Photovoltaic installations

What a solar power system is

A solar power system directly transforms solar energy into electricity. The basic element is a photovoltaic cell, a device made up of semi-conductor material (often silicon) that, when struck by solar radiation, releases electrons that are able to generate an electrical current.
THE GREATER THE SOLAR RADIATION, THE GREATER THE AMOUNT OF ELECTRICTY PRODUCED.

Technical characteristics

A solar power module (or panel), made up of a number of photovoltaic cells, is classified according to the maximum power it can provide (Wp - peak Watts). Generally, a commercial module provides 180 to 250 Wp and measures about 1,6 sq.m. There are various types of modules, often distinguished according to the photovoltaic cell material: single crystal, multi-crystalline, and amorphous silicon, that differ mainly in terms of efficiency, cost and aesthetic appearance. Although amorphous silicon in particular is less efficient, at the same cost it makes it possible to achieve annual energy production similar to that of crystalline silicon modules, but has the advantage of very limited performance losses. To install 1 KWp of electrical power using crystalline silicon panels, you need an area of 8 sq.m., whereas for amorphous silicon panels about 15-20 sq.m. are required. Panel manufacturers guarantee efficiency for 20 - 25 years, while other components (e.g. inverters) are normally guaranteed for 5 - 10 years.

Systems

To be able to claim the "Energy Account" benefits, the plant must be connected to the electricity grid. It is made up of 3 basic elements:
•    The solar power modules, assembled in series, in a number that varies according to the plant's power.
•    The conversion unit, made up of the inverters.
•    The electricity meter, supplied by the grid manager, which measures the energy produced and covered by incentives and, in case of "on site exchange", it also measures the electricity consumed.

Constructing a solar power system is a great investment opportunity!
In addition to guaranteeing the income guaranteed by the green certificates, an "on site exchange" system located on the roof of your house or company results in a reduction in electricity bills and immediate saving on electricity costs.

Installation

A solar power system can be constructed on a private home or factory building, and on a flat or pitched roof. It can be flush with the roof or attached to specific structures, to optimise exposure both on the roof and on the ground. By connecting to the electricity grid, electricity produced and not consumed by the user can be released. When it is dark or there is little sunlight, you draw your energy requirements from the grid. At the end of the year, the electricity account will therefore be based on the difference between the energy consumed and energy released to the grid. This contractual state is referred to "on site exchange" and makes it possible to achieve a reduction in electricity bills of up to 85% per year.

Producing energy and income

On average, a solar power plant produces 1150 KWh for every kWp installed, over a year. This means that the system can be sized to cover most of your consumption, whether it be at a private home or business.
Anyone that constructs a solar power system will immediately have a dual advantage:
•   From the first month the system is working they will achieve savings on their bills for the energy produced and not drawn from the grid.
•   The government incentive (calculated according to the tariff paid and the energy produced) will cover the financial instalment required for constructing the plant.

Environmental aspects and advantages

The use of renewable energy sources such as solar power makes it possible to avoid emissions of carbon dioxide pollutants into the atmosphere. Taking the average requirement of a family of 4 people as an example, in a home in which consumption stands at 3,000 kW per year, a solar power system reduces the electricity produced using conventional sources by 75% and, as a consequence, CO2 emissions as well.

The advantages of the solar power systems

•   Safe investment
•   Immediate saving: from when the plant begins to operate, there will be significant drop is bills.
•   Further earnings: since the average lifespan of a system is 25 years, it will continue to produce and allow savings on electricity company bills, even after the incentives have come to an end.
•   Production of clean energy: by using solar energy you avoid consuming wood and petroleum and emitting harmful substances into the environment, especially carbon dioxide.
•   The amount is also advanced in full by banks.
•   Quick installation: a small 3-6 kWp system is installed within about a week, without inconvenience to the client.

What you need to know

•   Installation area required: about 8 sq.m. per kWp is the system is flush with the roof, about 19 if it is not flush.
•   Quality of panels and inverters: also evaluate value for money, often better quality panels provide greater performance and guarantees
•   Lifespan of the system: the panels are guaranteed for 25 years, but can work for longer periods.
•   Duration of government grants: to provide an incentive for installing PV systems, the government guarantees a contribution for every kWh produced for a period of 20 years.
•   Maintenance costs: very low (about 1% of the plant's value)
•   Weather resistance: panels are protected against hail storms by tempered glass (hailstones up to 2 cm). However, insurance cover is recommended.
•   Support structures: in aluminium or galvanised steel, with fixings in certified steel.

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