Energy savings are a priority for businesses and individuals. Installing panels not only reduces energy bills, but also allows you to produce your own electricity. Discover the features and benefits of solar panels.
What are the characteristics of solar panels?
Solar panels produce electrical energy for the residential sector. They capture sunlight and transform it into heat. They are mainly used to produce domestic hot water and, in some cases, for domestic heating. Solar panels are also suitable for recharging everyday electrical devices. Solar panels are most often installed on the roofs of houses, in order to exploit unused space and obtain better production.
Solar panels are gradually finding their place in household energy consumption. A study by the daily “Les Echos” published in June 2022 shows that “More than 50 solar self-consumption installations were connected in 000, with an increase of 2021% compared to 70”. A situation which can be explained by the surge in electricity prices.
The advantages of solar panels
Here is why install solar panels at home, and what are the main benefits of this device:
- Solar panels allow you to reduce your energy bills, thanks to the principle of self-consumption: in fact, solar panels allow you to produce the electricity necessary for your daily consumption. This way, you reduce the amount of your bills and you are not subject to increasing energy prices.
- Solar panels allow you to benefit from additional income: independent electricity production gives you the possibility of reselling the “surplus” energy produced to the EDF supplier. The latter has a purchasing obligation – as stipulated in article L314 of the Energy Code (1).
- Solar panels allow you to enhance your residence: you thus increase the value of your home, and you help to enhance your real estate assets. A 6 Kw solar installation is likely to increase the value of your home by around 25 euros (000).
- Solar panels allow you to act in favor of the environment: in fact, the energy produced by the sun is green and renewable energy. Consuming solar electricity is therefore making a gesture in favor of the planet.
What are the different types of solar panels?
There are several types of solar panels, intended for different uses. The best known is the photovoltaic solar panel, which is mainly used to produce electricity. Installing photovoltaic solar panels costs on average between 2 euros and 200 euros/kWp, excluding premiums (2). Solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline or thin film.
Next comes the thermal solar panel, which is used to produce domestic hot water or heating water. This installation is generally coupled with an individual solar water heater, which is an ecological hot water tank. Its cost, premiums deducted, is around 4 and up to 000 euros depending on the technology.
The hybrid solar panel or mixed solar collector is a two-in-one solution. It is powered by both light and heat from the sun, thanks to thermal sensors and photovoltaic sensors. Hybrid solar panels therefore generate electricity and heat simultaneously.
The choice of technology depends greatly on consumer expectations. If the latter wishes to produce heat, it will be preferable to turn to thermal panels. If the objective is only to reduce the electricity bill, the installation of photovoltaic solar panels is more appropriate.
What are the real economic benefits of solar panels?
Solar panels not only optimize energy consumption, but also give the possibility of producing electricity or heat, in a perfectly autonomous manner. Solar panels allow on average savings of up to 40% on the annual bill.
Regarding the installation of photovoltaic panels for self-consumption, the annual saving can be between 200 and 600 euros (4). Your home becomes more efficient in terms of energy independence. As for the purchase price of photovoltaic electricity, it was set in 2023 at 0,13 euros for a power of less than 3 kWp (5).
The installation of thermal solar panels makes it possible to obtain an average conversion efficiency of between 50 and 70% – at least when the installation is well maintained. Note that a solar water heater, coupled with a solar thermal system, can cover 60 to 80% of hot water needs. The basic investment can be relieved by various aids: find out in particular from the Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).
Hybrid solar collectors, for their part, produce more electricity than photovoltaic collectors. This device is capable of cooling itself, which is very practical in summer, where conventional modules can reach high temperatures for production at half-mast. Generally count on a production of 13% higher than a photovoltaic installation.
In conclusion, always keep in mind that the higher the average efficiency of a solar installation, the more profitable it is - efficiency being the ratio between the quantity of energy produced vis-à-vis the quantity of energy entry into the system. As a photovoltaic producer looking for efficiency, always keep these two criteria in mind:
- the mode of production: do you want to sell your production in full, or sell the surplus for self-consumption?
- The total power of your installation: this is generally expressed in kWp or kilowatt-peak.