Solar panels are a rising trend and increasingly used by apartment associations. However, several questions and myths have arisen in connection with renovation loans for apartment associations, and Taavi Raadik, a researcher at Tallinn University of Technology, will help answer them.
A solar collector is a device that converts solar energy directly into electricity. When converting energy, there is no direct wear and tear, no moving parts, no noise and no pollution. ‘This is pure green production,’ says Raadik, who has been involved in solar energy for 17 years. He compares the operation of a solar collector with a normal battery: ‘When the cell in a solar collector is in the sun, energy production takes place and it is just like a normal full battery giving out energy, but when the cell is not in the sun, it is just like a normal battery that has run down.’ Solar panels are a 30-year investment.
Myth 1: Solar panels do not pay off in the Estonian climate
The most intensive production period takes place between March and October – May tends to be the most productive month in terms of productivity. Germany is the world’s fourth largest user of solar electricity. Situated in the same climatic zone as Germany, Estonia is able to produce electricity from solar energy just as efficiently as Germany – the annual amount of electricity produced by solar panels in Germany is the same in Estonia.
Myth 2: Panel installation is a complex and time-consuming process
Before installing, it is definitely important to contact your local authority and discuss what the options for installing panels are. If you get a permit, you will need to submit an application to the electricity company and calculate your consumption, installation options, and how to set up the system. The installation of panels has to then be ordered according to the estimates. Fortunately, there is a simple way to do it: contact a service provider and order a turnkey solution – all will be done for you and you can be sure of quality.
Myth 3: Solar panels cannot be installed on apartment buildings
Solar panels can also be installed perfectly on apartment buildings – the age and type of apartment building is irrelevant as long as the roof is in a suitable condition and the load-bearing capacity is available. Ideally, it should be a north-south orientated pitched roof, with the panels facing south. At the same time, flat roofs should not be shied away from, as this allows the panels to be installed in the right direction and at the right angle for the most efficient collector performance. Regardless of the shape and orientation of the house, there is always an optimal solution.
Myth 4: Solar panels are a rare phenomenon
There is a widespread perception that solar energy is not used by many and that interest in solar energy is limited to certain groups. Taavi Raadik confirms that interest in solar energy is now extremely high. ‘According to Elektrilevi, nearly 1,000 people a month apply to start generating electricity from solar energy,’ says Raadik, adding that if you visit the websites of various service providers, you will also find a lot of interest in solar energy. ‘Since January, the number of people interested has multiplied. The potential is enormous,’ he adds.
Myth 5: Energy that is not used is wasted
When energy is produced, it may not always be possible for the household to use all the energy produced, and there may be surplus electricity, especially during the day when people may not be at home. In order to ensure that the energy produced is not wasted, it is possible to sell the electricity produced back to the service provider at the exchange price, who will ensure that it is not wasted. For an apartment association, the electricity sold to the grid provides a good source of income, which can be taken out in cash or kept as an advance payment for the winter period for example, when the panels do not produce electricity and most of the electricity has to be bought in.
Myth 6: Banks do not support the purchase of solar panels
There is a strong demand for energy-efficient solutions, and customers expect new green solutions from banks. This is why SEB has launched an unsecured green micro-loan intended for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including apartment associations, to finance the installation of solar panels or car chargers. The micro-loan amount is up to 20,000 euros. Also, from 11 July, the joint agency of EAS and KredEx will start offering a grant to apartment associations for the purchase and installation of solar panels. A total of 5 million euros will be available and the call for applications is open while funds last.
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