How Solar Energy Can Save You Money

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The FINANCIAL — Solar energy is gradually becoming popular in Georgia as more and more companies offer equipment for its installation.

 

However solar equipment will eventually pay for itself in two to five years depending on how much sun a particular location receives. At first glance this seems quite attractive, but the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia advises investing money in something else if one is looking for a quick and easy economic result.

There are two types of equipment for solar energy: solar collectors and solar panels. The first one is used for space heating and hot water. Meanwhile solar panels generate and supply electricity in commercial and residential applications.

“The price of a solar collector depends of the needs of the customer,” Zurab Mshvenieradze, Owner of Techenergo, told The FINANCIAL. “If a family of three uses a solar collector for 150 litres of water of 55 Celsius and heating for an apartment of 50 square meters daily, the cost of the equipment will be 2,200 USD.”

In total its price will come to about 3,000 USD. Techenergo offers solar collectors with two year guarantees. The guarantee for a solar panel is 20 years.

“The price of solar panels also varies depending on the types of panels and totals approximately 4 USD per 1 watt. The supply voltage could be permanent or variable up to 1,000 volts,” Mshvenieradze explained.

“Installing solar collectors will pay for itself in about two years in the event of average use which means 50 litres of 55 Celsius water per person. The equipment of solar panels will pay for itself in five years time in the event of using 200-300 Kilowatt/hour per month.”

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“In spite of the high cost of installation, solar energy is quite profitable and demand has increased since the utility bill for waste has been attached to the utility bill for electricity. The main demand is coming from the cities. But in reality solar energy is more profitable in the regions,” he stated.

The solar energy cost per Kilowatt/hour is about 0.40 USD according to international prices. One Kilowatt/hour of hydro electro energy is about 0.13 GEL in Georgia. The price difference is quite high, but after several years people will have free electricity in the case of solar energy.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia nowadays in Georgia solar energy collectors and panels are being installed in high mountainous regions including Tusheti, where hydro electro energy is not available. The first stage of this project has already been implemented and the second step will start in a short while. It is being funded by a grant.

“On the other hand people who have enough money to afford quite expensive equipment mainly install them in houses out of Tbilisi,” said Mariam Valishvili, First deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia. “Georgia isn’t ready for intensive use of solar energy. 3,000 USD is quite a significant amount of money for the majority of the Georgian population. Not many of them can afford it. In regards to solar energy development, the Government needs subsidies. This is almost impossible as our economy does not give us the possibility.”

“Here lies another problem. Solar energy equipment needs special care. Lots of users do not know about this and the equipment therefore experiences malfunctions frequently. So solar energy is associated with several problems and isn’t likely to be used intensively in Georgia in the near future. It comes down to additional comfort versus everyday needs,” Valishvili explained.

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“If people are planning to invest money in solar energy, I’d advise them to invest in something else based on their situation. On the other hand, investors who are going to make capital in such projects will only get this money back in about 50 years. Such projects are generally funded by grants, she added.

Solar energy is being implemented in high mountainous regions where hydro electro energy is not available. As a result solar energy is helping the development of eco tourism as well.

The annual amount of sunshine that Georgia receives is quite high. It mainly depends on cloud cover, which is normal. The duration of sunshine varies from 250 to 280 days in Georgia. This is 1,360-2,500 hours of sunshine. This rate is highest in the Shiraki Valley, Gardabani Plains, Lower Achara and high Caucasus mountains.

Annual total solar radiation per square meter is 1,250-1,800 Kilowatt-hour. This number is equivalent to 120 litres of diesel or 130 cube meters of natural gas.

If you plan to sell generated energy, you should apply to the Ministry of Energy and Natural resources of Georgia in order to get a license.

 

 

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