It is increasingly common to talk about energy self-consumption or the ability to obtain the necessary energy by installing it in the home, premises or community of neighbors. photovoltaic solar panels or other renewable generation systems and thus not depend so much on the conventional electricity grid.
Although the prices of solar panels They have gone down a lot in recent years, making a “professional” installation at home with the large capacity plates on the roof, terrace or outdoor surface that we have available, continues to be an expensive option that many families cannot afford.
Hence, the so-called solar panel kits for terraces, balconies or windows that promise to bring the advantages of solar energy to our homes on a small scale.
Harnessing solar energy on a small scale
One of the great advantages of this type of photovoltaic kits is its ease of use and installation. And it is that once we have thought about the place where we want to add the modules, its implementation practically depends on connecting the plates to the investment or accumulation system and this in turn to a home electrical outlet in a conventional plug.
There’s no running cables across the roof, installing brackets, drilling holes in shingles or roof tops, or anything like that. The panels can be hung directly from the metallic structures that we have in the balconies, bars, put on pergolas and the like, since they are lighter and more flexible than conventional ones.
Of course, they usually have lower performance in terms of power supplied. For example, these kits usually come in powers between 300 W and 1,200 W maximum, so they are not a solution to achieve complete electrical independence. However, they can be a great alternative to save costs on our bill.
In addition, it must be taken into account that for the installation of this type of device we have to consider a series of aspects, especially with regard to regulations and protocolsas we have already seen in this article.
How much can I save on the electricity bill each year?
Very good, it seems an interesting solution, but now comes the million dollar question:How much can I really save on my electricity bill each year?? It depends.
It will depend on the type of kit that we have contracted, on the total peak power of the panels and, above all, on the where we live, how many hours of light there are per year and the orientation in which we can place the plates.
In general, make a quick calculation by taking the peak power that we install and multiplying it by the number of hours of daylight it will not be correctsince there are many inefficiencies that greatly reduce the capacity offered by the system.
The calculations made by the manufacturers of this type of equipment are not very reliable either, since they tend to go overboard with the best possible installation conditions to get our attention and buy their product.
Therefore, it is best to search examples of similar installations to what we are thinking of riding at home to get an idea of what performance we can really achieve. And if it can be with references of long periods of time for example, an even better year, since there will be months where the performance is very good (in summer) while in others it will be very scarce (autumn-winter).
As an extreme case example with bad weather and few hours of sunshine a year We can verify the experience of this gamestar editor in Germany where he details the installation of this type of kit solar home systems and which, in his case, consists of two 425-watt panels plus an additional 100-watt panel, which is about 950 watts of peak power. However, as he comments in his country, until now they could only be injected through this system 600 watts to the domestic electrical network, a figure that is not always easy to achieve, however, given the German climate in Hamburg.
However, in his case, in 12 months, the balcony system produced a total of 569 kilowatt hours of electricity, which means on average around 1.6 actual kilowatt hours per day in that year. In his specific case, this resulted in a reduction in the annual bill that was around 221 eurosconsidering prices of around €0.40/kWh.
If we live in an area with few hours of direct sunlight per day or we cannot place the panels on balconies and terraces with a good south orientation, these are figures that may seem low and that They take around 6-8 years to pay off.. However, if our home is located in a region where daylight hours abound, this type of panel kit can be even more interesting, since its amortization time is considerably reduced.
For example, if we pay attention to the calculations given by some manufacturers such as Solarlab, for one of their most popular products with a peak power of 800 watts and a location in Madridclaim that we can produce some 1,122 kWh per yearwhich means an amortization of 3 years (the system costs about 1,500 euros) and according to comments, an accumulated saving of 8,703 euros in the 25 years useful life of your equipment.
Another interesting example can be found on the website of Tornasol Energy, a company that has a series of kits with one and two panels in its catalog and that offers an online calculator to see how much we can save depending on where we live, the panels that we have and their orientation.
For example, if we enter typical data for a housing in Alicantewith many hours of sun per day with a 2-panel kit and a maximum peak power of 600 watts (its cost is about 1049 euros) promise an annual production of 951 kWh with savings of 189 euros per year.
Of course, it must be taken into account that in general these domestic installations are less efficient than professionals located on roofs and rooftops. In addition, the kits do not usually allow the addition of many additional modules, with clear limitations on the inverters that are included, so they are more than adequate if we want a small support system on a day-to-day basis, but currently they are not a real option if what we are looking for is energy self-consumption.
Cover image | Litmus Energy
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