Soaring electricity prices have increased the number of people wanting to produce their own electricity with the help of solar panels. Panels installed on apartment buildings can recoup the cost in just a few years.
University of Tartu Institute of Physics director Toomas Plank said solar panels could cover 50-70 percent of the energy consumption of a small apartment building. "They could even cover the entire building's consumption in May, June and July. But now, for example, there is practically no electricity coming from panels in December," Plank said.
He said that people have perhaps forgotten that there were nearly 30 days of 30+ degree weather last summer. "To handle a summer like that, we need conditioners, which need electricity," the physicist said.
More expensive electricity means solar panels will end up covering their cost faster, the physicist said, pointing to the €0.04/kWh electricity price from a year ago compared to €0.1-0.15/kWh currently.
"If we were to sell all of our electricity to the network, our recouping period [for solar panels] would have 25 years off that €0.04 price. At the same time, if we were to consume all of it, there would be network charges and renewable energy charges - the recouping period would have been eight years. With today's electricity prices, which are around €0.1-0.15, even if we were to sell all of the production back, the recouping period would be eight years. And if we were to consume the lion's share of it, it would recoup the costs in some five years," Plank said.
Kristjan Karming, CEO of solar panel application company Sigma Systems, said material prices have increased and that has in turn extended the recouping period.
"Since the price of electricity has gotten more expensive, then the average private household at 10 kW would recoup its costs in six to eight years. So in actuality, we are back to where we were last year with benefits," Karming said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste