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Solar Energy

  • Q1. What is the cost of installing a solar photovoltaic power generating system?
    A1. Generally speaking, installation costs for a solar photovoltaic power generating system (equipment) vary depending on system capacity, material used, installation method, and characteristics of the installation site (e.g., additional cabling costs). Current system price on the market is approximately NTD60,000 to 100,000/kWp.
  • Q2. What is the capacity of a solar photovoltaic power generating system that can be installed on a regular roof?
    A2.

    When using single chip or multi-chip modules, usually 10 square meters (three ping) are required for a one kWp solar photovoltaic system installed on a flat roof (must consider the front and back arrangement of the solar photovoltaic module ). If the roof is sloping, approximately 7 – 8 square meters are required. Modules with different conversion efficiency can affect the capacity of the system being installed. When installed in an area with the same space, a larger capacity system can be installed with high conversion efficiency modules.

    When evaluating the capacity of the system being installed on the roof, objects on the roof that can shade the module must be considered, such as walls, water tanks, building extensions, trees, and neighboring buildings. Avoid installing modules in shaded areas to avoid low system power generation.

  • Q3. Can using a higher conversion efficiency module produce more power compared with a system of the same capacity?
    A3.

    Module conversion efficiency refers to the power output and sunshine input under standard test conditions (sunlight strength multiplied by module area). This represents the power output of module per unit area.

    In systems with the same capacity, module conversion efficiency has no direct relation to system power generation. Systems that use modules with higher conversion efficiency will require less module installation space.

  • Q4. How much power can a solar photovoltaic power generation system produce annually?
    A4.

    Because northern, central, and southern Taiwan have different sunlight conditions, the same system will produce different amounts of power in each area. The following table was provided by the Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and shows the 2013 average power for subsidizing solar photovoltaic power generation systems in each county:

  • Q5. If I invest in a solar photovoltaic power generation system, how long before I can recover my investment?
    A5.

    Using Chiayi as an example, if a 350 kWp solar photovoltaic power generation system was setup in Chiayi, and each kWp costs 60,000 to set up, then a 350 kWp system will cost approximately 21 million. If the system produces 447,125 units of power annually (refer previous table), and the maximum wholesale price of renewable energy for the first phase is NTD6.0448/unit in 2014, you can recover your investment in approximately 7.8 years.

  • Q6. How long does it take to install a solar photovoltaic power generation system?
    A6.

    After the buyer and the system vendor signs the purchase contract, installation of a solar power generation system can be divided into actual installation and the application. Application includes the following procedures:

    1. Parallel connect review and opinion (various Taipower branches): confirm parallel connection points after parallel connection is complete. This is a reference for follow-up installation work.
    2. Approval record (Bureau of Energy): confirm and calculate overall domestic capacity and locations.
    3. Sign the power purchase and sales contract (various Taipower branches): ensure that the owner can power purchase rights.
    4. Installation work (owner): the owner will install or commission the installation to professionals.
    5. Complete parallel connection (various Taipower branches): system will start supplying power and record pricing.
    6. Equipment registry (Bureau of Energy): complete the power generation system process.
      Using a 10 kWp capacity system as an example, when system design and material preparation is complete, it will require approximately two weeks to finish system installation.
      However, the administrative work will require 1 – 2 months, depending on individual case and cooperation on the part of the vendor.
      Reminder: sites for installing a solar photovoltaic system require legal documentation such as housing use license, deed to the land, and the most recent proof of utility payment. To see related regulations, please refer to the following website:
      Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs http://www.moeaboe.gov.tw/ Office for Verification and Validation of Renewable Energy Generating Facilities http://www.revo.org.tw/
      Taiwan Power Company http://www.taipower.com.tw/
  • Q7. What is a parallel connect type solar photovoltaic power generation system?
    A7.

    The system is parallel connected to and operates with the utility power system. A solar photovoltaic power generation system that can supply power to a utility power system is called a parallel connect type solar photovoltaic power generation system. The output connection point of a parallel connect type system can be to the internal wiring of a residence or to the external cable of Taipower. This depends on use by the owner and on wholesale power requirements. The following figure illustrates solar photovoltaic power generation system output connection to an outside cable (produced power is completely on-sold).

  • Q8. If the general public wish to install a solar photovoltaic power generation system, where can they find information on system vendors?
    A8.

    The Bureau of Energy has promoted solar photovoltaic power generation systems and provides subsidies for the public, companies, schools, organizations, and foundations that wish to apply. This is for the purpose of cultivating vendor capabilities and experience. If the public wish to find reference information on system vendors, please contact relevant public associations such as the Taiwan Photovoltaic Industry Association or the Photovoltaic System Industry Society.

  • Q9. What is the Taipower wholesale purchase price for solar photovoltaic power generation?
    A9.

    To promote the installation of solar photovoltaic power generation systems, the Ministry of Economic Affairs will review the wholesale purchase price for various renewable energies based on Article 9 of the Renewable Energy Development Act. The Ministry of Economic Affairs guarantees the long-term purchase of renewable energy produced by the public and operators at a preferential fixed price. This also includes subsidies for equipment. This year’s (2015) wholesale solar photovoltaic purchase prices are listed below. For related information, please refer to the newest announcement regarding renewable energy wholesale purchase prices released by the Bureau of Energy. The website is /ECW/renewable/welcome/default.html

  • Q10. What is the usable life of solar photovoltaic power generation systems?
    A10.

