However, the last couple of days I've noticed that our batteries are nearly fully charged by lunch time. I can tell this as on our Outback MPPT controller it tells you when the panels go into "float" mode, which means the batteries are nearly at capacity and the absorption from the sun is 'slowing down' - so not to over charge the batteries.
Anyway, it seems a waste to have all these solar panels and not have them being utilised during the best hours of the day.
Basically, you see, after the batteries are fully charged, the solar panels effectively 'switch off'.
So I'm thinking I could either get more batteries which I don't want to do (as they need replacing every couple of years) or I could divert some of the energy to something like the immersion heater which would then give us hot water.
I've seen this online:
It's a 12v element which basically replaces the 240v element in the calorifier that we have now. However, I'm still trying to find out how it would be connected to the MPPT controller or if it is directly connected to the solar panels.
I need to do some research but this would be incredibly economical and means we really wouldn't have to run our engine at all during summer months. (we still have to at the moment as our engine heats up our hot water!)
What's a little bit annoying is the fact that we had a wind turbine which can also be rigged up to heat a 12v immersion heater - and we got rid of it. If I'd have known I'd have kept on to it, purely to heat water!