FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY

What is solar energy?

It is a renewable energy that is obtained from the sun for the generation of electricity (photovoltaic) or the production of heat (thermal solar).

 

What is a photovoltaic solar panel?

A solar panel is a device that uses the sun’s energy to generate *electricity.

 

How does a solar energy installation work?

Solar cells or panels absorb solar energy. Photovoltaic modules  transform solar radiation into electrical energy , through the photovoltaic phenomenon. Subsequently, the electric current passes through the network regulators or inverters and then they lead it to the batteries (if they have one). From there it goes to the protection panel that every home has, to later be used in any electrical element.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?

Solar energy is clean, renewable, unlimited and sustainable energy , which allows savings on electricity consumption . It can reach both companies and private homes at any geographical point, even in areas where there is no connection to the electrical grid. Its installation is easy to maintain and has a long useful life of about 40 years.

The disadvantages are the initial cost of the installation, which can be easily amortized (between 3 and 6 years), and its dependence on sunlight, climate, pollution, etc.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on advantages and disadvantages of solar energy .

 

What are the components of a solar installation?

Solar panels, structures for the panels, charge regulator, solar batteries (if necessary), solar inverter, remote control and monitoring system, support or emergency generator sets (if necessary), protective equipment and electrical wiring.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on  components of a solar installation .

 

Do I need authorization to carry out a photovoltaic installation?

The authorizations necessary to carry out a photovoltaic installation are different if we are talking about installations with a power lower or higher than 15Kw. In the case of lower power installations, a communication will be enough to request the construction license. In the case of greater power, prior administrative, environmental, exploitation, etc. authorization will also be required.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on  Requirements to install solar panels .

 

What procedures must I carry out to be able to have a photovoltaic installation?

The procedures consist of the communication and request of a series of authorizations prior to and after the installation that Soma Gen Power will manage on behalf of the client.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on  Requirements to install solar panels

 

Are there aids or subsidies for solar photovoltaic installations?

The aid and subsidies depend on the Autonomous Community where the installation will be carried out. Ask us for information without obligation and we will inform you of the aid and subsidies in your area.

 

Do I have to pay any taxes for having a solar energy installation?

When requesting the building permit, or when notifying your town hall, you must pay the Construction and Works Tax (ICIO) and the fee for the provision of urban services.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on  Requirements to install solar panels

 

Is it necessary to hire an installation company or can I do the installation on my own?

The installation of solar panels must be carried out by professionals , just as it is recommended that they also carry out the maintenance.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on solar panel maintenance and how to choose an installation company .

 

What are the self-consumption modalities that exist?

The modalities of self-consumption are: without surpluses and with surpluses . And at the same time, the latter can be divided into surpluses covered by compensation or not covered by simplified compensation .

We invite you to expand this information in our section on photovoltaic solar self-consumption

 

Solar self-consumption or isolated solar installation, which one is best for me?

It depends on the place where you want to install. The isolated solar installation is suitable for areas where there is no connection to the electrical grid. Consult us if this is your case, we are experts in isolated installations.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on  Self-consumption of isolated photovoltaic solar energy

 

I don’t have access to the grid, can I install solar energy?

Yes, because isolated electrification is a system that: generates, stores and manages electrical energy within a certain area. We can produce, store and manage this resource anywhere, no matter how remote or impossible it may seem, since Photovoltaic solar energy is the most abundant source of energy on the entire planet. At Soma Gen Power we are experts in this type of installations.

We invite you to expand this information in our section on off-grid isolated electrification .

 

What happens if my installation generates more energy than I need?

This surplus that is generated can be dumped into batteries to be stored and used in the future, or it can be seen in the electrical grid, applying surplus compensation.

We invite you to expand this information in our section on photovoltaic solar self-consumption

 

What happens if my installation generates less energy than I need?

That the rest of the necessary energy can be obtained from the electrical connection if you have access to it, and if you do not have it, it will be necessary to install batteries that collect the energy that you do not use to use it when necessary, or through groups generators in case of isolated installation.

We invite you to expand this information in our section on photovoltaic solar self-consumption

 

Where can solar panels be installed?

The installation of photovoltaic or thermal systems can be carried out on urban constructions, roofs of buildings and houses, thus taking advantage of this space for the generation of electrical and/or thermal energy. If you do not have a ceiling, or if it does not have the necessary size, installation can also be carried out on the floor.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on whether to install solar panels on the roof or on the ground .

