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Expert interview on photovoltaic systems

The sun, already 4.5 billion years old, is an almost unlimited source of energy that makes life on earth possible. Although only a fraction of their energy reaches the earth, this proportion is around 10,000 times higher than the energy needs of all of humanity. However, awareness of the enormous potential of this energy source is by no means recent, as we know from the ancient Egyptians. What is new, however, is the progress and further development of solar technology, which has meanwhile made the targeted generation of electricity and heat an integral part of our houses.

In the following, our expert gives you an overview of the use of solar energy: Whether photovoltaic systems , electricity storage or solar thermal energy – here you will find answers from solar technology expert Uwe Biermann!

the essentials in brief

  • Take the time to deal with the topic. With well-founded knowledge, you will be well prepared for every consultation.
  • Photovoltaic systems will be indispensable in the future due to the energy transition. The year-round use of solar energy allows the production of clean electricity and makes you independent of electricity price fluctuations.
  • The costs for a system depend largely on its size, the desired degree of self-sufficiency and the quality of the solar cells. Don’t skimp on quality, because the purchase of a system pays off financially with every additional year of use.

In the meantime, 6.4% of the gross electricity requirement in Germany is already covered by photovoltaics – and the trend is rising. Due to the energy transition, photovoltaics have become indispensable in Germany. The systems are constantly being further developed and their efficiency improved. But why should you choose solar energy at all? And what costs do you have to budget for a good photovoltaic system? In order to be able to assess whether the prices quoted in a consultation are really reasonable, a little background knowledge of the facts, quality and influencing factors relating to photovoltaics is essential.

Why should I choose a photovoltaic system?

The biggest advantage of photovoltaic systems is the year-round use of the free energy source sun. They produce clean electricity without making any noise and thus help to reduce CO2 emissions. Each kilowatt hour generated also brings you cost advantages – either as direct savings or by feeding it into the public grid. Even if the hurdle of acquisition costs has to be cleared first, conservatively calculated, a system will pay for itself after around 10 years. Likewise, with your personal power plant on the roof, you are no longer dependent on fluctuations in electricity prices. The electricity produced is used in a variety of ways: Whether the new Ultra HD television, the refrigerator, the aquarium, the in-house sauna or the heat pump, which even generates four kWh of heat from one kWh of electricity – everything that requires electricity is supplied by the photovoltaic system.

How much do photovoltaic systems cost?

The question of costs is not that easy to answer. The price largely depends on the size of the system, i.e. how many modules your system consists of. The cost of a module, in turn, depends on what is known as the kilowatt peak (kWp) – the peak output of the system under laboratory conditions. An important note: In practice, these maximum values can deviate greatly, since weather conditions in particular affect system performance. The costs of photovoltaic systems from different providers can be compared using the price per kWp. The average kWp price for a good quality system with a lifespan of around 25 years was around €1600 at the end of 2014. If we assume that an average family house requires a photovoltaic system with 5 kWp, the costs for the system would amount to around €8000. We have put together a financing example for you to illustrate.

When does a photovoltaic system pay off?

In general, households with higher electricity requirements also benefit to a greater extent from photovoltaic systems. Because the more electricity that is required and that is produced by the consumer himself, the greater the savings on the electricity bill. In addition, the system is worth more with each year of use. Therefore, you should not skimp on quality, because that will ensure you exactly these extra years. In the best case scenario, your system will be exposed to all weather conditions for better or worse for 30 years in order to supply you with reliable electricity. Insist on good advice and have the modules shown to you and explained in detail. A good energy consultant who stands behind their products will also take the time to answer all your questions without evasion.

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