What are some common myths about solar energy

Photovoltaics: too expensive and only in good weather? The most common myths about PV systems

Berlin, August 29, 2018. Many homeowners still persist in misinformation about photovoltaics and they shy away from entering into self-sufficiency in energy. Behind this is often outdated information that is simply misinterpreted or does not correspond to today's technical developments. The experts at the digital energy manager shine (https://www.shine.eco) explain the most common myths about photovoltaics.

The record summer of 2018 is boosting demand for photovoltaics in Germany - as reported by many media. Nevertheless, Germany will not achieve its self-imposed goal of increasing the share of renewable energies to 65 percent of gross electricity consumption by 2030. According to Fraunhofer ISE, this would require an annual addition of around 5 gigawatts of photovoltaics instead of the previously stipulated 2.5 GW. In 2017, however, the expansion in Germany was just 2 gigawatts.
The majority of German homeowners still have many question marks about their own photovoltaic system on the roof: Can I afford a photovoltaic system and when will it be profitable? Are the orientation and construction of my roof even suitable to produce enough electricity? How do I manage production? It is precisely on these questions that misinformation is still widespread. shine clears up.

1) Effective electricity production only in warm regions
A particularly widespread misconception about photovoltaics is based on the claim that PV power generation is only efficient in warm regions and thus at high temperatures. However, it is not the temperature that is decisive for high yields, but the number of hours of sunshine. The fact is that the summer months of June, July and August deliver high electricity yields, but the efficiency of a photovoltaic system drops if the temperatures are too high. This is why just as much electricity is produced in the supposedly cooler months of April and May as in midsummer. On average, it can therefore be said that the same amount of electricity is constantly being produced from April to August.

2) South alignment is a must
Orientation to the south is not a must. Even with a west, east, south-west or south-east orientation of the roof, a significant performance can be achieved depending on the roof pitch. With a purely south-facing orientation, the solar panels are only installed on the south side, but with a west-east orientation, PV modules can be installed on both sides of the roof. Overall, you can even achieve a higher electricity production than with a purely south-facing orientation. Of course, this increases the investment costs at the beginning, as more panels are installed.

3) Inefficient power generation when the sky is cloudy
In fact, the PV system cannot achieve maximum output when it is cloudy. However, even on cloudy days, some of the sunlight is scattered as diffuse radiation through the clouds onto the PV modules. Calculated over the year, the effects on the amount of electricity produced are usually significantly lower than expected. If you are thinking of generating your own electricity, you will benefit from the profitability calculation and investment analysis from shine. The calculator also uses the average weather data for the past five years, which of course also includes the cloudy, rainy or snowy days. Using other user information such as zip code, household size, electricity consumption or roof area, it can be calculated free of charge how much the investment in a system would be and what cost savings and returns can be achieved with a solar system.

4) Overproduction during the day, no electricity at night
The fact that no electricity is produced by the PV system at night is nothing new. However, it is not true that one is left in the dark. On the one hand, every homeowner can obtain electricity from the local power grid at the usual electricity tariff, and on the other hand, the electricity produced during the day can be stored by means of a battery and then used at night when it is needed.

5) The solar power is not enough for my needs
When it comes to covering personal needs, the decisive factor is whether the homeowner feeds the majority of the self-generated electricity into the grid or consumes it himself. If you want to be independent of large electricity suppliers, you can achieve a degree of self-sufficiency of up to 70 percent if a battery storage system is installed. In view of the constantly rising electricity prices and the falling feed-in tariffs, ultimately more money can be saved by covering your own requirements than with the feed-in revenues.

6) Maintenance is too troublesome
PV systems require less maintenance than you might think. The usual guarantee for a system covers a period of approx. 20 years. However, this does not mean that the system will no longer be operational after the warranty has expired. Quite the opposite: many PV modules will still produce enough electricity years later. That speaks for a long service life and quality. It is therefore no surprise that the systems are maintenance-free for the majority of their operating life. Cleaning shouldn't be a problem either - even with a low roof pitch of 10 percent, it is done by rain and snow, and extra cleaning is rarely necessary.

7) Photovoltaics is a luxury that is not profitable
To make a general claim that the installation of a PV system is too expensive would be wrong. This is where a number of factors come into play that affect the price of a photovoltaic system - including: the installed power, the size and slope of the roof, as well as the additional installation of a battery. The production costs for photovoltaics have been falling continuously for years, and so have the final prices of the modules. Between 2006 and 2016 alone, the price per installed kWp capacity fell by 70 percent from around 5,000 euros to 1,500 euros. In addition, a photovoltaic system pays for itself on average after ten to twelve years.1 For the following decade, the PV operator will continue to receive the fixed feed-in tariff and free, self-generated electricity.

8) I can find everything about photovoltaics on the Internet
Many homeowners rely on tips on the Internet before purchasing a PV system. Even if the information is not older than a year, it can already be out of date. Well-founded background information, individual advice and precise profitability calculations are decisive for a system that fits your personal budget and functions smoothly. There are a few options here, ranging from personal advice from a PV provider to the use of a professional energy management tool to create investment and profitability analyzes for self-generated electricity. Equipping with a smart meter, which analyzes your own electricity consumption and the resulting costs in real time, is also an advantage. In this way, a more precise calculation can be made that cannot be found on the Internet.

9) Monitoring PV systems is too complex and time-consuming
Homeowners often decide against a photovoltaic system because the monitoring seems too time-consuming and complex. However, no high-tech knowledge is required to be able to assess the profitability and functionality of your own system. Consumers can already access intelligent solutions that are customer-friendly and user-friendly. So z. B. with a digital energy manager not only track energy production and consumption, but the energy flows in the household can be optimized fully automatically. This can be used to identify power guzzlers, for example, or to recharge electric cars if there is excess electricity production.

Further information: Good reasons that speak in favor of photovoltaics can be found in the shine blog: https://www.shine.eco/2018/08/24/7-grunde-fur-eine-solaranlage/