What is photovoltaics

Photovoltaics: What is important when planning a solar system

What is the EEG surcharge?

Everyone: r electricity consumer: in Germany pays one with the electricity price EEG levy. For Photovoltaic systems up to 30 kilowatts of power the EEG sees one De minimis limit in front. That means for the self-generated and self-consumed electricity no EEG surcharge to pay. In any case, this applies if you as the operator: Consume the solar power in the photovoltaic system yourself, for example as a family in your own single-family house.

As a system operator, you consume: in the solar power not yourself, but someone else, that counts as Power delivery and then the full EEG surcharge is due.

It looks different with Photovoltaic systems that have more than 30 kilowatts of power: Here you need one for the electricity you use yourself EEG surcharge reduced to 40 percent pay, even if electricity producers: in and electricity consumers: in are identical.

The high ofEEG surcharge is redefined every yearand published in October for the following year. For the year 2021, the full EEG surcharge is 6.5 cents and the reduced 2.6 cents per kilowatt hour. You have to pay the EEG surcharge to the network operator, who bills it annually together with the feed-in tariff. Here you can find an example of a billing.

What to look out for in PV systems with more than 10 kW

The Amount of remuneration that the network operator pays according to the EEG for the electricity fed into the network, depends on the system performance.

In the case of a system with an output of up to 10 kilowatts, the tariff rate per kilowatt hour is highest. The output portion between 10 and 40 kilowatts is remunerated a little lower. Example: You commission a photovoltaic system with 15 kilowatts in January 2021. Then you will receive 8.16 cents for the first 10 kilowatts and 7.93 cents per kilowatt hour for the remaining 5 kilowatts. For example, if you feed 9,000 kilowatt hours into the grid, 6,000 kilowatt hours will receive the higher and 3,000 kilowatt hours the lower remuneration.

The Federal Network Agency determines the amount of the feed-in tariff according to the EEG and publishes it. In the first year, the feed-in tariff applies from the month of commissioning until the end of the year and then for another 20 years.

Additional counter required

For a system up to 30 kilowatts, only the previous reference meter is replaced by a bidirectional meter. This measures both electricity consumption and excess feed-in from the photovoltaic system.

In order for the network operator to be able to bill the EEG surcharge for self-consumption in a system with more than 30 kilowatts, the amount of self-consumed solar power must also be determined. However, because self-consumption cannot be measured directly, the total electricity produced by the solar power system must be measured. A calibrated meter, the production meter, is required for this.

Larger systems make economic sense

Because of these differences, many sellers of photovoltaic systems make it easy for themselves and recommend consumers only install systems up to 10 kilowatts. In contrast, a study on behalf of the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia shows that it can also make economic sense for private households to buy a larger system.

The study showed, among other things, that larger PV systems cost less per kilowatt of system output than small ones. In addition, the operating costs of smaller and larger systems differ only slightly in the examined power range up to 20 kilowatts, which also makes solar power from larger systems cheaper. The greater the self-consumption of solar power or the more it increases due to future purchases such as an electric car or a heat pump, the more sensible a larger photovoltaic system is.

What kind of insurance do I need?

Solar power systems should at least be included in your home insurance so that they are covered against dangers such as storms, hail, lightning and fire. Special photovoltaic insurance can also be recommended for large and expensive systems or if you need a loan to finance it. Although this is more expensive than building insurance, it is sometimes included in the purchase price for the first one to three years when purchasing the system from the manufacturer or installer.

Do I get a warranty or guarantee for my photovoltaic system?

Depending on the installation situation, there is a statutory warranty period of two or five years for solar power systems, i.e. the Sellers must be liable for material defects during this time. The legal deadline is not clearly regulated in the case of doubt. Therefore, it is best to check before the end of the 2-year period whether the system is at its full capacity, has been installed without defects and is delivering the promised yields.

In addition, manufacturers offer voluntary guarantees for solar modules for 10 to more than 20 years. In order for such guarantees to really be of any use, manufacturers in Germany must be accessible. If the company no longer exists at some point or if the guarantee has to be claimed abroad, the benefit is minimal.

What should be done when the PV system is running?