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Everything you need to know before installing photovoltaic panels at home

Everything you need to know before installing photovoltaic panels at home

An increasing global commitment to sustainability and carbon footprint reduction sees solar energy emerging as an effective and hopeful solution. Photovoltaic panels, which can transform sunlight into electricity, are leading this transition towards cleaner energy sources. They not only represent a move towards green energy but also offer significant savings on increasing electricity bills.

Power of the Sun: renewable energy in action

Photovoltaic panels, also known as solar panels, convert sunlight into electricity through the use of the photovoltaic effect. These plates, which consist largely of silicon solar cells, absorb sunlight and directly generate electrical current, offering a clean and renewable energy source.

What should you know before making the decision?

A certain financial investment is required to install photovoltaic panels. We have to take into account several factors to determine if we can recoup this investment in a reasonable time.

Everything you need to know before installing photovoltaic panels at home. Photo Credit: PEXELS

It is important to remember that a 4KW installation, which is the amount of energy a single-family home usually consumes and is equivalent to 8 500W panels, will cost between €6,000 and €10,000. This will depend on whether we choose a normal or hybrid inverter among other benefits.

Roof orientation

Despite seeming obvious, when planning a photovoltaic installation, the most crucial factor to consider is the home’s roof orientation. It’s true that the sun’s rays hit every orientation at some point during the day, but it’s important to remember that a north-facing roof will receive less light throughout the day.

As a result, the home will need to connect to the electrical grid for most of the day to meet its consumption needs, which will slow down the installation’s payback period.

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Request multiple quotes

Requesting at least three different estimates is also important. Hundreds of companies dedicate themselves to the installation of photovoltaic panels today, and they all offer the same services: installation of the panels, management of all the documentation for aid and subsidies, and first-year maintenance.

Everything you need to know before installing photovoltaic panels at home. Photo Credit: PEXELS

However, it remains important to ask, “Which brand of panels are you going to install?” While in the initial investment one might not want or be able to fill the entire roof with plaques, knowing the worth and quality of each brand is crucial for future investments.

The investor

The device that collects the electricity generated by the panels, integrates it into the home network, and pours what we don’t need into the electrical grid, is the inverter. There are two types of inverters: normal and hybrid. Normal inverters don’t store excess energy; they simply pour it into the electrical grid. Hybrids operate the same as normal ones, but they also let us store all our surplus in batteries for use at night or on cloudy days.

Is it worth investing in batteries?

An installation with batteries can range between €2,000 and €3,000 more than an installation without batteries. The advantage of this setup is clear: a battery stores any unused energy for when the sun isn’t shining. However, the initial cost of the installation, the lifespan of the batteries, and the emergence of virtual batteries in the market lead more and more people to opt for a conventional installation without batteries. Instead, they choose a hybrid inverter, keeping open the possibility of installing a battery in the future.

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The virtual batteries

“When a home switches to self-consumption, the homeowner must notify the supplier, usually carried out by the installation company, and once the supplier accepts the change, the client must request their electricity company to switch to a self-consumption plan.”

A normal plan and a self-consumption plan differ because the company purchases the surplus that our installation generates in the self-consumption plan (always at a price lower than what the customer buys it from the company), which then lowers the bill. At the end of the month, we add the KW that we’ve needed from the electrical grid and subtract the ones that the electrical grid bought from us.

It is evident that we will generate more surplus in the summer months than in the autumn and winter months. Therefore, almost all marketers today incorporate the option of contracting a virtual battery into their self-consumption plans. These batteries store the surplus we generate with our installation in euros, to use in the months with fewer hours of light and offset the cost of the bill.

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