    A solar photovoltaic power generation system includes solar photovoltaic module, DC connector box (including insulated switch and protective component) inverter, and AC power distribution panel (including AC breaker and protective component), along with piping and cabling. The module and inverter are two major system components and their quality, reliability, and usable life is linked to the performance and life of the power generation system. When installing a solar photovoltaic power generation system, please use certified module and inverter. Currently, module certification standards include IEC, UL, and CNS. Inverter certification standards include VDE, EN, IEEE and CNS (partial). Under normal use, the life of a module that has passed certification is approximately 20 years and the power generation quantity is still more than 80 % of the initial quantity. The life of a certified inverter is approximately 5 years or more.

  • Q11. Does solar photovoltaic power generation equipment produce noise or electromagnetic waves?
    A11.

    A solar photovoltaic power generation system does not produce noise when operating. The system’s main power component is the solar photovoltaic module and the inverter. Because the module outputs DC power, it does not have high frequency radiation problems.

    The function of the inverter is to convert DC power into AC power, and it must conform to international magnetic wave interference and compatibility specifications (such as EN 6 1000-6-2 and EN 61000-6-3) before it can be marketed. Thus, there is no concern of electromagnetic waves harming people.

  • Q12. What kinds of subsidies does the government’s promoted “Million Solar Rooftop Project” provide? How do I apply?
    A12.

    Currently, Taiwan has already implemented the Renewable Energy Development Act. Since the passing of the act, the government has used wholesale purchase of electricity to reward installation of renewable energy systems. The government has also provided subsidies for general solar power generation systems and equipment.

    The Bureau of Energy has strongly promoted the Million Solar Rooftop Project and has established Million Solar Rooftop Promotion Offices. The bureau has integrated relevant resources to provide assistance with removing obstacles, professional assistance, and comprehensive solutions for domestic operators, county and city governments, and users. The objective is to increase the speed of installation promotion. Equipment that is being promoted includes simplified overall installation procedures, relaxing bid-free qualifications, and integrating local governments, townships (townships and cities), and district offices in promoting community solar projects. Methods for introducing PV-ESCO, integrating financing and wholesale purchase mechanisms and introducing domestic system operators to building new operating models are also being promoted.

    Contact information for the office of Million Solar Rooftop Promotion Offices:

    Tel: 02-8772 886102-8772 8861

    Fax: 02-8772 886202-8772 8862

    Website:http://mrpv.org.tw/

  • Q13. Taipower guarantees purchasing for 20 years. But what about after 20 years?
    A13.

    The quantity of power generated by equipment will gradually decrease with time. In 20 years, the power generated is approximately 90% that of the initial power generation. There are two choices at this time:

    1. Continue contract with Taipower, sell power to Taipower, but the purchase time will change to 5 years per phase.
    2. Expand some equipment and use the generated power for private consumption. Using a 24 ping installation area as an example, the system can produce approximately 7.2 units of electricity. This is enough power for a one ton air conditioner for 7.2 hours. Usually air conditioning is used on hot days, and theoretically, solar power generation boards can generate power for 8 hours and produce 14.4 units of electricity. Calculating with current electricity price, NTD1,500 in electricity fees can be saved per month. As for electricity costs 20 years from now…that is unknown.
  • Q14. Will typhoons or earthquakes damage solar photovoltaic systems?
    A14.

    Typhoons and earthquakes have been considered during installation. Prior to installation, the structure must be certified by a structural engineer to be able to resist typical typhoons and earthquakes. When signing with Taipower, the contract has specifications for resisting natural disasters. Installation quality must be able to satisfy these specifications, so users do not have to worry about this point.

  • Q15. Does solar photovoltaic system equipment require maintenance?
    A15.

    Yes. If too much dust gathers on the surface of the solar photovoltaic board, the dust will affect power generation efficiency. When the power generation rate on the meter is not as expected, this can indirectly affect your income. Therefore, spray with water every other month and keep the surface clean. Or you can sign a maintenance contract with the system vendor to have a professional team do the maintenance.

  • Q16. Are there consumable costs? Many people on the internet say that batteries break easily?
    A16.

    Batteries are only required when solar power is for private use. If the electricity is sold to Taipower, the electricity will be sent to Taipower directly through the cable with no need for batteries. Therefore, you can consider the problem of batteries 20 years down the road.

    The only fixed cost is the rent for the power meter, which is approximately NTD900 a month. The meter is used to calculate how much power you are sending to Taipower.

  • Q17. The purchase price of the Bureau of Energy decreases annually. Will my income decrease as a result?
    A17.

    No. Purchase price is based on the published price at signing of the contract. Purchase price will be set for 20 years after the signing of the contract and not be affected by changes in published purchase price.

  • Q18. Is power calculation based on the user end output or Taipower end?
    A18.

    It is based on the user end output. That is, whatever the meter on the user end shows is how many units there are.


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