How to enjoy the Sun in your electricity bill?
Spring is here and many are already enjoying themselves in the warm sunshine before the real sunbathing season begins. But some are enjoying sunlight throughout the year even if the sky is cloudy - the solar energy produced by the solar panel system can easily be reflected in the monthly electricity bill. Jānis Kronbergs agreed to tell as more about the cost of installing and operating a medium power solar panel system, and whether the benefits live up to expectations. When building a private house, Jānis decided to invest more at once so that the bills would be lower in the future.
Quality factors – price, guarantee, qualified specialists
“When building a private house, I realized that I certainly want a house with a recuperation system so that the heat would stay in the house and air would be fresh all the time, as well as I wanted it with solar panels,” says Jānis Kronbergs. “When I consulted with other private house owners, I realized that the average monthly electricity consumption in the private house is around 700 kilowatt hours, which is about €100 a month or €1200 a year. That is quite a large amount I wanted to save up.”
Jānis admits – when he made the decision he had no idea how much the installation of the solar panel system costs, which panels to choose, how they work and how it all turns into electricity. He started to explore the market and set some important criteria: not only the price but also the warranty period and the chance of cooperating with certified, qualified experts and competent specialists.
“Solar panels serve more than 20 years – I do not want to be in a situation when there is nobody to address on warranty issues in a couple of years. It was also important to me how this work would be done so that I would not need to do formalities myself, but I could rely on the professionals. It would be bad if someone damages the roof when setting up solar-panels, or connects the wrong wires and burns the house down,” Jānis laughs. “That is how I found out about “Enefit”.”
A smaller bill from the first day of operation
It took about three months from the first visit of “Enefit” specialists in Jānis property to the production of solar energy. The installation itself takes only a couple of days, but thorough planning work needs to be done before that, and all the necessary permits and agreements must be obtained from the Ministry of Economic and “Sadales tīkls”. Jānis did not need to think about it himself, all of it was done by the “Enefit” representatives.
The possible location of the solar panels is assessed during the first meeting, then, taking into account the client's electricity consumption, careful calculations and the choice of the most appropriate system is made - so that there is no situation when the installed system is more expensive than the client can consume, and the electricity produced does not need to be returned to the grid. The installation itself, which was carried out by certified specialists, took a couple of days - the panels were screwed on, the inverter was installed, and the system could start working. Jānis saw the benefit in the first electricity bill.
“I have 30 panels in total with an average production capacity of 7.2 kilowatts and a Fronius Symo inverter. The total cost of all of it is €6,000 with VAT. If I see that there is not enough power one day, the panels can be added. Of course, the price can vary: much depends on the roof pitch on which the panels are placed, what reinforcements are needed, how much and what types of panels are assembled; it is also important how the house is situated. I have very suitable conditions for solar panels – both the location of the house and the roof with a small slope of 15 degrees,” says Jānis. He predicts the investment will pay off in about 10 years. He currently consumes an average of 700 kilowatt hours a month, 530 kilowatt hours of which are produced by the Sun. When buying electricity, these would be around 100 Euros. But these are 53 Euros per year on average in Jānis bill. In summer, when there is more solar light and also more electricity produced, these are 2-3 Euros. In winter, when solar panels produce less electricity, the bill can reach 100 Euros. However, the benefit is significant in annual terms. Jānis has chosen the service provided by "Enefit" – to sell the remaining, not consumed, electricity to the company at daily stock prices, and buy it again in the evening, when electricity is cheaper on the stock and he needs more electricity himself. And he receives an invoice for the remaining difference at the end of the month. The largest expenses are for OIK, the service provided by “Sadales tīkls” and connection fee.
Clouds are not a barrier to produce energy
Jānis has been using solar panels for a year now and can now evaluate the performance of the system in different seasons and weather conditions.
“In summer, solar panels produce electricity early in the morning, from half past seven, and then until evening – they end their work at around eight, a half past eight,” says Jānis. “There is no need of clear sunlight, because the ultraviolet rays needed for producing electricity reach the system even if it is cloudy. In winter, of course, the panels are “more lazy”, but I would definitely choose this system again and again. I know that during the day I can safely turn on such devices as air conditioner, washing machine, dishwasher, etc., for which the majority of the electricity is provided by solar energy. The best of all - you can install the panels and forget about them - they do not require any special maintenance and do not trouble in any way at all. I also do not clean the snow from them in the winter. These are just a few days without energy production. There is no need to get on the roof and clean them, because it will snow again in a couple of days, and cleaning will be needed again.”
Jānis has also considered installing the battery system to store unused energy during the day. However, it requires almost the same investment as the solar panel system, but it pays off in a much longer period of time, and battery life is much shorter. So, in his opinion, it is not useful for private houses, but is more useful for those who use electricity very actively at night.
If you are inspired by Jānis story to make good and green changes in your property, learn more about the solar-panel system installation here »