Solar panels on a flat? It can be done
One of the first things that come to mind when you think of being self-sufficient in energy is a house with solar panels on the roof. But solar panels are also an option for those of us who live in flats, like Daniel. Although the installation was a bit more complex and expensive than initially anticipated, Daniel and his family have been enjoying clean, local energy since November 2021.
They decided to take this step partly because of high energy prices. They made inquiries, compared various options, and just four days later solar panels were mounted on to the pergola (vertical posts supporting cross-beams) above the balcony and put into operation.
A viable option
Daniel's power generation system was more expensive than initially anticipated because he had to purchase and install a pergola. Although from now on, the family will save on their electricity bill and hopefully the installation will be financially viable after about 7 or 8 years. The panels have a 25-year guarantee, so they will last for some time.
Not to mention the fact that they now enjoy energy without a carbon footprint arising from production or transport, something Daniel is very pleased about.
Do they generate enough energy?
In the winter months, when there is less sunlight, Daniel and his family can cover about 90% of the daily energy consumption of their home with self-generated energy. They have also installed batteries to compensate for the hours without sun. According to Daniel, in the summer months, they produce more energy than they need and are compensated for the excess.
In addition, the family has an electric car and plans to charge it in the summer with electricity they generate themselves.
For Daniel, it is an experience and a learning process. “It's a big change for us. For example, we now match the use of power-hungry appliances like the washing machine or dishwasher to the productive hours in terms of energy generation.”
What’s the next step for Daniel?
The next challenge for Daniel’s family is to optimise their energy consumption and inspire others to become self-efficient. Daniel explains that he was the first in his neighbourhood to own a 100% electric car, but now, three years later, some of his neighbours have also taken the plunge. “I think people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of these small changes," he says.
“In the past, an electric car or solar roof panels might have been seen as something for eccentrics, but it is becoming increasingly clear that not only are they more environmentally friendly, but they are also changes that fit in with a conscious lifestyle and, in the medium term, are beneficial to the family budget.”