Energy: operation, aid, profitability… All you need to know if you want to install solar panels

Energy: operation, aid, profitability… All you need to know if you want to install solar panels

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As the energy crisis does not seem to be about to end, more and more French people are betting on photovoltaics in order to achieve some energy savings. But between the different types of solar panels and their profitability, difficult to navigate. La Dépêche takes stock.

The photovoltaic sector is booming. According to a report by the think-tank Ember, an organization specializing in energy, 18 of the 27 EU member countries recorded solar production records this summer, in particular the Netherlands (23% of its electricity mix), the Germany (19%) and Spain (17%).

But while Emmanuel Macron last Monday called on the French to be “at the rendezvous of sobriety”, more and more households, anxious to amortize their energy bills, are having solar panels installed on the roof of their house. Are you thinking of making the leap yourself? We explain everything you need to know.

How do solar panels work?

Simply put, solar panels capture energy from the sun’s rays and convert it into electricity. There are two types of solar energy: thermal energy, which is used to supply a heating circuit and produce hot water, and photovoltaic energy, which is used to create electricity, and to power the lighting or various devices in your home.

Their principle is based on self-consumption: you consume the electricity you produce, and in a way become your own energy supplier. But it is also possible for you to inject part of the energy generated and even all of the production into the public electricity grid.

What is the electricity saving?

According to Engie data, photovoltaic electricity saves 200 to 600 euros per year. Even if this figure depends of course on the calibration of your panels, you can hope to amortize up to “20% of your energy consumption”, explains Aurian de Maupeou, co-founder of Selectra, a company specializing in the comparison of electricity offers.

What benefits?

If it is possible to resell its energy to EDF, the calculation is today “no longer really profitable”, warns Aurian de Maupeou. “It’s not very advantageous: when you consume your own energy, you pay 17.4 cents per kilowatt hour. If you sell it to EDF, it’s 10 cents per kilowatt hour. The calculation is quickly done”, continues the expert.

What help?

With these elements in mind, if you are thinking of taking the course yourself, know that you are certainly eligible for state aid. Indeed, because of the environmental benefit offered by photovoltaic self-consumption, various aids can be offered to you.

First, you can take advantage of a photovoltaic self-consumption bonus. To do this, you just need to install solar panels and consume your own electricity production. The amount of the bonus is decreasing, and varies according to the power of your installation. It can range from 80 euros per kilowatt peak (or kWp) for the most powerful installations to 380 €/kWp for the weakest.

Second, you can benefit from a reduced VAT rate. Indeed, “photovoltaic installations connected to the network with a power less than or equal to 3 kWp can benefit from a VAT rate of 10%”, can we read on the public service website.

How much does it cost to install them?

According to the Hellowatt site, which specializes in optimizing energy bills, it takes an investment of between 9,000 and 23,000 euros for any installation between 3 and 9 kWp. But this price can of course vary according to different factors, such as the power, the technology used or the brand. The geographical area in which you live is also essential, since it determines the level of sunshine from which the panels will be able to benefit.

Very concretely, for a medium-sized house (112 m2) located in metropolitan France, it is necessary to count “between 9000 and 12,000 euros”, explains Kévin, adviser at CR2P, supplier of solar energy equipment.

Finally, note that solar panels are generally profitable after 8 years. As for their lifespan, it varies around 30 years on average.

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