FAQ
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Key facts about solar electricity

Are you interested in solar electricity and would like to have a quick overview of facts? You can find all key information here.

Doesn't manufacturing a photovoltaic system use up more energy than such a system actually produces during its lifetime?

Doesn't manufacturing a photovoltaic system use up more energy than such a system actually produces during its lifetime?

The time required to offset the energy consumed to produce solar power systems depends on the energy yield and the useful life of the module technology concerned. In sunny locations such as North Africa, a solar power system will already produce more clean electricity after one year of operation than the energy used to produce it.

SolarWorld crystalline solar panels which are installed in Germany will take about one year to offset the energy used in production.

Do I need to insure a solar power system?

Do I need to insure a solar power system?

To be on the safe side - Building insurance enables you to receive financial compensation in the event of damage due to elements such as the effects of the weather, vandalism or theft. Just ask your insurance company what kind of coverage you need in addition to your general liability insurance.

SolarWorld offers a comprehensive, free insurance package in cooperation with the ERGO Insurance Group. This special insurance is an optional, integral part of SolarWorld kits. It is a combined insurance policy covering all risks, breakdown, minimum yield and construction risks, which offers maximum protection for your investment.

Who will take care of maintenance once my system is installed?

Who will take care of maintenance once my system is installed?

A solar power system requires little maintenance. However, you will need to pay meter rental. Any dust or dirt on the photovoltaic modules is usually removed to an adequate extent by snow and rain. Particularly tough dirt or stains, such as leaves and bird droppings, which cause part of the system to be covered in shade, should be removed as quickly as possible. Possible cleaning and small repairs should also be taken into account when calculating operating costs.

You should arrange for your SolarWorld specialist to maintain your system on a regular basis to ensure it runs to full capacity at all times. The most important task is to read the electricity meter on a regular basis to ensure you detect any faults in good time, even though faults rarely occur. The best way to safeguard your system is to enter into a maintenance agreement. Your system's performance will thus be checked every year, before the months with high levels of sunshine.

How is my installed solar power system connected to the grid?

How is my installed solar power system connected to the grid?

Is your system ready? Then get yourself connected to the grid and start harvesting non-polluting solar electricity. A solar power system is usually put into operation by the specialist fitter who carried out the installation. The fitter then contacts your local electricity company regarding connection to the grid. At the same time, a representative from the grid operator will connect the feed-in meter and ensure electrical connections and the network are safe and secure. The system must be registered with the German Federal Network Agency the day it is put into operation at the latest. The local electricity company is only obliged to pay a feed-in tariff for the electricity you produce if the system is registered.

 

How can I receive an offer for SolarWorld products?

How can I receive an offer for SolarWorld products?

When purchasing a solar power system, it is not only the technology used which is a decisive factor. Good service and warranties also play a role. You can receive personal advisory services from a SolarWorld retail and trade specialist, who are experts in the field. They will provide you with everything from a single source, from planning through to installation and maintenance of your solar power system.

Do I need planning permission?

Do I need planning permission?

As a general rule, planning permission is not required when installing a photovoltaic system. Heritage-protected buildings are an exception, since a solar power system changes the appearance of such buildings. Approval must be obtained from the local authorities in such instances. In applying for approval, you need to show the authorities that the photovoltaic system you plan to build will only affect the outward appearance of your protected building to a very limited extent.

In making your application for approval for your photovoltaic system, you can also refer to amendments to the 1998 German Construction and Land Use Regulations Law. According to this law, a town planning agency's tasks and policies include taking into account 'the interests of environmental protection, also through the use of renewable energies' (section 1, para. 5, clause 7, German Construction and Land Use Regulations Law).

In what way do I protect the environment with solar electricity?

In what way do I protect the environment with solar electricity?

A solar power system not only allows you to become less exposed to ever-increasing energy costs, but also enables you to protect the environment, as electricity generated by a solar power system eliminates many tons of CO2 emissions. In Germany, for instance, 700 grams of CO2 are emitted on average to produce a kilowatt hour of household electricity in coal, gas and nuclear power plants. In contrast, a solar power system cuts emissions by 569 grams per kilowatt hour and year. Thus, 3.6 million tons of CO2 were eliminated in 2009 as a result of all the installed solar power systems.

What is solar electricity? And what are photovoltaics?

What is solar electricity? And what are photovoltaics?

Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of solar energy into electrical energy. The term 'photovoltaics' is made up of the word 'photo' – the Greek word for light – and 'volta' – after Alessandro Volta, a pioneer in electro-technology ('photovoltaic effect').

How cost-effective is it for me to be my own electricity producer?

How cost-effective is it for me to be my own electricity producer?

With solar power you can get a higher yield return than with any other classical financial investment. The German feed-in tariff is guaranteed over 20 years by the Renewable-Energy-Law (EEG). Thus you get good money of our network operator for on-grid solar power.

You can raise your own consumption divvy and increase your earning with simple actions. Goal is to use as much self-produced electricity for your own as possible. It is doable to reach an own-consumption divvy of 30% without additional actions. You can raise it up to 60% by systematic engaging of your electric systems. Technical solutions as the Suntrol plant monitoring system can help you advancing your energy management.

Is solar electricity required to be fed into the public grid? (Only for the German market)

Is solar electricity required to be fed into the public grid? (Only for the German market)

At present, self-generated electricity can be fed into the public grid and also consumed on site. Electricity fed into the grid is paid for in accordance with the Renewable Energy Law (EEG). Electricity fed into the grid is paid for in accordance with the Renewable Energy Law.

Solar electricity can also be used directly in places where there is no connection to a main grid, e. g. to run refrigerators and lighting in hospitals in remote settlements far from electricity networks in developing countries. In Germany, these so-called stand-alone systems are used to a lesser extent in applications such as solar garden lights, pool pumps and parking ticket machines. Such systems are often equipped with a battery to store energy to improve reliability of supply.

How does sun become electricity?

How does sun become electricity?

The sun supplies us with energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation on a daily basis. This radiation can be exploited with the help of the photovoltaic effect. To do so, the semi-conductor material silicon is used, for instance. When a thin silicon disc is exposed to irradiation, electrons are set free and can be used to create electricity. The silver grey silicon discs are known as wafers once the production process is reached. To increase a wafer's yield, a special coating is applied which gives solar cells their distinctive blue or black colouring. A thin lattice consisting of metallic conductive strips is also affixed to ensure that the current can be conducted and used. Once this production stage is completed, wafers then become solar cells. The solar cells are arranged in rows and interconnected in so-called strings. Several strings are placed next to one another to form a photovoltaic module, which is then laminated in the last production stage to make it airtight and waterproof. The module is now ready to convert sunlight into electrical energy.

As photovoltaic modules generate direct current which AC networks cannot transmit, a further component is required for a complete solar power system: a so-called inverter transforms solar direct current into alternating current, which can then either be used directly on-site in the building or fed into the electrical grid. 

Is my roof actually suitable?

Is my roof actually suitable?

In Germany, insolation is sufficient in all of the country's regions to ensure solar power systems are cost-efficient. As a general rule, solar power systems can be installed in any location where there is sufficient light. A south-facing surface achieves optimum yield at an angle of about 30°. A variation in orientation towards the south-west or south-east or in pitch between 25° and 60° will only reduce the energy yield slightly. Shade produced by trees, adjacent buildings, gables, aerials and similar should be avoided, as they reduce the electricity yield considerably.

Mounting systems are used in the case of flat roof, pitched roof or open area systems and guarantee an optimum orientation for photovoltaic modules.

On-roof
For all existing pitched roof surfaces: an on-roof system is installed without affecting the impermeability of the membrane on an existing roof.

Flat roof
For flat roofs, there are frame and tub systems which securely support modules at an optimum angle to the sun.


Open area
Systems which can be perfectly adjusted to varying or uneven substrates and landscapes; used as stand-alone applications or in solar parks.

With Sunfix plus SolarWorld offers mounting systems which can be individually adjusted to structural conditions and needs, thus ensuring optimum and safe utilization of installation surfaces.

How do my roof and its solar power system become a 'roof savings book'?

How do my roof and its solar power system become a 'roof savings book'?

Invest in your own roof to combat economic crises and open a 'roof savings book' under favourable conditions: with a solar power system you produce clean energy and thus receive guaranteed returns thanks to the feed-in tariffs specified under the German Renewable Energy Law. Your solar power system thus becomes a 'roof savings book' – assured for over 20 years.

There are new feed-in tariffs as laid out by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). You can find the currently valid feed-in tariffs here.

What kinds of subsidies are currently available? (Only for the German market)

What kinds of subsidies are currently available? (Only for the German market)

There are new feed-in tariffs as laid out by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). You can find the currently valid feed-in tariffs here.