Investment in an ecological source of home power supply is currently one of the hottest topics both among those building their property and owners of existing buildings. Energy from the sun can be used in two ways, but the decision must be made before inviting professionals to the roof. We have solar panels and classic solar panels to choose from. Each of these solutions has its advantages, but there should be only one choice.
We heat the water with the sun
Collectors are fairly simple devices that convert sunlight to heat. It is most often used for heating usable water distributed in the building. Less often they are used as a support for central heating – in Poland such use is low, because the number of sunny days during the winter is not too large. The collector’s task is to transport the heat received further, noting the least losses. The system ends with a large water tank, with 300-liter single-family houses. Water from it is already sent directly to sanitary facilities.
Collectors are not able to cover the full demand for hot water throughout the year. In the summer, production may be even above the norm, in the autumn and spring we have a chance to cover a large part of the demand, and in winter water can thanks to collectors reach a temperature of twenty degrees. It is therefore necessary to connect an additional furnace in the circuit that will cope with energy shortage.
We produce our own electricity
Photovoltaic panels are used to convert solar energy into electricity. Thanks to their use, we can produce electricity throughout the year, which will be used to meet the current demand of the property. We give the surplus to the power plant so that we can use it again when the panels are closed, i.e. at night or on very cloudy winter days.
The construction of photovoltaics is quite simple, the connection consists in placing the panels on the roof at the right angle, connecting them with wires to the control panel in the form of an inverter and carrying the current through a two-way meter to the electrical network. Up to 40 kW, the investor does not need any permits or special approvals from the power plant, no project is necessary. You can also apply for a special subsidy that will cover up to several dozen percent of the total cost of building the installation.
Which solution is better?
Currently, the use of photovoltaics is a better and more forward-looking technology. The produced electricity can also be successfully used to heat water, for example through an electric heater placed in a boiler or a special container. Collectors can be attractive for farms where the consumption of hot water is very high and a solid fuel stove is used to prepare it. Thanks to the collectors, the owners will be able to literally breathe a sigh of relief, because the boiler can be turned off throughout the summer.
For all those who use gas or electricity heating, or have an installation in which the water tank can be heated with both solid fuel and electricity, photovoltaics are strongly recommended. First of all, due to the rampant electricity prices and forecasts that in the following years the situation will be only worse. Few people remember that someday energy price reductions will be introduced, so you should serve them on your own. Roof photovoltaics will always produce a similar amount of electricity needed, so it will be completely independent of prices. The key to overall success is the correct calculation of demand and the basis for designing the optimal system.
It is worth noting that in addition to their versatility, also the installation of solar panels is much easier. If the roof slope turns out to be insufficient, there is nothing to prevent the use of the undeveloped part on the plot. When using the right cables with the right cross-section, you don’t have to worry about transmission losses. In the case of collectors, this matter is not so obvious. First of all, the whole must be positioned so that the path to the water tank is as short as possible. Therefore, the investor has little room for maneuver.
The disadvantage of both concepts is still a fairly high start price. If it wasn’t for the subsidy system, it would be prohibitive. Installing both collectors and panels is a considerable expense, and what goes, the return on investment is quite long. It still does not change the fact that it pays to believe in this technology and want to contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide production. Photovoltaics and collectors significantly contribute to this, because in the first case we do not use non-renewable energy to heat water, and in the second we limit the work of coal-fired power plants and we supply electricity directly to the network. Photovoltaic panels will definitely be a better choice as an indicator of taking crazy prices of electricity and a constant increase in demand for it in every home.