120 volts, typically 12 volts. Some MR16 lamps, however, operate using 6 or 24 volts. An
  • LED Driver Transformer is needed to reduce the line voltage from 240 volts to the appropriate level for these lamps. Most low-voltage lamps have 2-pin bases.
  • LED Driver - An LED driver is an electrical device that regulates the power to an LED or string(s) of LEDs. What makes an LED driver different from conventional power supplies, is that an LED driver responds to the ever-changing needs of the LED, or circuit of LEDs, by supplying a constant current to the LED, as its electrical properties change with temperature. The power level of the LED is maintained constant by the driver as the electrical properties change throughout the temperature increases and decreases seen by the LED(s). Without the proper driver, the LED may become too hot and become unstable, causing poor performance or complete failure
  • COB - ‘Chips on Board’, is a new technology of LED packaging for the LED light engine. Multi LED chips are packaged together as one lighting module. Compared to traditional lighting such as a fluorescent lamp, COB LED is super bright for its small size. When COB LED lighting is used, it looks like a minature lighting panel often used within spotlights or LED floodlights. COB LED lgihts are multi chips packaged togehter which it can increse the light emitting are by 10 times in comparison to other types of LED lighting.
  • SMD LED - A type of LED module called ‘Surface Mounted Diode’, used mount LED chips on printed circuit boards (PCB). It is a self-contained Surface-Mount LED device designed either to function on its own or to plug into a compatible unit
  • CFL- A ‘compact fluorescent lamp’, also called compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light, and compact fluorescent tube, is a small fluorescent light fitting designed to replace an incandescent lamp. Most CFL’s are designed to have fitment types compatible with fixtures formerly used for incandescent lamps.
  • T5 fluorescent - T5 (16mm diameter) is a thin fluorescent tube light normally combined with a high frequency ballast which uses less electricity than standard T8 (25mm diameter) or T12 (38mm diameter) diameter tube lights
  • Kwh or Kwhr - Kilowatt hour of electricity consumption. One Kwh is 1000 watts of electricity used for one hour. For one Kwh you can typically, watch TV for 7 hours, do one washing machine or dishwasher cycle, or use a desktop computer for 4 hours. One kilowatt hour is between 14 and 15 pence on average (UK 2014)
  • R-value- This is a measure of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry, more commonly used in America where U-values are used in europe. The higher R-value figure the better the insulation properties. The lower the R-value the higher the heat conduction. The total thermal resistance of a construction is the sum of all ther thermal resistances in the construction. A higher R-value is acheived by using a thick insulation material. An example R-values through a roof might include internal surface resistace R 0.10; 12mm plasterboard R 0.06; 150mm of mineral wool insulation R 3.75; roof air space thermal resistance R 0.2; external surface resistance R 0.04 which totals 4.15
  • U-value - A U value is a measure of heat loss. It is expressed in W/m2k, and shows the amount of heat lost in watts (W) per square metre of material (for example wall, roof, floor etc.) when the temperature (k) outside is at least one degree lower. The lower the u value, the better the insulation provided by the material. The U value is defined as being reciprocal of all the resistances of the materials found in the building element, so in the R-value example above, the U value is 1 divided by 4.15 which equals a U-value 0.24
  • LED Panel light - A circular or square LED ceiling light where the LED’s are normally concealed behind an opaque panel.
  • LED Tube light - Commonly used for the replacement of fluorescent tube lights. LED lights can used 40-60% less electricity than traditional fluorescent lighting. LED are usually mounted on to a PCB strip within the tube and include an LED power supply driver concealed within the fitting.
  • PIR Sensor - Passive Infra-red sensor. This is an electronic sensor which is able to detect movement of a warm object, typically a person or an amimal. Common used with occupancy sensor light switches or security lighting to enable lighting to automatically turn on an off.
  • Photocell switch - A photocell is a light sensitive electronic component. A photocell switch is used to turn light on when is goes dark and off again at dawn.
  • Biomass - Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. In the context of biomass for energy this is often used to mean plant based material, but biomass can equally apply to both animal and vegetable derived material.
  • PV Solar - Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic cells normally made for layers of crystalline silicone. These cells don't need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.
  • Day white - 6000 kelvin colour temperature.
  • Kelvin - Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light and is stated in units of absolute temperature, known as Kelvin (K)

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