Solar panel FAQs: Professional answers to your questions

If you don't ask, you don't know - or you can read our FAQ! First off, let's take a look at the subject of solar power. In a nutshell: Solar power makes sense both for your wallet and for the environment. But as always, the devil is in the detail. Find out more in this article.



Does it pay to invest in solar power installations?

Yes. Solar panels now cost only 5% of their cost 20 years ago. Of course, the return on investment has to be carefully considered in each individual case: It depends on the project, the location and the electricity company. Most of all though, solar panels give you that great feeling that comes with using renewable energy.

Do I need equity capital for the installation?

As a rule, yes. It depends on your financial situation and in particular on the loan-to-value ratio and affordability.

How long does a solar panel system last?

Solar cells are always sealed in a "glass sandwich" and glass lasts virtually forever. Hail damage can occur, but it is very rare (like with cars). What's more, they are covered by building insurance. However, the efficiency of the cells does decrease over time. You should expect a 10% drop in output after 10 years and 20% after 20 years. Based on current knowledge, the cells will remain functional for at least 30 to 35 years.

Is funding to install a solar panel system dealt with nationally or by canton? Can it also be used for second homes?

It can be used for all kinds of houses. It's quite variable, so it's worth finding out the details. Details can be found at and from the Building programmerun by the government and the cantons.

Can the energy produced be stored?

Yes, by using batteries. These are becoming more powerful and cheaper every year. Incidentally, the best battery of all is an electric car: You drive for "free" with the stored energy and you get a great feeling driving around using electricity from renewable energy sources.

How do ice storage systems work?

Ice storage systems make very efficient use of physics. When the state of matter changes from water to ice, the stored energy equates to a difference in water temperature of 80 °C. When the ice thaws into water, this energy is released again. The ice storage unit is part of the heating system and stores thermal energy. It normally works in conjunction with thermal solar panels. So it is not directly related to the solar power system. Batteries are needed to store the electricity.

How can multiple people benefit from a shared system?

Today, everyone can operate their own solar power plant with their own system. This model is known as peer to peer energy trading. Basically, you can sell your electricity to your neighbour. This requires a private meter and the tariff is regulated by the government and is within the range of approx. +/- 2 cents per kilowatt hour compared to the electricity company tariff.

The feed-in tariff from a private solar energy system is sometimes lower than if the electricity is purchased from an energy service provider. Why?

The break even feed-in tariff was scrapped because people want the electricity they produce themselves to be used primarily for their own homes and not necessarily to flow into the public grid. You can run the washing machine when the sun is shining and not at night like before with the cheaper low tariff. Use smart controls, water storage tanks, etc. which can also be used to run the heating during the day. Systems are developing fast and batteries are around 10% cheaper every year - a good option for storage for personal use.

Is the energy contribution from the electricity company taxable?

Yes, it is income. Installing the system, however, is partially or fully tax deductible.

When should an in-roof system be installed?

Mounting a solar panel system on old tiles is a mistake: The two elements will not have the same lifespan. “Dual function” is another important concept. It means that solar panels form the roof cladding and also produce electricity at the same time. Take the opportunity to better insulate the roof. By doing so, you will also reduce the demand for energy and improve comfort levels at the same time.

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