Solar energy – useful information
Solar energy is the basic source of renewable energy, i.e. one that we don’t have to worry about running out. Since solar energy is one of the most common, cleanest and natural energy sources, it is considered a very promising source. Also because of the economic benefits made possible by solar energy.
In recent years, there has been a growing trend in the use of solar energy by various institutions and households in Poland. Examples of using solar energy do not have to look far – just pay attention to the roofs of houses in the immediate area. We will certainly find at least one solar collector. Increasingly, we also see solar farms supplying road signs, notice boards and parking meters. Individual use of solar energy is the most popular in Poland. Currently, there is one solar energy farm in the country and it is a photovoltaic farm in Wierzchosławice near Tarnów.
What is solar energy, solar collector or solar farm? What are the possibilities of using solar energy in Poland? For what purpose can we obtain solar energy and through which systems? Answers to these and many other questions can be found in the article below.
Solar energy in Poland
The amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth in the form of solar radiation is measured by determining the intensity of solar radiation. In Poland, this value is around 900 to 1200 kWh / m2. Such solar energy values are also similar in countries like Germany or northern France, but higher than in the Scandinavian countries, where solar energy is already obtained on a large scale.
Solar energy allows you to save up to 70% of the cost of heating hot water all year round, and in the winter, with central heating, up to 60% of the cost of traditional energy. In addition, by using solar energy, we become independent of external suppliers and hedge against fluctuations and increases in prices of other energy carriers. It is also possible to save on electricity bills by using solar energy to generate electricity.
What about solar energy when it is cloudy?
As the name suggests, solar energy is only obtained through solar radiation. However, attention should be paid to the fact that solar radiation reaches the earth not only when the sky is clear. Solar energy can be processed constantly throughout the year, and the basic difference between a sunny and cloudy day is the amount of energy obtained. When the sun hides behind the clouds, the efficiency of solar installations decreases, but the collector still produces heat or electricity in smaller quantities.
How can we use solar energy?
Solar energy can be used to obtain both thermal energy and electricity. However, it should be remembered that if we want to convert solar energy into heat, we need a different installation than when converting solar energy into electricity. Many people interested in solar energy are friends with terms such as solar collectors, solar panels or solar farms. But are we aware of the difference between these terms?
If we are interested in converting solar energy into thermal energy, we must use solar collectors , also called solar panels. The panels capture solar energy and convert it directly into heat. Depending on numerous conditions, the efficiency of solar energy conversion can reach up to 90%. Solar collectors can be used to convert solar energy into:
- heating water in residential buildings;
- water heating in swimming pools;
- water heating in industrial buildings;
- water heating in enterprises – hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools;
- support in heating buildings and other rooms (wall and floor heating).
The most common solar panels on the market are flat and tube collectors. Solar energy conversion by flat panels is an easier and cheaper solution. Pipe collectors are a newer generation of panels, which makes it more expensive but at the same time more effective. A properly installed solar panel installation can cover up to 75% of the annual heat demand. In addition, environmental friendliness is an important aspect – solar collectors do not emit harmful gases or pollutants, they are quiet and safe for the environment.
If we are interested in converting solar energy into electricity, we must install solar panels (PV) or photovoltaics . Photovoltaics capture solar energy and convert it into electricity in a cell built on silicon. For higher voltage, photovoltaics are connected in parallel or in series. Photovoltaics can be used to convert solar energy into:
- traffic signal;
- emergency power supply systems;
- traffic lights;
- small trade machines;
- providing electricity in homes;
- and other.
This solar energy installation is connected to the local power grid. The energy produced by photovoltaics is therefore sent through the network and consumed by a residential building for free when it is needed. The more electricity from photovoltaics is used for own needs, the more profitable for the owner is the use of solar energy. Obtaining electricity by converting solar energy is environmentally friendly – photovoltaics do not emit carbon dioxide, noise or other pollutants.
What is the price of obtaining solar energy
Solar energy installations are still relatively expensive, despite the fact that prices of solar energy systems have fallen by as much as 99% compared to 1976. Installation prices vary depending on the needs, the solar energy system used, the surface of a residential building or apartment. Smaller buildings and rooms need less solar energy, fewer panels and thus cheaper systems. The installation price ranges from about PLN 15,000 to PLN 30,000. Operating costs are low and the investment is intended to pay off as soon as possible. However, please note that each individual case is different, so prices are always approximate.
Subsidies and co-financing for solar energy
Since the use of solar energy is environmentally friendly, the European Union is seeking to promote this type of energy production. Therefore, there are many options for financing the purchase of solar panels. Co-financing for solar energy is 45% gross of a bank loan, however it cannot exceed PLN 2,500 for 1m2 of the total collector area. An important condition for receiving such solar energy financing is the purchase of collectors that have a documented certificate. Individuals and housing associations can receive such funding. However, it should be remembered that there are many possibilities of co-financing solar energy and it is worth considering each individual case separately.
Ecology is an important aspect of renewable energy sources. Solar energy is a clean alternative to sources such as oil, natural gas or coal, and solar power plants as an alternative to nuclear power plants. Solar energy processing is safe for both the environment and its users. Solar collectors do not make any noise during operation and do not emit dangerous gases into the atmosphere and do not pollute the environment.