Photovoltaics – Myths & Reality


Within just a few years, numerous myths have arisen in conjunction with the topic of photovoltaics. But several thousand installed photovoltaic systems – in Austria aloneday for day prove exactly the opposite. VERBUND, Austria's leading electric company and one of Europe's largest hydropower energy producers, is now starting an awareness campaign dedicated to solar electricity.

With its current funding programme, the Climate and Energy Fund is likewise sending clear signals in favour of photovoltaics and their expansion. In 2017, 8 million euros are available for the creation of environment- and climate-friendly power supply systems. About 7,000 households will take advantage of this funding when setting up photovoltaic systems. Clever energy savers who quickly decide on a PV system will now benefit in many ways: Support from the Climate and Energy Fund, a VERBUND sun discount amounting to 500 euros, a convenient complete package, and customised tariffs.

For undecided homeowners, VERBUND is now finally bringing clarity on the topic of photovoltaics:

Myth 1: "Photovoltaics are too expensive"

"Photovoltaics are too expensive" is one of the most common beliefs. A PV system for a single-family home with average electricity consumption currently costs about 8,500 euros. An amount which is certainly affordable for many homeowners. And this especially in view of the fact that money put into a photovoltaics system is invested wisely and sustainably.

Myth 2: "Photovoltaic systems don't pay"

Of course it takes an initial investment. In exchange, the PV system does its part day by day for the electricity bill as soon as it is put into operation. The investment pays for itself within a period of about 10-13 years. The amortisation period depends on the how much of the self-generated solar energy is for self-consumption. Prosumers, as producers of electricity from solar energy are called, continue to profit from their investment in the energy future for many more years or even decades, and can rejoice in significantly lower electricity bills. And along the way they also make an important contribution to the environment.

Myth 3: "PV systems only produce electricity when the sun is shining"

Photovoltaic modules have attained a very high technological standard. Because the solar cells even produce electricity when the light is dim due to fog or clouds. This means that electricity is produced even on overcast days. The electricity yield is not as high as on days when the sun is shining brightly, but photovoltaic systems start generating as soon as the day starts.

Myth 4: "The output of PV modules diminishes constantly over time"

This is correct in principle, but the performance loss is extremely minimal. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems determined in a study that the average drop in performance is only 0.1 percent of the efficiency per year. Austria's oldest photovoltaic system in the high mountains is on the south slope of Loser Mountain at an altitude of 1,600 metres. When it was installed in 1988, it was just as an experiment. Today, almost 30 years later, the system is providing amazing field data on the life expectancy of PV systems. At about 10 percent, the system's yield loss due to age-related degradation is considerably lower than expected and demonstrably better than the common producer guarantees of 80 percent performance after 20 years.

Myth 5: "Installation of a photovoltaic system on the roof is difficult"

It has never been as easy as now to install a photovoltaic system. Within just a few hours, an installation crew has the PV system installed and ready for operation, regardless of the kind of roof.

VERBUND complete packages: simple, quick and budget-friendly

The innovative technology comes to your home as a complete package. Planning, installation, grant processing and start of operations – VERBUND customers get their personal house of the future easily and reliably from one source, and profit from convenient solutions and customised tariffs. The implementation partner for photovoltaics and storage systems is SOLAVOLTA, a subsidiary of VERBUND.

"With innovative solutions and convenient services, we are setting new standards and shaping the energy revolution. We are pacesetters for clean energy, more energy autonomy and a liveable future for the next generations", as Martin Wagner, Managing Director of VERBUND Solutions GmbH emphasises.

Gerlinde Gänsdorfer VERBUND Press Office

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