 

How much space do I need to install a photovoltaic panel?

This will depend on the power you need based on your usual electricity consumption. At Soma Gen Power we study your particular situation, we tell you what surface you need and we check if what you have is enough to generate the energy you need.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on how many panels you need for a photovoltaic installation .

 

Is it profitable to install a photovoltaic system?

Yes, because despite the initial cost of the installation, the investment is amortized in a few years , given the savings it represents on your electricity bill. It is estimated that for a home it can be between 40 and 85% savings, depending on whether or not batteries are used. Furthermore, its maintenance is simple and its useful life can reach up to 40 years.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on advantages and disadvantages of solar energy

 

How long does it take to recover the initial investment?

Although it depends on many factors, we can say that the payback of the investment in a solar installation ranges between four and eight years , depending on the type and complexity of the installation.

 

What type of photovoltaic panels exist?

Depending on their technology, we can talk about monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous or thin film solar panels , although monocrystalline ones are the most used today.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on types of solar panels

 

How much does it cost to set up an installation?

This depends on many factors, the number of panels and material needed, the place where the installation is carried out, the need or not for batteries, etc. Ask us about your case and we will give you a quote without obligation. But to have an approximation, we can say that it ranges from: €0.68/W in large industrial installations to €2.6/W in residential installations with batteries.

 

Is it possible to recycle solar panels?

Solar panels can be recycled and reused , thereby reducing the environmental impact, although this process is still very incipient, and its recycling is complex and laborious.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on advantages and disadvantages of solar energy

 

What is the useful life of a photovoltaic system?

With good maintenance we will be able to achieve optimal performance during the 20 or 30 years following installation and we will extend its useful life. The production loss of a good quality panel is 0.6% annually, meaning that after 10 years it will have lost 6% of the productive capacity it had at the beginning, and so on.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on solar panel maintenance

 

Does solar power work when it’s cloudy?

Solar panels work on cloudy days but their performance decreases, reaching between 10 and 25% compared to a sunny day.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on advantages and disadvantages of solar energy

 

Should solar panels be cleaned?

Yes, if we want to extend its useful life without reducing its efficiency. They must be kept free of dust and dirt. Cleaning the solar panels should be done with water, a neutral liquid soap and a soft cloth or sponge, rinse the soap well and let it air dry. Products that can damage the panel should be avoided and pressure washing should not be used as it can damage the solar panels. It is advisable to carry out this cleaning one to three times a year (depending on the work area of ​​the installation).

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on solar panel maintenance

 

How should maintenance of a solar panel installation be carried out?

There are two types of maintenance: preventive, which consists of cleaning the solar panels and visual inspection, and technical, which will consist of a review of all components at least once a year.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on solar panel maintenance

 

What problems can arise in a photovoltaic installation?

The problems that we can find in a photovoltaic installation are accumulated dirt, misalignment, breaks or microbreaks, hotspots or excess temperatures, water leaks, or wiring or structure problems, due to rodents or nesting birds.

That is why both technical and preventive maintenance is necessary.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on solar panel maintenance

 

How much do solar panels cost?

The price of solar panels depends on the power of the panel , and could range from around €37 for a panel with around 20W power to around €230 for a 450W panel. At Soma Gen Power we can calculate the cost for your particular case without any commitment.

 

Where can I buy solar panels?

There are many stores where you can buy a solar panel, but we advise you to contact a professional who will advise you on the types and quality of the panels according to what you need for your installation.

At Soma Gen Power we have an online store where we sell solar panels and other electrical components, Solarsoma .

 

How many solar panels do I need for my installation?

This will depend on the power you need according to your usual electricity consumption. At Soma Gen Power we carry out a study of your particular situation, we tell you how many solar panels you need for your solar energy installation.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on how many panels you need for a photovoltaic installation .

 

What is the difference between individual and collective self-consumption?

The only difference between the two is that in the first, the producer, owner and consumer are a natural person, and in the second, the consumers are several, and normally the community of owners is the owner and producer, distributing the total energy generated (hour by hour), as the neighbors have agreed, according to percentages of participation for each of them, which can be: by economic contribution, by coefficient of the property, by contracted power; The method of distribution is open to the agreement that each community of neighbors deems appropriate.

