Types of Photovoltaic Solar Panel Systems
The same technology can be applied in two ways to supply electricity, here we explain how:
Centralized generation systems
They are systems with thousands of solar panels together. These systems are known as solar parks or solar farms and serve to supply electricity, through the electrical network, to all residential, commercial and industrial users in a geographical area.
Currently 20% of the energy consumed in Mexico comes from renewable sources and an important one is solar parks.
Distributed generation systems
Colloquially known as solar roofs, although they can be installed on any surface with sufficient solar access.
Distributed generation systems are so called because, unlike centralized generation, energy is generated at the place where it is consumed, without the need to transport it through the electrical network.
This allows it to be more efficient, since in the transmission of energy there can be electricity losses of up to 30% due to theft or inefficiency of the network.
When a person makes the decision to install solar power systems in their home or business, they are installing a distributed generation system, since the energy it generates is consumed in the same building where they were installed.
There is a distributed generation option where a solar panel system can generate electricity and supply several users in the same place, for example, a building or several houses in the same neighborhood.
It is a modality that is being tested in different parts of the world but depends on the current legislation in each country. This modality is known as Community Solar or Collective Energy Contracts, but they are not yet regulated in Mexico.
If I install solar panels, can I cancel my contract with the electricity company?
One of the most frequent doubts is what happens to your electricity contract with the electricity company once you have decided to take the step to be greener and generate your own energy with solar panels. There are two modes:
Autonomous or isolated systems
They are solar power generator systems that supply the total electricity consumption of the property where they are installed, without the need for another source of energy. This would allow a contract with the electricity company to be eliminated.
The great disadvantage of an isolated system is that if the panels do not generate enough energy when it is needed -for example, at night- the building would be left without electricity.
For this situation, storage system or 12v lithium battery can be used. The solar panel system would generate more electricity than is needed during the day to store it and supply the energy demand at night or days with little solar radiation.
Isolated systems may be a more common reality in the near future, but currently the cost of batteries is very high and makes them inaccessible to the vast majority of the population.
The most common uses of isolated systems are in places with difficult access to the electrical network -such as the mountains or a ranchería- or in the industrial sector.
Systems interconnected to the network
The vast majority of solar panel systems are interconnected to the network, it is the most common way to use them and obtain the greatest benefit.
The operation of a system of solar panels interconnected to the electrical network works the same: the panels capture the sun’s energy and transform it into electricity that you use in the building, but when there is a surplus, instead of storing it in a battery, it is injected to the public power grid.
By continuing to be connected to the public grid, on nights or days with little solar radiation, your property automatically uses electricity from the grid.
What happens to the energy that is injected into the public electricity grid in an interconnected system? Before turning on a system of solar panels interconnected to the electricity grid, the CFE must go to the property to change or configure the light meter.This is done so that the meter takes into account two energy readings instead of one: the one you take from the network and the surplus you inject.
A typical electricity meter only counts the energy you take from the grid, but by injecting the excess energy from the solar panels, the meter needs to have a second reading to detect how much you injected.
The surplus energy that the solar panels injected into the network is accounted for in your favor and is deducted from your next bill on the next receipt.
This scheme is known as energy netting or net metering. In a certain way, the public electricity network works like a battery without the need to invest in one, since all the energy you deliver will be taken into account as a credit balance.
What do I have to do for the CFE to change or configure my meter?
In order for the electricity company to change or configure the meter and you can have both readings, it is necessary to carry out the interconnection process under the energy netting scheme.
It is a free procedure that the CFE does to consider you as an exempt generator; This means that it will recognize you as a person – physical or moral – that generates its own energy and also delivers energy to the electricity company.
Qualified solar panel installation companies generally carry out this procedure on behalf of their clients as part of the service they offer, so all the user needs to do is deliver the necessary and signed documentation to carry it out.
Being a government process, it can be a bit slow, but the benefit of solar panels is for more than two decades. So it’s worth the wait.
