Can solar panels be your solution for energy supply?

The purpose of this article is to help you weigh the benefits and costs of such an environmentally friendly investment in the current energy crisis. Could this be a suitable alternative for you with the current energy shortage and energy prices? Can you achieve savings in the long term with this solution? When will the initial costs be recouped?

Can solar panels be your solution for energy supply?


Can you really save money by installing solar panels, or are the initial costs not worth investing in your future?

Although our circumstances are different, with the help of our article we would like to present in an understandable way how investing in solar panels can be beneficial (or not).

The fact is that solar energy is the (most) environmentally friendly solution. It is expected that in the future, electric cars will increasingly load the (electrical) grid, so the value of solar energy is likely to increase. To be sure, all costs related to the purchase and installation of the solar panel must be paid in advance. The question is, is it all worth it? Or is it too much cost for too little return?


Can solar panels be your solution for energy supply?


How much does a solar panel and its installation cost?

Solar panels are now available cheaper than before. Since their production boomed in 2010, prices have dropped significantly, by 70%. This includes all initial costs - from purchase to installation. It is definitely worth using state subsidies to further reduce costs. The price difference is enormous, thanks to which solar panels are now available to those who could not afford them at the time. Especially if we also take into account the possibilities of the state tender.


Can solar panels be your solution for energy supply?


If you want to install a premium panel, you should consider LG’s NeON R or NeON 2 models. This panel is offered with a warranty of up to 25 years, and thanks to its 20% efficiency, it produces almost 4% more electricity than its 440W competitor. Another important point to consider is how efficient the panel will be after the warranty expires - assuming 85% efficiency is the least we want to achieve. In the case of the premium LG model in question, this value is 90%.

- An average household of three in the UK needs to produce 3,000 kWh of energy per year. This means that approx. 10 solar panels are needed, which are approx. It requires 20 m2 of roof space.


How much does it cost to install solar panels?

Most solar installation companies do not list prices. The customer usually receives the final price, which includes the installation price in addition to the panels. It is precisely for this reason that it is important to make sure what kind of panel you order, as this way you can ensure that the solar panel that really suits your needs is installed. Ideally, you need it 25-year warranty and at least 20% energy efficiency.


Can solar panels be your solution for energy supply?


Three UK case studies of solar system costs

- If you want to install a minimum power, 1 kW system, which is approx. It requires a roof area of ​​8 m2, a cost of approximately €2,000 can be expected. This is a very minimal amount of energy that would probably only cover the costs of a single person.

- If you double the efficiency of the system (2 kW), you will need approximately 12 m2 of roof space, which system will cost approximately €4,000. A system of this size will probably already cover the electricity bill, but it will not generate excess energy. Otherwise, you can generate extra income with the excess energy by selling it in the system.

- In the case of a larger family house, to which an approx. A 4 kW system and thus a roof area of ​​20 m2 is required, this type of system will cost approximately €6,000.

The location of the solar panels probably won’t change the price significantly, but depending on the amount of energy the sun produces, it can affect how much you can save and profit by feeding electricity back into the grid. It’s best to start by looking at quotes from local manufacturers to see what options are available for installing solar panels.


Can solar panels be your solution for energy supply?


What else can I gain with my solar panel?

We revisit a British case study. The Smart Export Guarantee fee supported by the UK government means that you can earn income from the energy produced by your own solar panels, i.e. you can resell the excess production.

If the money saved on the electricity bill is taken into account, the cost of installing the panel can be recouped in a short time. The price you pay for the energy (kW) you produce may differ from company to company. In most cases, it is a requirement to install a battery system as an addition, which leads to higher initial costs. Prices vary between 1.5 and 20 cents/kWh (based on 1000 kWh). The average price is around 5 cents. According to the data of "The Energy Saving Trust", an average household can earn €65-€125 per year based on the low price of €4/kWh.

Another important aspect worth considering is that such a system greatly increases the value of the house. To quote Josh Jackman of The Eco Experts, “Solar panels tend to help sell your house, not make it harder. Recent research shows that houses with solar panels generally sell for a higher price on the market than houses without solar panels.”


What factors can affect the price of the solar energy I produce?

The main factor influencing the increase in income is the amount of energy produced. The other important factor is of course the unit price (EUR/kW/h). The energy produced for sale is not the same as the amount of energy produced by solar panels. Of course, the amount you use should also be taken into account.

How much energy you use is a very important aspect, as this determines how much energy you have left for sales through the network. It can generate more energy on a sunny day than at night, and it also depends on whether you have a storage battery. If you don’t have one, the energy is lost, and on nights when you don’t generate extra energy, you have to pay for the energy you use from the common grid.

Of course, the initial investment cost also affects this. If the initial costs are higher due to buying more solar panels, you will be producing more energy than you need. This means that you will be able to sell more energy. However, since the average price of electricity is higher than what you pay for solar panels, you will need more time to recoup the initial costs invested in solar panels. You can read more about this below.


Can solar panels be your solution for energy supply?


How long does it take for the solution to be profitable, considering the cost of the selected solar panels?

Taking into account the purchase and installation cost of a solar collector, it may take years before it becomes profitable. An average 3.5 kWh system costs approximately 5,000 euros. In such a case, it can take up to 9-20 years for the initial investment to pay off.

This depends on many factors, including where you live (whether you get a lot of sunlight during the day or not), the amount of energy you produce, and when you use the energy you produce. Of course, here you also have to take into account the amount you get for the extra energy fed back into the electrical network.

British example: If you live in London, for example, you can save up to 500 euros on your electricity bill and make a profit of 150 euros by selling the generated energy in the grid (on an annual basis). The initial cost of such a system of €5,500 would pay for itself in just under 9 years.

If you live north of London (e.g. Sterling), you can save up to €430 on your electricity bill and make a profit of €120 by feeding the generated energy back into the grid. In the case of installing the above-mentioned solar panels with the same initial cost, the payback time is approx. 10 years.


3 reasons why you should invest in a solar system

1. You can become an "eco-champion".

With electric energy produced from a sustainable source, you contribute to environmental protection, so you can help in the long term and globally.

2. You don’t pay electricity bills

You don’t have to pay a single euro for the electricity bill, so it is immediately included in the price. Considering the rise in energy prices and inflation, this will prove to be an even more significant advantage for the coming weeks and months.

3. Opportunity to earn income

In a short time, you can earn income from the excess energy produced by the solar collectors. As more and more buildings are electrified and prices rise – along with the expected rapid spread of electric cars – you could earn even more in the near future. 


3 reasons why solar panels might not be for you after all

1. Capital is required to purchase and install solar panels. The initial costs are still not low, so the payback period can be up to a decade.

2. You can’t handle maintenance

The fact that solar panels also require cleaning and regular maintenance cannot be neglected. And if you have to call a specialist in the event of an error, this means extra costs every time.

3. Maybe you don’t even need solar power

If you use little energy overall, the solar panel and its installation are not worth it compared to the bills you are currently paying.


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