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 Solar Panels as Income Generators



 

By Julie Stewart

 

how to make a solar panelSolar panels, tacked haphazardly onto the houses of “alternative” or “new age” folk, used to be considered a little outré among the chattering classes. However, times and attitudes have changed and the combination of being both ecologically sound and income generating has increased their popularity.

The old style system has been developed into panels which contain photovoltaic arrays, or interconnected solar cells. These produce more power than the cells in the earlier solar panels – and can result in your national power provider in sending you a check each quarter instead of you paying them.

Indeed, more and more countries, with an eye on the ecological advantages, are moving this whole area into the legal sphere. A number of European countries have made it the legal duty of power distributors to purchase power which is generated by private people.

In France, for example, distributors are legally obliged to buy all such electricity. The power goes into the public system and not into the individual home which houses the panels. The distributors buy solar panel generated electricity at 50 euro cents per KW-hour and the individuals who have solar panels buy their electricity at 12 euro cents per KW hour.

The benefit is evident – calculate the difference between the sale price and purchase price of the electricity. The private owner of solar panels earns almost 40 euro cents per kilowatt-hour. Gains from the sale are paid once a year.

The solar panels also have the advantage of producing electricity throughout the year. Obviously, the month of July is more productive than the month of January.

The amount of income depends on four factors:

* The size of the individual installation : a greater number of solar panels produces a greater income.

* Geographical location : statistics show the obvious, that solar panels installed in the sunny climates are more productive than those installed in more northerly regions. But even in snow the panels generate enough heat to melt the snow and then will produce a little excess electricity.

* The orientation of the house or garden : for more efficiency solar panels must be installed facing south.

* The slope of the roof : the most usual angle for roof mounted panels 30°. If you have ground mounted solar panels in your garden they can be set at a more favourable 40° inclination.

The installation of solar panels costs between 18,000 and 23,000 Euros. This price includes several elements:

* If you are installing photovoltaic panels on you roof it will cost more. This is because you will have to employ the expertise of a professional roofer (especially important if the house is old). Ground-mounted panels in your garden are cheaper for this reason.

* Next comes the installation of an inverter which will convert the electricity generated by the solar panels so that it can be utilised by the public network.

* Two counters (one for production and for consumption) are also included in the initial cost.

* Finally, the investment price includes the cost (approximately 500€) to connect the new photovoltaic solar panel system to the public electricity network.

In addition to the initial investment, owners of solar panels pay an annual fee of about 50€ for the rental of the counter and meters.

A Long-Term Investment
Although the initial cost is quite high, savings over 20 years are estimated at 10,000€. These installations are a lucrative long-term investment whether you intend to stay in your current house or not. If you plan to sell – the system adds value. And of course it is environmentally friendly.

In France there is financial aid for people wanting to install photovoltaic solar panels. This is a “tax credit for sustainable development” which applies to expenditure incurred to 31 December 2012. Its rate is 50% for purchases of equipment for producing energy using renewable energy source. In future years it should rise to 25%.

Note : All prices quoted are in Euros and are current at March 2011

First published in: Qondio March 13,2011                                                                         DIY Manual for Making Solar Panels

Julie Stewart is a British writer currently living in France.

http://juliestewart.qondio.com/

 

Do It Yourself Manual for Making Solar Panels

 

 

 

 

 




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