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. You can find your local SolarWorld specialist who can provide you with comprehensive information about solar electricity here.

How long do solar power systems last?

How long do solar power systems last?

The German Renewable Energy Law guarantees feed-in tariffs for twenty years. The service life of modern solar power systems is generally far longer. A quality module can produce good electricity yields for up to 35 years. Systems exist which have been operating free of defects for decades. However, electricity yield does fall on a yearly basis. Nevertheless, according to long-term studies, good modules still achieve an energy yield far above 80 per cent of their nominal output after twenty years.

As a major solar company, SolarWorld provides a twenty-five year linear performance warranty and an extended product warranty of ten years.

Solar power systems mainly feature a very low rate of failures and require very little maintenance. As a general rule, only the inverter will need replacing after about ten years.

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).

How can I arrange financing? (Only for the German market)

How can I arrange financing? (Only for the German market)

A solar power system can be financed through your own resources, a building loan agreement or a bank loan. Many credit institutions offer special start-up loans for photovoltaics, such as the German development bank KfW Bankengruppe. It offers low-interest funding and assists in acquiring systems through reduced-interest loans which may cover up to 100 per cent of acquisition costs. A loan reduces absolute profits, however. As you use less of your own money, the return on the capital invested increases – provided earnings on the solar power system is greater than the loan interest. Applications for KfW loans must be made via your local bank. You are usually expected to provide about a quarter of the total investment yourself. From time to time, it is worth comparing with other banks which offer their own solar power loans. In Germany, such banks include the Umweltbank, Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB) or the GLS Bank.

How do I open my own roof savings book?

How do I open my own roof savings book?

  • Qualified specialist fitters will advise you and plan your system.
  • Are you looking for a fitter in your area?
    You can find certified SolarWorld specialists here.
  • You apply for a loan with the planning documents.
  • The loan is approved.
  • You contract a fitter.
  • Your solar power system is produced, assembled and dispatched by SolarWorld.
  • The fitter agrees on an installation date with you.
  • The system is delivered to you.
  • The big moment: your system is installed and put into operation.
  • You now produce your own electricity and are unaffected by increases in energy prices. Use our accessories to keep an eye on all performance data and consume as much electricity as possible yourself.

The sun doesn't shine much where we live - Is solar power really worthwhile?

The sun doesn't shine much where we live - Is solar power really worthwhile?

Solarstromanlagen rechnen sich bundesweit: Pro Quadratmeter genießt Deutschland bis zu 1.200 Kilowattstunden Sonnenenergie jährlich. Hocheffiziente Solarstromanlagen von SolarWorld arbeiten effektiv und sauber. Auch bei diffusem Licht, d. h. ohne direkten Sonnenschein, erwirtschaften die Solarstromanlagen noch gute Erträge.

Die Grafik zeigt den durchschnittlichen Monatsertrag einer Solarstromanlage in Kilowattstunden (kWh) pro Kilowatt(kW)-Anlagenleistung in vier aufeinander folgenden Jahren. Durch die lange Laufzeit fallen sonnenarme Jahre kaum ins Gewicht.

Auf vielen Dächern rechnen sich Solarstromanlagen - egal ob Flach- oder Schrägdach. In Deutschland erzielen selbst Anlagen mit einer Dachausrichtung in Richtung West oder Ost gute Renditen. Eine Süd-Ost ausgerichtete Anlage nutzt bei 40 Grad Neigung über 95 % der Sonnenenergie. Eine Anlage in Südausrichtung und einer 30 Grad Neigung nutzt 100 % der Sonnenkraft.



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. More about the improvement of self-used electricity and the actual feed-in tariffs.

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. More on self-generated electricity

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.  See animated clip "How sun becomes electricity"

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.