Is small-scale photovoltaics cost-effective?

Panele PV na dachu

Cost-effectiveness of a photovoltaic installation depends on its surface area (capacity) and utilisation, in other words, sun exposure of the place where the photovoltaic panels are installed.

What is the price of a photovoltaic panel?

As regards panels, costs are not only limited to the purchase of the devices themselves. Frequently it is necessary to reinforce the roof construction or build additional supporting structure for the panels. A prerequisite is exposure of the installation towards the Sun. In Poland this means directing the installation towards the south and setting it at a proper angle. Therefore, many buildings may not be suited for such installations as they do not have suitable roofs.

Additionally, it is necessary to install devices that will allow connecting the house source with the power network. Firstly, this is a power inverter, which converts direct current generated by the panels into alternating current in the network. In bigger projects one should consider purchasing a power warehouse – a large home battery that will store the energy surplus generated during the sunniest periods, so that it could be consumed in the evening or at night. Home batteries have been sold for several years now, but they are still a very expensive game.


Cost-effectiveness of a photovoltaic panel installation depends primarily on the time of operations and the prices of electricity provided by the metropolitan network, which we do not buy as we have it from our own source and the repurchase price which we get paid for selling the surplus we produce. The latter depends on the support system functioning in a given country. Assuming that the installation is operating with 100 per cent of its capacity, in Poland, the cost of a 3kWh installation is paid off after 12 years of useI)https://www.budujemydom.pl/kolektory-sloneczne/21218-czy-fotowoltaika-jest-oplacalna.

How to increase cost-effectiveness of photovoltaics

The basic tool for increasing cost-effectiveness of photovoltaics investments is the scale effect, i.e. building larger installations with greater capacity. Such sources no longer satisfy just the demand of the users but transmit the power surplus back to the network. The basic model supporting small installations in many countries offers the house owner a possibility to sell back the energy surplus at a guaranteed price, which is higher than the market rate. However, Poland has not implemented such a model. For his or her energy surplus the owner is granted only a discount for purchasing the same amount of power from the network.

Another argument for investing into photovoltaic panels may also be the development of electromobility. The possibility to charge an electric car with solar panels in practice would mean not only lower electricity bills, but also a significant reduction of car costs. With today’s trends, estimates indicate that cost-effectives of photovoltaics should be growing.

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