Solar panels convert solar energy into electricity. This is a sustainable way of electricity production. The electricity used in homes is often generated from fossil fuels, for example from coal and gas-fired power stations.
Solar panels reduce CO2 emissions, you become less dependent on your electricity supplier, your energy bill decreases, and your home value increases. Even on cloudy days, panels generate electricity through indirect sunlight. The yield is less. A solar panel lasts more than 25 years and produces a lot of electricity during its lifetime. You currently earn back an average of €145 per solar panel per year on your investment (price level January 2023). The payback period depends on various factors such as the number of panels, the annual yield, the electricity price, the lifespan of the panels, and the net metering scheme. On average, the payback period for solar panels is 3 to 4 years.
Is my home suitable?
You have enough space on your roof for the solar collector.
The roof construction must be able to hold the weight of the solar collectors
A south-facing roof is favorable for installing solar panels. But with an east-west location, the power generation is better distributed over the day.
Solar panels can be placed on a flat roof as well as on a sloping roof.
If your roof is in the shade for a significant part of the day, the yield of solar panels will be a lot lower. A little shade is not a problem, there are solutions for that.
Solar panels perform best when they are placed facing south at an angle of inclination of about 35 degrees.
How does the solar panel work?
A solar panel consists of solar cells. In the commonly used mono- and polycrystalline solar panels, the cells are made of silicon (a so-called semiconductor). Silicon is processed in such a way that a positive and a negatively charged part is created when the solar cell catches the sunlight. This is because the sun loosens electrons in the silicon. This causes voltage in a solar cell. By placing several solar cells behind each other where voltage is generated, a flow of electricity is created. This also happens in indirect sunlight. The electricity generated by solar panels is not immediately suitable for use in the home. An inverter is required to make the electricity suitable for use at home. The inverter converts the electricity into usable power for your home appliances.
What types of solar panels are there?
These are the standard solar panels as we see them a lot in the Netherlands. The panels can be mounted on both pitched and flat roofs. They come in a black variant (monocrystalline solar panels) and a blue variant (polycrystalline solar panels).
+ High efficiency per m2
+ Lowest cost
- Can be perceived as aesthetically less beautiful
These solar panels are not on the roof, but replace a piece of roof covering. They are, as it were, 'in the roof'. They often have a black color.
+ Often perceived as aesthetically beautiful
+ High efficiency per m2
+ Can be used as a roofing material. For example, if your roof tiles need to be replaced, part of the costs of roof tiles can be saved by these panels
- Higher installation costs
- More vulnerable to higher temperatures
- Improper installation increases the risk of fire
Solar roof tiles
Solar cells can also be incorporated into a roof tile. From a distance, you can hardly see that there are solar panels on the roof.
+ Aesthetically beautiful
+ The entire roof can be filled
+ May be suitable for properties with protected status
- Pricey solution
- Lower generation per m2 of roof surface
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