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Solar power: Definition, uses and advantages of photovoltaic systems

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What is a photovoltaic system and what does it cost?

A photovoltaic system produces energy by converting incoming sunlight into direct electricity with the help of the photoelectric effect. Grid-connected systems feed the surplus electricity generated into the public power grid. As the provider, you receive a so-called feed-in tariff in return. The cost of a photovoltaic system depends on various factors, including the size of the system and whether or not you purchase a PV system with storage. The price of a complete photovoltaic system with storage is several thousand euros. If you cannot install such a system on your own roof, you can also opt for a mini PV system, which is installed on a terrace or balcony. These models can be purchased for as low as 300 to 500 euros.

Solar energy system or photovoltaic system?

Many people use the terms photovoltaic and solar energy system interchangeably. However, solar power system is an umbrella term used to describe a system that produces electrical power or heat. If a system is used to produce electricity only, it is called a photovoltaic system; if it converts energy into heat, it is a solar thermal system. When considering whether you would prefer to use solar thermal or photovoltaic, it is advisable to compare the costs, but it is also possible to use both systems in combination via so-called hybrid collectors. If you are planning to buy a system with photovoltaics, it is advisable to first look for photovoltaic companies in your vicinity. They will offer sound advice and conduct a preliminary on-site inspection to show you where your photovoltaic system with storage is best installed and the associated costs. There is also the option of building a solar power system yourself, however, this requires a lot of technical know-how.

A solar energy system becomes more worthwhile the more electricity you consume

Costs and purchase subsidies

The costs for the purchase and installation of a PV system usually amounts to several thousand euros. They are based on the size and power of the system, which is measured in kilowatt-peak (kWp). For a single-family home, a system with an output of four to five kWp is typical, which costs between 5,000 and 5,300 euros. The costs for maintenance and servicing as well as the operating and insurance costs must also be considered, which can add another 1,000 to 2,000 euros to the bill. However, there is the possibility of receiving state photovoltaic subsidies. These include the feed-in tariff, which is paid for feeding the surplus electricity into the public grid. In addition, KfW provides low-interest loans for the funding of such systems and battery storage. The loans can be used to finance a pure photovoltaic system as well as photovoltaics with storage. In addition to the purchase costs, the costs for planning, project planning and installation are also eligible for funding. If you would like to determine what output your photovoltaic system will deliver, this can be calculated with the help of a PV yield calculator.

Frequently asked questions

Written by:

Stefanie Aust, Guest Writer

Stefanie loves to put complex topics from the real estate world into understandable and inspiring words. Whether it's about the right financing, choosing the right type of flat, or a successful property search: Stefanie is happy to inform you.

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