We invite you to expand information in this blog post on collective self-consumption of photovoltaic solar energy.

 

How does collective self-consumption work?

In collective self-consumption, the community of owners is the owner and producer, distributing the total of the energy generated (hour by hour), as the neighbors have agreed, according to percentages of participation to each of them, which can be: by contribution economic, by coefficient of the property, by contracted power; The method of distribution is open to the agreement that each community of neighbors deems appropriate, however, the sum of all the percentages must be equal to 100% of the production of self-consumption of photovoltaic solar energy, which is produced hour by hour. example: 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors each have a 20% coefficient, while the 4th and 5th only have 10% respectively; The sum of all the percentages makes 100% of the energy to be distributed, so that, if at 11 noon, 100 W are produced, and the first has consumed 30W in that same hour, in reality they will only be charged 10W, since 20 have been provided by the self-consumption installation of photovoltaic solar energy on a collective basis. The same thing will happen with surpluses as with consumption (as long as they are covered by the self-consumption modality of photovoltaic solar energy with simplified compensation of surpluses).

We invite you to expand information in this blog post on collective self-consumption of photovoltaic solar energy.

 

What is the best orientation for solar panels?

The orientation of the solar panels in a self-consumption installation is something that we have to evaluate in each specific case, studying the characteristics of each client (consumption habits, electricity rate, etc.). Until not long ago, the south orientation was the one that was always used, since it receives greater solar radiation in the central hours of the day, making it ideal for solar installations with connection and sale of surpluses. But the use of installing solar panels with east-west orientation (half of the panels are oriented towards the east and the other half towards the west) in some cases is gaining more and more ground.

We invite you to expand this information by viewing this installation that we carried out with an east-west orientation

 

Do shadows affect the performance of solar panels?

Yes, that is why it is important to carry out a study of the surface where the installation is going to be carried out, since in addition to reducing the effectiveness of these panels, permanent shadows can end up causing damage to the cells of the panels, rendering them unusable.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on  Requirements to install solar panels

 

Does air affect the performance of solar panels?

Although the photovoltaic production plant has to be well fixed and with the minimum sail effect, the air does not negatively affect the plates or their production, quite the contrary, since it helps their cooling, and therefore to its best performance.

Is solar energy produced at night?

No, because solar panels need radiation from the sun. At night it will be necessary to use the energy accumulated in the batteries if there are any, from the electrical network or from generator sets.

 

Why are batteries installed in a photovoltaic installation?

Batteries are necessary and essential in a photovoltaic installation as long as it is isolated, that is, it does not have a connection to the grid. In this way, the energy is accumulated in the batteries and can be used during the hours when the solar panels do not generate energy. In the case of network-connected installations, it is also sometimes recommended.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on whether solar panel batteries are necessary in a photovoltaic solar self-consumption installation?

 

Is the use of batteries necessary in a grid-connected photovoltaic installation?

It is not necessary but advisable in some cases. They serve as a reserve, provide energy independence and economic savings, and the pollution generated is very low.

We invite you to expand this information in our blog post on whether solar panel batteries are necessary in a photovoltaic solar self-consumption installation?

 

What types of batteries exist?

There are many types of batteries; Until recently, those made of acid and lead, in their many variants: Flooded, GEL, AGM, etc., were the most used, but with the appearance of new materials and technologies, Lithium ones have strongly taken over from These, and they are right, since the advantages are much greater than the disadvantages when it comes to implementation.

But there are other types of accumulation that resonate in the not-too-distant future and that could unseat Lithium from its podium: Graphene, Hydrogen or bio-technological batteries could be excellent candidates for this.

Lithium battery or lead acid battery, which one to choose?

Given the choice, would you go by car or motorized vehicle? Certainly the first is presented as an option not without advantages, but progress relegates it to a question for tourists and nostalgic people. Well, something similar is to consider the dichotomy: Lead or Lithium; since practically the only disadvantage that Lithium has compared to Lead is the initial purchase price, because in everything else Lithium wins by a landslide: faster charges, maintenance-free, weighs and takes up much less, lasts almost 3 times longer that the best Lead (so it is no longer the most expensive option), is easily scalable in facilities that need to increase their cumulative capacity (Lead is not). In other words, the dilemma of: whether Lead or Lithium, does not make any sense.

What are virtual batteries?

First of all, it must be made clear that they are a simple commercial strategy, there is no physical battery.

The virtual battery, or also called: piggy bank or solar purse , allows the surpluses to become part, in the form of economic value, of a deposit that accumulates in euros, and that we can use in this installation or in any other , which belongs to the same owner and with a contract with the same marketing company.

We invite you to expand information in this post of our blog about  Virtual Batteries

 

What should I take into account when hiring an installer?

Of course you must take your budget into account, so we advise you to order several. But it is also very important that you analyze the companies, that they have licenses and certificates of quality, experience, and if possible that you review customer opinions. You must also take into account the guarantee of the equipment and the maintenance and repair services that the installation company offers, and find out if the company is going to manage the necessary permits and procedures and the aid and subsidies that correspond according to your autonomous community.

We invite you to expand information in this blog post on  How to choose the best solar panel installation company?

 

How does relocation work between producing and consuming plants in grid-connected solar photovoltaic self-consumption facilities?

This is a topic that generally confuses even people with a certain level of knowledge of the cause. How can a photovoltaic electricity production plant reach my house without a cable coming directly from it? Well, very easy; The producing plant pours the energy it produces into the grid, and through an export meter, we can quantify what is being poured into it, so that if there is a facility associated with it, less than a two-kilometer radius, it can benefit. , since it has made a contract in which it acquires a certain percentage of what the production facility generates, in this way we will know the amount of energy that that house or factory has consumed from the photovoltaic generating plant to which it is associated and the which belongs to a certain percentage of its production.

What is true about the “free installation” offers of some installation companies?

For free, there is nothing that has to be taken care of or transformed, since companies live on economic transactions, and a free transaction is unviable; That is why the offers that with great fanfare tell us that they are free installations are another way to advertise your product or installation in a very striking way. In other words, we are facing the same thing as the famous virtual battery; a simple commercial strategy, which may or may not benefit us, since what we have to keep in mind is that the one who will benefit the most is the advertiser, who will thereby achieve his objective, mobilizing the potential client towards him, ruling out other rival options.

When it is advertised that an installation is free, we always have to look at the fine print, and the advantages and disadvantages that this will bring us. Immediately it seems like a very attractive proposal (I don’t pay a euro, and I have a self-consumption installation), the immediacy causes us to make many mistakes, since, if that installation, which will be offered to me within a certain period: 5, 10 or 20 years, I would have paid it out of my pocket, the benefits I would have at the end of that period would surely double or triple what I am going to have now, and those benefits are what the famous “gifter” has obtained, with our acceptance of your proposal.

Can I install solar energy on a motorhome?

Yes, of course, it is an installation that is increasingly in demand since you will reduce costs since your electricity consumption will decrease, and this will allow you to quickly amortize the investment (if you meet the requirements for the installation to be profitable, something that we can confirm by studying your particular case), you will contribute to caring for the environment since you will be using 100% renewable clean energy, or you will need to look for a place to connect to the electrical grid during your trips and you will obtain energy in a silent way, eliminating the characteristic noise of the generator.

We invite you to expand information in this blog post about  solar panel installations in a motorhome

 

What is an on-site energy PPA installation?

A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) is a long-term energy purchase agreement or contract between a renewable developer and a consumer. Typically this consumer is a company that needs large amounts of electricity. The objective pursued by both parties is to minimize the risk and achieve a mutually beneficial energy price.

The energy PPA is then an agreement between a generator and an energy buyer that is signed for a long period of time of between 10 and 20 years, during which both parties benefit, since the client buys the energy much more economically. , and at a stable price, and the marketer sells the energy at a stable price outside of the ups and downs of the energy auction market, which is where we are all.

We invite you to expand information in this blog post about  onsite energy PPA installations

 

How does solar irrigation work?

Direct solar-photovoltaic pumping does not involve electrical accumulation, and consists, like a traditional water pumping system, of extracting water from a well, pond or similar by means of a solar hydraulic pump.

This solar pump works thanks to the energy of the photovoltaic panels connected to it and a solar frequency converter, and with that energy input it will propel the water for subsequent use. Logically, if there are no batteries, electrical network or associated generating set, pumping will only occur in moments of isolation, capable of providing sufficient voltage to the system for it to work.

We invite you to expand information in this blog post about solar irrigation or direct photovoltaic solar pumping.