10 facts your wife expects you to know about PV panels
Ask the Architect By Juan Pacheco In my last article I explained about the new law on photovoltaic panels, which was approved on October 18, in the Spanish Parliament.
This law eliminates taxes and other important barriers that, until then, stopped photovoltaic panel installations for stand-alone owners or a community of owners.
This new scenario, together with the increase in the price of electricity and the publication of the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, will encourage, I am sure, many citizens and companies to contribute to improve energy production with the installation of residential and business systems of photovoltaic selfconsumption.
Where does one start? Once the decision is made: How to do it? Which company is the most convenient? What guarantees does the installer and manufacturers offer? Do we have references of nearby quality facilities? These are some of the considerations that arise when having photovoltaic self-consumption installed.
The industry is prepared, but we must ensure that the market develops based on quality and guarantees that meet our expectations and avoid bad experiences that may generate distrust. To solve some doubts about the installation of self-consumption, I found this series of tips on the Solarwatt, German manufacturer web page, which I think is quite useful for anyone interested in saving a lot of money on electricity bills but having to make an initial investment.
First things first 1. Request a quote from accredited and certified installers as well as asking if it is possible to have references from previous clients that have had photovoltaic installations in the last two years.
Getting onto the technical description, the installer should be able to describe the installation in an easy manner without technical gobbledygook and provide a simple installation guide.
2. Get a list of all the elements that you will obtain, with the technical descriptions of the elements within the system: modules, inverters and other components.
3. Based on the budget, obtain exactly what the production will be in kilowatt hours from the first year. This is a very important fact, because after all it is what we are going to generate with our installation.
4. Ask for information about radiation in the area of the system, the normal losses of the system and the prediction of degradation of the modules and other elements of the system.
5. Manufacturers normally guarantee photovoltaic panels for 10 years, but it is difficult to claim in some cases after two years. Being a very dynamic sector, many important manufacturers have disappeared in recent years and this will continue to happen. There are manufacturers that offer up to 30 years of total guarantee on some PV panels.
6. In the case of accumulation systems, comparisons between products offered on the market are very complicated because they are often confusing in terms of the benefits in terms of real energy saved. I can say that there are no two lithium-ion battery systems the same.
7. Pay attention to the guarantee documents. Read the fine print and verify who signs that guarantee; that is, knowing who and for how long they will respond if something goes wrong with the system. What is the responsibility of the installer? Also, establish if the manufacturer of the products has customer service offices in Spain or how many years it has been in the market, because normally the installer will not directly assume the guarantee periods published by the manufacturer.
8. Establish what the installation’s generation costs per kWh are. That is the only thing that can be assured. To do this, you have to know all the variables. The first is how safe is your investment; the second, the expected production in kWh in 20 years. I recommend not speculating with the evolution of electricity prices to ‘forecast’ the amortisation period, and choose to ensure that the production of your facility is through a system with high quality components and a solvent warranty to ensure the cost of competitive and reliable generation.
Give considered value to the supposed ‘Tier1 Category’ since this only refers to more frequently installed products and is used to rank manufacturers in terms of their bankability or financial stability, without entering into quality evaluations. There are photovoltaic modules manufactured in China that meet European quality standards, but they are not cheaper than those manufactured on our continent. At present, after the European Commission decided to eliminate anti-dumping controls, modules can be found below their cost price, but with dubious quality and uncertain guarantees.
I hope that these tips can serve as a guide when engaging a self-consumption photovoltaic system in your home or business, and not having regret at having made an unwise decision, but above all if you make all these observations in front of your wife I am sure you will impress her!! British and Spanish qualified Architect