Solar photovoltaic electrification of homes

Photovoltaic solar energy systems allow the transformation of solar energy into electrical energy anywhere in the world and independently. One of the applications that this technology has had is house electrification.

There are a number of important demands that solar energy companies receive from individuals who want to electrify their homes. The main problem with this type of facility is its high cost of installation in relation to the amount of energy they are able to provide. This factor clashes with the high level of technification and consumption in current households. To realize a solar photovoltaic installation to electrify a house can be interesting and profitable however it is necessary to know the pros and cons of this type of installation.

Why electrify a house with photovoltaic solar energy?

Advantages

There are several attractions of electrifying a house with photovoltaic solar panels:

Electrical autonomy: This is perhaps the most attractive feature in this type of installation. Having a properly dimensioned and installed solar photovoltaic installation, it is possible to completely dispense with the supply of the grid with its possible breakdowns and tariff increases.

On the other hand, on many occasions this form of electrification is the only possible in isolated areas where it is extremely difficult to reach the general electricity grid.

Long service life and resistance of the installation – Solar photovoltaic systems lack components with mechanical elements that can wear out. This, coupled with the rugged design of the same makes it very difficult to breakdowns. Normally the components undergo rigorous quality controls to ensure their reliability. Thus, photovoltaic solar panels are designed and subjected to rigorous tests to withstand beyond the thermal conditions that they are expected to suffer in their normal use in any climate of the earth.

There are solar photovoltaic installations that have been maintained with good performance since the 70’s of the last century.

Profitability. Despite being normally expensive installations, it is possible to achieve profitability and even income with them.

On the one hand, in many isolated areas, it will be more profitable to carry out a photovoltaic solar installation than to pay for the electricity supply from the nearest electrified zone.

On the other hand, in many countries laws have been established by which electricity companies are obliged to purchase energy produced by renewable methods at a much higher price than the tariff that they themselves sell. The owner of the photovoltaic installation injects all its production into the general grid at a high rate while consuming energy from it at a low rate. In this way, a positive balance of the sale/purchase ratio is obtained, which makes the installation profitable and amortizes it over an average period of 5 to 15 years. From that moment on there will be a net income and net profit.

Ecological aspects
No less important and perhaps the most sought-after feature of this type of facility is its ability to produce clean, renewable energy and thus prevent a large amount of pollutants from being released into the atmosphere.

Disadvantages

The main and perhaps only drawback of solar photovoltaic electrification of houses lies in the high cost of its execution. This element may cause many applicants to discard this option.
Types of photovoltaic solar home electrification systems

The systems of electrification of houses by solar energy are two depending on whether or not they have connection to the general electrical network:


Isolated systems:

Those without a network connection. They are suitable for isolated areas in which it is more expensive to install the electricity network than a photovoltaic installation in itself.

These types of installations consist of the following components:

Solar photovoltaic panels – Components in charge of transforming light into electrical energy

Battery – It is the element in charge of storing electrical energy for the moments when it is necessary, either because there is no sunlight or not enough power.

Regulator- The device that prevents the battery from overcharging when fully charged and the panels continue to generate electricity.

Grid-connected systems

These are photovoltaic systems for areas already electrified with the general grid. There are two types of uses:

Solar photovoltaic production for self-supply with grid support at times when there is a shortage of energy or to dump surplus energy.

Injecting the entire production of the photovoltaic system into the grid while the grid is being consumed normally. This option is undoubtedly the most economically interesting when there are laws that prioritise the production of electricity from renewable sources. In these cases, it will be interesting to sell as much energy as possible to the grid at a high rate, recovering it when we need it, but at a much lower rate.
These types of installations consist of the following components:

Solar photovoltaic panels – Components in charge of transforming light into electrical energy

Inverter: This is the device that transforms direct current electricity from the panels into alternating current. In these types of installations, inverters of the highest quality must be used (sinusoidal inverters) that convert the current coming from the panels into another one with characteristics identical to that of the grid. These are usually specific converters for this application.

Counter – An element that counts the amount of electricity that we inject into the grid (must be an independent meter that records the consumption of the grid)

Grid-connected photovoltaic scheme

Need to use efficient and energy-saving elements

In theory it is technically possible to carry out a photovoltaic solar installation to satisfy any energy demand, however high it may be. However, the basic limitation of these facilities is the high cost of them.

A photovoltaic solar installation for a house often requires a significant financial outlay. Our society today is used to wasting energy. We live surrounded by numerous electronic components that demand a constant flow of energy.

Electrifying a conventional middle-class home in any country will require an initial outlay that will make it unacceptable to many people, even if it can be repaid in the future.

In order to be able to carry out efficient installations at a not so exorbitant price, it is necessary to take efficiency and saving measures in order to obtain the best use of each KW produced. With the use of suitable consumption elements and the development of habits that avoid wasting energy, a very significant reduction of the collector surface can be achieved, which translates into a significant reduction in the cost of the installation.

Among the most suitable procedures to achieve energy savings are highlighted:

Lighting: First of all, it is important to make the most of natural sunlight during the day.

For the moments when it is not possible and it is necessary to use artificial lighting, it is advisable to avoid incandescent bulbs, which although they are the cheapest a priori, are also the most wasteful energy. Incandescent bulbs transform much of the energy they receive into useless heat.

For lighting, energy-saving light bulbs are more suitable, which are more expensive than incandescent bulbs in the shop, thanks to the much lower consumption that they have (savings of up to 80%) and their long life are the most economical.

Fluorescent lamps are also suitable for spaces where there is not a constant on and off, because although the consumption once turned on is not very high is at the moment of being turned on when it consumes a significant amount of energy.

As important as having the right components is the use of them. It should be avoided to leave lights on in rooms where there is no one and not to over-light the rooms depending on the activities that are going to be developed in them.

Household appliances: To reduce the electrical consumption of household appliances, you must purchase those that are energy-saving and in principle no more expensive than conventional appliances. This type of appliance is beginning to be commonplace to find them in large supermarkets already manufactured by major brands.

Particular attention should be paid to refrigerators which are high energy consumers. The rear grill should be kept clean and renewed every 10 years as it is estimated that a refrigerator over 10 years old will consume twice as much as a new one.

Proper and efficient use of household appliances is also an important factor. We will have to try to maintain them is always a perfect condition and use them only when strictly necessary (washing machines and dishwashers with full load)

Comparison of the dimensioning of an installation with efficient components of another one with inefficient components (for the same consumption) – To demonstrate the important savings that can be achieved in a home with the use of efficient appliances we have carried out a small comparative study of consumption that is reflected in the following table:

Efficient consumption table VS not efficient

The use of energy-saving elements would mean an energy saving of 65% without changing any consumption habits.

 

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