Expert's answer for the hesitant: what does the payback of the solar power plant depend on?
More and more individual consumers of electricity in Lithuania are interested in the possibilities offered by solar energy — especially since the state is providing support for the installation of solar power plants again. There are still a number of myths related to solar energy production, which often make people hesitate when deciding to install a solar power plant on the roof or on the plot near their homes. As the head of the independent energy supplier "Enefit" Vytenis Koryzna says, many of these myths have no substantiation, so it is important to be guided by facts and already accumulated experience.
Produces electricity even during gloomy days
It is mistakenly believed that in our country there are too few sunny days, so the solar power plant cannot produce enough energy for the house. Still, V. Koryzna says that although Lithuania does not have the same number of sunny days as Spain or Italy, even on a cloudy day, the solar power plant is not "idle".
“On a cloudy day, the power plant can produce up to 10-25 percent of the energy produced on a sunny day. This is quite enough to make a solar power plant useful. Moreover, our country is not the only one where the sun does not shine all year round, but it does not prevent such countries from successfully developing solar energy and protecting the environment. For example, in Finland, Estonia or Latvia, where there are no public subsidies, more and more residents provide themselves solar power plants,” says V. Koryzna.
All the more so that during the summer, when the sunshine is the most intense, so much electricity is usually produced that it can be stored and consumed in the dark season of the year.
Your home will not be lacking electricity
V. According to Mr. Koryzna, if the solar power plant does not produce enough energy during the dark part of the day or during the cold season, when the production of electricity is at its lowest, houses will not lack electrical energy, as they will continue to be connected to the common electricity distribution grid of our country. “Excess unused energy stored at electricity distribution operator (ESO), which we produce during the sunny season, can then be recovered back through the networks. When we take it back, we pay 5 cents per kWh to the operator, which is twice as low as the electricity distribution fee paid by a resident who does not have a solar power plant,” explains V. Koryzna.
According to the interlocutor, if the recovered excess solar energy is not enough, the rest of the energy also comes from other suppliers: “It is important to understand that consumers can choose an independent supplier to ensure that electricity is obtained under the most favorable conditions and its origin would be from renewable resources".
The representative of the company notes that for houses that do not consume all their generated energy per year, "Enefit" will compensate the consumer producing it.
It is possible to shorten the payback term
V. Mr. Koryzna calculates that the payback term of a solar power plant with a power of up to 10 kW in our country usually reaches 8-10 years. At present, there is still a possibility to benefit from the state support, and therefore, if it is used, and usually received by all applicants, the payback period is reduced to 5 to 8 years. Such a term is very close to the payback indicators of solar power plants installed in Germany.
“The payback term of the solar power plant depends on the power of the plant, financial conditions, location, electricity prices in the market. Most often residents set up 5-10 kW solar power plants, but they cannot fully satisfy their need in electricity, so some of the energy will have to be purchased from other suppliers. It is also very important, under what conditions this additional energy is purchased. For example, "Enefit" offers consumers to install solar power plants including the possibility of obtaining additional energy at extremely favorable wholesale electricity prices without any margin,” says V. Koryzna.
According to him, it is worth considering and evaluating different ways to purchase a solar power plant, selecting one of them that would reduce the payback term of the power plant. For example, today there is already an opportunity to install a solar power plant with leasing, thus dividing the initial investments for a longer period and saving immediately using cheaper energy.
Simple maintenance of power plants
V. Koryzna says that properly and qualitatively installed power plants are absolutely safe, and their maintenance does not require much effort. “If the solar power plant is installed by reliable specialists, its safety should not be of any concern. Solar power plants do not need daily maintenance. Of course, it is useful to regularly inspect the solar power plant and see if there are is any damage or alteration. However, in most cases, it is enough to follow the indicators of energy production by yourself — if they do not change drastically and without reason, then there is no need to worry about the operation of the power plant”, — explains V. Koryzna.
The head of the company notes that "Enefit" provides a 12-year warranty against faults for customers who are equipped with solar power plants. Solar power plant modules also have a standard guarantee of efficiency of 80% and more valid for 25 years. This means that during this time, the efficiency of the power plant will not fall below this limit.
Obvious environmental friendliness
The environmental friendliness of solar power plants is often questioned, and it is supposedly more energy is used to produce them than the photovoltaic modules can produce later. A study by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, which evaluated modules from 20 different manufacturers, showed that solar power plants pay off the energy needed to create them in 2,4-3,8 years. During such a period, the solar power plant can normally produce as much energy as it was needed to produce it.
“Given the long service life, the power plant benefits, and CO2 savings are truly significant. During the entire life of the solar power plant, which averages to 25 years, it produces up to 10 times more energy than it was used in its production process,” says V. Koryzna.
He details that 96% of the components of the solar power plant are recyclable and can be used to create new power plants. Thus, according to the interlocutor, solar power plants are not only an opportunity to reduce energy bills, but also to do it in a more environmentally friendly way. When considering the possibility of setting up a solar power plant, as the green energy expert emphasizes, it is important to look at state support, which will be eligible from 1 October, and the most financially advantageous proposals. It allows receiving maximum benefit from the use of clean energy.