How Does the Increasing Number of Solar Panels Impact ESG Factors

The solar panel system can cover up to 80 percent of our own energy needs. But what should we watch out for? when we choose a solution? In this article, we answer frequently asked questions about the systems, such as their lifespan, maintenance, and performance.

How long does the solar system pay for itself?

The payback time varies, usually between 5-10 years, however, for businesses paying market energy prices, it can be paid back within 3 years due to the current high energy prices.

How much energy does it produce?

The system is per square meter performance depends on the type of modules (mono-, polycrystalline or thin film), their orientation, possible shadow effects and the number of sunny hours in the given area.

In general in the territory of Hungary a 1 kW solar system will most likely produce 1100 kWh of energy per year. Systems that are not ideally oriented due to the conditions of the area, or are affected by shadow effects that overshadow the panels during daylight hours or are due to some technical error, usually have a lower production than this.

What maintenance do panels and inverters require?

Most solutions do not require major maintenance. Most of them only need to be checked every few years in order to function effectively. However, depending on the climate and system installation environment for smaller maintenance intervals may be necessary. What does it mean exactly? Systems in locations with higher humidity or in dusty, sandy environments will need to be cleaned more frequently to prevent dirt build-up on the panels.

During maintenance, attention must be paid to three main components. As already mentioned, one of the most important is keeping the panels clean. Dust, dirt, bird droppings, and other contaminants can accumulate on the surface of the modules and affect the system's ability to produce. The second important part is the inspection of the electrical connections and the inspection of the inverter. The third is the condition of the support structure, inspection and repair of possible corrosion and inspection of screw connections.

What permissions do I need to install?

Most of the solar panel systems must be licensed by the regional electricity supplier, that is, we must have a valid grid usage contract. But we do not need to deal with obtaining a building permit, because according to the Electricity Act valid from January 1, 2008, this is not necessary when installing a small household-sized power plant.

Many people ask when our system qualifies as a household-sized small power plant. If it is connected to a low-voltage network and its output is no more than 50 kVA, if we need more than that, it is already considered a small power plant system, the authorization process of which is already completely different. In this case, it is already under the jurisdiction of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utilities Regulatory Office.

But the fact that a building permit is not required does not mean that our system does not have to meet certain technical conditions. What are these? For example, the inverter must match the performance specified in the grid connection permit. What is perhaps even more important is that we also have to comply with local construction and monument protection regulations, because the system will modify the external appearance of the building. It is important to know that if we want to place solar panels on a listed building, then a permit is required. This may even limit the installation of the system.

What is the lifespan of solar panels?

When it comes to lifespan, economic and payback calculations often assume a time interval of 20-25 years. However, this does not mean that the lifetime of the system is actually limited to this period and that the solar system cannot be operated after that; from a technical point of view, there is no obstacle to operating these systems for a longer period of time. The general opinion of experts is that they see no obstacle to a high-quality module not lasting for 40 years - or even longer. Based on what has been experienced so far, it can already be stated that the modules are still able to provide at least 85 percent of their nominal performance after 25 years. Typically, the annual performance degradation is less than 1 percent.

How much CO2 emissions did you reduce?

The modules emit about 50g CO2/kWh over 25 years they save me. However, the value that is released during their production must be deducted from this value. The systems consist of the actual solar panels, protective covers, plastic back plates and the aluminum frames surrounding them, so when manufacturing an 18 kg module, about 83 kg of CO2 is generated. This corresponds to an emission value of approximately 12.3g CO2/kWh, assuming that the solar module has a power of 300 W, a lifetime of 25 years, and a total electricity production of 6750 kWh.

In this calculation, we did not take into account the recycling of the modules, but if we want to get a complete picture, then we have to take this into account as well, since this is also an essential part of sustainable energy supply.

What is the effect on the property?

In most cases, no the value of the property is the first thing that comes to mind as a homeowner when choosing a solar system. The main motivation for installing a solar panel system is mostly savings, greening or self-sufficiency. However, another advantage that we often do not count on is that the value of our property increases with the installation. The general opinion of real estate professionals is that the installation of the system results in an average increase in value of 4-6 percent. Of course, the solar system is primarily available for our own use, this increase in value occurs when we sell or rent out our home or commercial property. But there is another important detail that is worth paying attention to, if we have insurance, then the insurance company must take this into account in the contract, but this may also increase the insurance premium.

What weather factors can affect the operation of the system and how?

It goes without saying that solar panel systems use the sun's energy to generate electricity. The degree of solar radiation is therefore the most important factor influencing the efficiency of the system. Depending on the location of the system, the number of hours of sunshine can vary greatly, and the current season or time of day also affects the intensity of sun exposure.

It is a fact that the amount of solar radiation is higher in the south than in the north, so this data can vary within the country, but this does not mean that it is not worth installing a solar system in Bükk, for example.

Now let's turn to the changes within the year. In summer, the days are longer and there are more hours of sunshine. Therefore, the efficiency of the system is significantly higher in the summer than in the winter months. Overall, approximately 70 percent of the system's energy production occurs in summer and only 30 percent in winter, when there are more cloudy, overcast days. If we look at the power fluctuations during the day, we find that the system produces the most electricity in the afternoon, because at noon the sun is at its highest point in the sky, and the sunlight can hit the surface of the modules vertically. But significant returns can also be achieved at other times of the day, such as in the afternoon or late morning. However, when the sun goes down, no electricity is produced at all.

Contrary to popular belief, solar panels still work and generate electricity even when it rains. While the amount of sunlight can be reduced during cloudy or rainy weather, modern solar panel technology is designed to capture and convert available light into usable energy. So you can benefit from solar energy even on gloomy days.

Enjoy the benefits of clean and renewable energy all year round, regardless of the weather. Contact our experts for residential or corporate installation and information.

Did you like this article? Share it with others!

Share on Facebook!
Share on LinkedIn!
Scroll to Top