What is solar thermal?
Solar thermal is the specialist term for heat produced using solar energy. Thermal collectors convert sunlight into heat which is used for hot water, for auxiliary heating or for heating swimming pools. It may also be used to heat air directly using hot air collectors.
What is photovoltaic?
Photovoltaic (photo = light, volt = unit of electrical voltage) is the specialist term for electricity produced using solar energy. Photovoltaics concerns the direct conversion of sunlight into electric current using solar cells.
What components make up a solar thermal system?
Solar thermal systems consist of a collector array, storage cylinder, solar circuit and a control unit with pump. The whole system is connected together by pipes in which solar fluid circulates as a heat transfer medium.
What components make up a photovoltaic system?
Photovoltaic solar systems generally consist of photovoltaic modules and a device called an inverter. The direct current generated by solar energy is transformed by the inverter into alternating current as per electricity supplied by the grid. If the system is connected to the grid, this electricity is fed into the public grid via a feed-in meter. In the case of a stand-alone system, solar electricity is mainly stored in batteries for use at a later time.
When is a house suitable for solar power?
Almost any building is suitable for a solar energy system. It must have a roof or façade which faces south, east or west. Shading caused by trees or houses should be avoided. A solar thermal system also requires a suitable location for the hot water storage cylinder.
Is there enough sunshine in Germany?
Every year the Earth receives 10,000 times as much solar energy as humans currently need. In Germany alone, an annual total of 300 billion kilowatt hours of solar energy is available. At our latitude, there is an average of 1000 W of direct and indirect solar radiation per square meter. This is the fuel equivalent of approx. 100 litres of heating oil.
What proportion of my hot water requirements can I cover with a solar thermal system?
You can generate up to 70 % of the energy required for domestic hot water with a solar thermal system. With additional auxiliary heating, the system generates up to 30 % or more of the total heating energy.
What is a sensible size for a photovoltaic solar energy system?
Due to the tariff for solar-generated electricity paid by the utility companies (as laid down in the Renewable Energy Sources Act), the system should be dimensioned according to the size of the roof and the amount of money available, in order to obtain as high a return as possible.
How can a solar energy system help save the environment?
A solar energy system generates energy and therefore reduces the use of conventional energy from oil, gas, coal or uranium. CO2 emissions are reduced accordingly (not in comparison with nuclear power). Furthermore, environmental damage through transport, extraction and processing of raw materials or through the final storage of spent fuels is avoided.
In what ways can solar thermal systems be used?
There are four main areas of use:
- Systems for hot water supply
- Systems for hot water supply and auxiliary heating
- Systems for heating swimming pools (mostly in conjunction with the above)
- Systems for air heating
In what ways can photovoltaic systems be used?
For private homes, there are two main areas of use:
- Grid-connected photovoltaic systems for feeding electricity into the grid
- Off-grid (stand-alone) photovoltaic systems for own consumption
How much energy can I actually save?
You can generate up to 70 % of the energy required for domestic hot water with a solar thermal system. With additional auxiliary heating, the system generates up to 30 % or more of the total heating energy. As a rule of thumb for a photovoltaic system, at our latitudes the energy yield per year and per system is between 750 and 850 kWh per kWp of installed output. This means that a 2kWp photovoltaic system roughly 20 square meters in size produces approximately 1500 -1700 kWh of electricity per annum.
Do you need planning permission to install a system?
In Germany, no planning permission is required to install a solar energy system. However, if a building is listed then the relevant authority will have to decide.
How do I fit a solar energy system?
The following installation types are available:
- On-roof installation
- Flat-roof installation
- In-roof/complete roof installation
- Canopy installation
- Façade installation