Solar energy myths vs. reality
Generating solar power in one's own home or business is gaining popularity everywhere – there are already over 1,600 solar power producers in Estonia. Although solar panel installation is gaining momentum in Estonia, it is unfortunately accompanied by many myths. We'll help clear up the most common misconceptions.
Myth no. 1. Solar energy is expensive. The construction of a solar panel park is an investment and its profitability needs to be precisely assessed beforehand. If solar power generation is commensurate with electricity demand and the payback period is suitable, there is no reason to consider solar energy expensive. Solar power is expensive if the solar power plant is not planned properly. Unfortunately, there are companies on the market that distort calculations to make the customer think that the payback period is shorter than it really is.
Therefore, it is worth choosing a reliable company as your partner, who designs accurately and makes honest promises to the customers. Since investing in solar power is a long-term decision that will tie you to the company of your choice for at least 20 years, you should choose a partner who will surely last as long.
Designing a durable and high-quality power plant requires precision. In order for the panels to work efficiently and not to be blown away by the first gust of wind, both the project and the installation must be of high quality. If the plant is planned in an inexperienced and sloppy manner, its payback period can be significantly longer.
Myth no. 2. The solar power system will not pay off. It is easy to calculate the profitability of a solar power plant – the price of electricity purchased from the grid must be compared with the value of the output of the solar power plant. If the investment and maintenance costs of a solar power plant during its service life are as high as the cost of energy produced by a conventional power plant and purchased from the grid, the solar power plant is worth it. Solar electricity is environmentally friendly, and since the price of electricity from the grid is going to increase in the long term, there is no point in automatically rejecting the investment opportunity because of today's slightly more expensive solar electricity price.
Myth no. 3. The most important indicator of a solar park is power. Power is important, but it is even more important to forecast output. The production forecast takes into account the technology planned for the construction of the solar park, its exact location, its location relative to the cardinal directions, physical obstacles (other buildings, trees, chimneys, etc.) and other details the modelling of which provides a fairly accurate picture of how much energy the solar park will actually produce. The production curve compared to the consumption curve can be used to predict how much of the energy purchased from the grid will be covered by solar energy in the future, giving an idea of the payback period of the solar power plant.
Myth no. 4. A solar power plant helps prevent blackouts. The majority of solar power plants we see on the roofs and façades of buildings or on the ground need mains supply to function. When the mains supply is cut off, the production of solar energy is also switched off. This means that unless you are using a hybrid solution that includes batteries, the solar power plant will unfortunately not work during a power failure. There are also disconnected systems available on the market, but they are intended to be used in places where there is no power at all.
Myth no. 5. A solar power plant requires no maintenance. It is a common misconception that a solar power plant can be left to its own devices after installation. If you want to maximize the economic benefits of your investment and hedge risks, it would be wise to monitor the production of your solar park and regularly check the system.
Myth no. 6. Estonia doesn’t get any sun. True, Estonia gets less direct sunlight than some southern countries, but compared to Germany, for example, our solar panels produce as much power. However, Estonia also benefits from lower than average temperatures, which in turn increases the efficiency of solar panels.
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