Now that you know more about solar panels and their general operation, we will tell you why, especially photovoltaic ones, they are an excellent option for your home.
The first thing you should know is that in order to make use of the sun’s natural energy, you need to install a photovoltaic solar cell system on the roof of your house.
Remember that these directly capture the sun’s rays and convert them into electricity that you use on a regular basis.
Advantages of having solar panels at home
Having solar panels at home has innumerable advantages. Next, we list the most relevant:
Mexico has high levels of pollution according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), therefore the use of solar panels is an ideal option to improve the quality of the air we breathe.
Multiple toxic gases in the air enter our body through our lungs. Using solar energy gives a break not only to our body, but to the planet, since solar panels do not emit any pollutants when generating electricity.
On the other hand, the use of solar panels eliminates greenhouse gas emissions, since it avoids the use of fuels. This helps us mitigate global warming.
The sun rises for everyone: being an inexhaustible and free source of energy, you will not pay any fees for the electricity you generate using solar generators
Although acquiring a solar generator system requires a certain investment, there are three reasons that make them more attractive:
- The price of solar panels has dropped considerably. As technology advances and more people start using solar panels for campers, they become more affordable. Only in the last 10 years its price has decreased 80%.
- Payment facilities: The most solid solar panel companies in the market offer different forms of payment that adapt to your needs, from cash payments, interest-free monthly installments and financing, so it is not necessary to decapitalize to install solar panels. at home.
- Return on investment: Thanks to the increasingly competitive cost of solar panels and the sharp rise in traditional electricity costs, the return on your investment is very attractive.
Most people pay back their investment in 3 years, while solar panels will generate power for more than 30 years.
By consuming solar energy at home, you stop consuming energy from the electricity company, which allows savings of up to 98% on each electricity bill.
The savings is not 100% for a simple reason: the CFE continues to charge a small amount for providing the service of being connected to its network and billing, but that price is less than $50 MXN per period.
Are solar generators durable?
The average lifespan of solar panels is between 30 and 35 years. In a few words: they last a long time.
The power of photovoltaic solar panels has a degradation of approximately 0.5% per year, which is why most manufacturers issue a generation guarantee for 25 years of at least 80% energy.
This does not mean that the system will stop working after the warranty period, it will only gradually decrease in power over time.
The best quality solar panels are made to be resistant to any weather: they withstand dust, rain, snow and hail.
It is important to make sure that your solar panel installer offers you Tier 1 solar panels.
This term is used to certify that these solar panels have the best technology and strong manufacturer strength.
Another advantage offered by solar panels is that they require very little maintenance, since they have no moving parts, their basic maintenance is limited to removing dirt and dust with water to allow the panel to absorb the greatest amount of energy from the sun.
Another benefit of solar panels is that they add value to the property, since the system is tailored to the needs and circumstances of that property.
The property increases its value approximately 4% or the value of the solar panel system without depreciation, given its long useful life.
What is the main reason for high light consumption? If you were asked what the amount you pay on your electricity bill depends on, what would your answer be? Surely one of your first thoughts would be the size of your house, or the number of people who live in it.
Although these data can influence what you pay for electricity, the reality is that the high costs for electricity consumption have to do with your lifestyle. Yes, strange as it may seem, your lifestyle is what determines the cost of your electricity bill.
Example of high consumption vs. Average consumption
Imagine that your house and your neighbor’s are the same size and the same number of people live there, but your neighbor pays less for electricity, why?
Perhaps your neighbor and his wife work most of the day and his grown-up children spend too much time in school. They all get home around 7 pm, they only use the electrical appliances for about three hours, because around 10 pm they usually fall asleep.
Instead, let’s imagine that in your house you are the only one who works while your wife is 100% dedicated to taking care of your home and your children.
Due to this, your family spends most of the time at home doing multiple activities that involve a higher consumption of electricity.
Although the size of the properties is the same and the number of inhabitants is the same, the lifestyle of both families is completely different.