Solar panels in the apartment. Is this possible?

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Сонячна панель над зовнішнім блоком кондиціонера

Unfortunately, the average Ukrainian has the impression of solar panels, as something alien, distant, immense, or at all – a divorce. Some people even see the solar panel as “fun for the wealthy,” though the logic behind this is difficult to understand. And the arguments that the solar panel returns money for 2-5 years are only smiles.

Installing solar panels and forgetting how the electricity receipt looks like are in no hurry even in the villages. And even farther solar is for residents of apartment buildings, where there is simply neither a plot nor a roof for the installation of a power plant.

Trees. The north side. Other buildings.

Really. To grab at least one sun for “Khrushchev”, “Stalinka” or low “royal” housing stock – the task is not realistic. But even if you live above the tops of trees, and your windows do not fall shadow of other houses, then all plans can destroy the exit of the balcony or windows to the north. The east and west sides are also not very effective. Half the sun will be just missed.

What if I have a south side?

The windows on the south side of the nine-storey building are very good. So, on average, you can get up to 6 hours of solar battery life at full power. For example, take the typical 100 W solar panel at a price of 2000 UAH. Already used will be even cheaper. So on average we get 600 W * h or 0.54 UAH per day at the rate as of December 2019.

In a year such a panel will return 200 UAH, and will pay off completely in 10 years only. But how confident are you that electricity prices will remain at $ 0.90 per kilowatt for the population?

The main enemy of solar panels may soon disappear

Low tariffs for the population and high prices for businesses are the enemy of green energy in the private sector. All plans for wind or solar energy savings are broken into payback calculations. This relic of the Soviet Union is also misleading, as expensive electricity for businesses is already embedded in the price of any product or service on the market.

Electricity prices are projected to rise to UAH 1.66 / kWh next year. Therefore, the same panel will bring almost 1 hryvnia per day. Or 360 UAH per year. It’s been less than six years to get your money back. But if you think about the possibility of further increase in electricity prices by 20-30% annually, in 2021 the panel will bring already 1.25 UAH per day. And by 2023, even 2 UAH per day. That is, the panel will return its money only in 3 years.

Do you need anything else for a solar panel?

So. The solar panel itself cannot be connected directly to the laptop. She needs a battery, a controller and an inverter to get the usual 220V output. With specialized solar equipment, only a controller is sufficient, which costs up to 500 UAH for a 100W solar panel. Battery inverters can be, for example, automotive.

This gives you the opportunity to charge gadgets and laptops around the clock. Get clean power for light and, for example, a router. In addition, if you have a power outage, you have a backup power source.

And where to place this solar panel?

The window sill or balcony comes to mind first. But this is not a good idea. The solar panel is cumbersome and needs to be placed at the right angle. Note that the dimensions of a typical 100W solar panel are approximately 100x70cm. In addition, the solar panel will be a large black spot on the facade of the house. Therefore, for balconies and exterior windows, compact 10-30 W batteries are suitable.

There is room for a larger panel, for example, on the outdoor unit of the air conditioner. It is possible to partially preserve the aesthetic appearance of the building, and the solar panel itself can be placed at the most optimal angle to the horizon without disturbing anyone.

Conclusions

In general, few will see the point in a solar panel that will return money for 4-5 years and will continue to generate income of only 300-500 UAH per year. Therefore, solar panels within the city can only be seen in offices and pillars where they allow the landowner and the state to save money. For the average city dweller, at the moment, a solar panel can only be a way to support alternative energy and an interesting hobby, not a real way to save money. Although, the main role is still played by rising electricity prices. It is this factor that can turn the “toy for the wealthy” into a vital necessity.

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