Although under normal conditions it makes no economic or scientific sense to install solar panels way up here at 53° north latitude in somber northern Germany, generous subsidies make it risk-free. So either you jump through the hoop and take the money, or you pay through the nose.
I have to make a confession – our home, which is home to NoTricksZone, was outfitted with solar panels in late March.
Our home is ideally situated and so we decided to put 12 KW of rated capacity on our home. Our decision has nothing to do with the nonsense of “protecting the climate”. A customer of ours installs these systems on the side, and so I thought, what the heck. One hand washes the other. And like Dave Suzuki says: “Hey man, it’s for free!”
The entire system is financed by a low-interest loan and will start to pay back in about 10 years, using conservative figures. Without the subsidies, that period would be closer to 30, i.e. way beyond the lifetime of the panels.
There are lots of open issues, of course. What happens if the system has a problem and the manufacturer has gone bust, as many already have? In Germany there are hundreds of thousands of systems already installed. What about disposal and recycling of the panels 20 years down the road at the end of their lifetime? Our panels are from Sharp and current converter is from SMA.
Workmen preparing the roof.
The installation company is run by a real tinkerer, and he’s working on some ideas. The technology still has potential for improvement. Unfortunately the subsidies killed all the incentive to develop the technology. Development is expensive, and why do it if you can make money without it?
The installation is just about complete, and the power utility company will be hooking it up soon.
My apologies to German skeptic readers who now will have to pay for my expensive green electricity. 🙂