The development of solar energy, as well as the development of the entire renewable energy (RES) industry, has not yet had rapid growth in Russia and was not included in the strategic plans of the state. A regulatory framework is being developed to support RES, intended for private consumers. According to the most optimistic forecasts, state regulation will lead to the development of the industry and by 2020 the share of renewable energy can reach 2-3% in the total volume.

If you are thinking about switching to renewable energy in your own home, but do not feel that you have enough information about current developments in solar technology, this article is for you. Today, we outlined some of the basics of solar energy in homes and how this technology is used in Russia and the world.

The use of solar energy - how it works

Although the specificity of obtaining solar energy, perhaps, requires a little technical knowledge for some homeowners, the basic principles are simple and understandable. Standard solar panels — or photoelectric elements (PV), as they are called professionals - generate electric current, capturing photons from the sun. These photons then knock out electrons in the solar cells of the batteries, which produce an electric current. This current is transmitted over the wires that go to the inverter. The inverter converts this energy into alternating current and can be used throughout the house in various ways.

Types of Solar Panels

Today, there are many types of solar batteries on the market. While the vast majority of solar cells are made of silicon, nonmetallic semiconductors, which are used to create an electric current, there are several significant differences between different types of solar cells.

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are made of silicon, but they differ slightly in their design. Monocrystalline batteries consist of high-quality silicon and are the most energy efficient and more expensive polycrystalline PV panels for residential buildings. Polycrystalline panels are made of raw silicon, melted into molds. Since not pure silicon is used in this process, their production is cheaper than the production of monocrystalline panels, and the cost of buying for homeowners is lower.

String tape solar cells have the same basic composition as polycrystalline solar cells, but they are formed from thin silicon threads and therefore useless silicon than other traditional solar cells. This process is relatively complicated, therefore the price of ribbon string panels is higher than that of mono or polycrystalline cells.

Thin-film solar cells can be made from various photovoltaic materials, including silicon, copper, and cadmium. These panels are ideal for mass production but require a large surface area to ensure maximum efficiency, so they are not ideal for solar panels used in residential buildings. Thin-film solar modules account for only 7% of sales.

Among the developing technologies for the production of solar modules are photoelectric concentrators and organic solar modules.

In Russia, a new generation of solar panels was launched on the basis of domestic heterostructural technology. From most analogues , it is distinguished by the greatest efficiency in power generation: the average efficiency of cells is more than 22%. In addition, new modules work more effectively at high and low temperatures, which significantly expands the geography of their application.

Prospects for solar energy in 2018 at the legislative level in Russia

In Russia, it will soon be allowed to sell electricity to owners of alternative energy sources in private households. Corresponding amendments to the Law "On Electric Power" were developed by the Ministry of Energy, Izvestia writes in May 2018. According to the newspaper, the government is going to approve the document and submit it to the State Duma by the end of May 2018.

The local sales companies will buy electricity at an average price. Landmark will be the cost of energy from local large power plants. Owners of private homes in areas that do not have access to a single power grid in Russia or are not included in the price zones of the European part of the Russian Federation and the Urals with Siberia (for example, the Kaliningrad region and the Far East) will be allowed to sell at a regulated FAS tariff. Claim for a guaranteed purchase of energy will be able to install not more powerful than 15 kW.

It is not excluded that owners of windmills and solar panels in residential houses will also establish tax incentives. Their income from the sale of excess electricity in the amount of up to $2000 per year can be exempted from personal income tax. The relevant issue is being considered in the government.

The Insolation of Russian regions


Solar radiation, kW * h / m2
1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4 4,5 5 5,5

Карта инсоляции России

Figure from the Russian manufacturer of solar panels Hevel Solar Company

Choosing the right solar panels in a modern home

Before you decide to invest in solar panels for your home, you need to consider several factors. Will the solar battery be used only in the summer or all year round, will accumulate energy in the batteries or be used immediately, whether you have access to alternative sources of energy, for example, to the district network or not?

As discussed above, there is a relatively large variety of types of solar panels, so it is important that you discuss your personal energy and budget needs with a solar professional before making a final decision.

Your consultant will also be able to find the best angle, direction, and size necessary for your solar panels to reach their maximum output power. Generally speaking, a panel of 5 kilowatts will be suitable for most residential buildings.