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Installing Solar Panels in Portugal

After you buy your home in Portugal, you might be interested in energetically renovating it, since this is not only more efficient, but also cheaper long-term, with various financial aids from the Portuguese government and European Union. One of the ways through which you can achieve this is Solar panels. Let’s understand them better.

Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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Before going ahead with energetic renovations and investing in solar panels, you should get informed about the different types of this equipment and figure out which one would work best for you. But first, get to know some advantages and disadvantages of solar panels with us.

What financial incentives for the installation of solar panels exist in Portugal?

Sustainable Buildings Support Program (PAE+S)

This program promotes state reimbursement for the purchase of solar panels. This contribution can go up to 85% with a maximum limit of €1,000 in the districts of Lisbon or Porto, or €1,100 in the rest of the country, for systems without batteries.

For systems with battery, the reimbursement can go up to 85% with a maximum limit of €3,000 in Lisbon or Porto; and €3,300 in the rest.

Efficiency Voucher

The Government provides an Efficiency Voucher, worth €1,300.00 + VAT, to help improve the energy conditions of buildings. To benefit from the Efficiency Voucher, you must be a beneficiary of the Social Electricity Tariff and the owner (and resident) of your own permanent home.

At the moment, applications for the last vouchers closed on 31.05.2023, but a new initiative is due to be implemented soon.

Casa Eficiente 2020

Casa Eficiente 2020 facilitates the granting of loans on favorable terms to people who want to carry out sustainable interventions in their properties, like installing solar panels.

VAT reduction

In 2022, the VAT applicable to the installation of solar panels in Portugal was reduced from 23% to 6%. In Madeira and the Azores, the applicable VAT rate is 5% and 4%, respectively.

photovoltaic panels portugal

Under what conditions does a solar panel system make sense?

A robust, asbestos-free roof covering and a roof surface that is as shadow-free as possible are essential requirements. For a PV system, a roof pitch of 30 degrees and a south-facing orientation are optimal. A solar system’s ability to produce power can be diminished by up to 10% by inclinations of less than 25 degrees or more than 60 degrees. For this reason, the surface orientation and sun radiation are quite important. An area of around 6 square meters is required to install around 1 kWp of system output.

How to calculate the size of the solar panel systems?

  • Determine the amount of power needed by estimating the power consumption of each “consumer” (in kilowatts) and their potential daily working time.
  • Watt peak: Next, determine the solar system’s output in kilowatts based on the amount needed
  • The battery size is calculated by multiplying the daily usage by the number of days that the power supply needs to be ensured (usually 1-2 days). 

What services are usually included when getting solar panels?

  • Handling of the legal process (Producer registration with DGEG, Technical documentation, Licensing of the plant with DGEG);
  • Programming/implementation of the monitoring system, testing, and training;
  • Technical support service within 60 days of installation;
  • Consultancy for government incentives (e.g. Support Program for More Sustainable Buildings);

What services are usually not included?

  • DGEG licensing fee(s) – Exempt for installed power under 30kW;
  • Bi-directional consumption meter (payable to E-REDES, if necessary)
  • GSM M2M card (for totalizing meter, if necessary);
  • Construction work besides the normal installation work (trenching, for example, if necessary);
  • It is the Customer’s responsibility to ensure an adequate Internet signal in terms of its intensity
    to ensure and enable the functionality of equipment for monitoring consumption and
    energy production;
  • Whenever there is a need to use more cable like UTP cable for communications/internet access or cable for installation, there is usually an upcharge per meter;

What guarantees are usually provided for a solar panel project?

  • Solar panels (12 years against manufacturing defects, 25 years with production >86%);
  • Inverters – 5 years;
  • Batteries – 10 years;
  • Other equipment – 2 years;

How long do you have to wait to start the installation?

  • The usual waiting period to start the installation: 6 to 10 weeks after signing a contract;
  • Usually 2 days of installation for the solar panels, converter, and battery;
  • There might be a delay in feeding your electricity to the network if your energy provider needs to change the meter;

How do you pay usually the installation company?

50% on award of contract and 50% on completion of the work.

Get a free quote and consultation for your engergetic renovations!

Improve the performance and efficiency of your property in Portugal with an energy renovation tailored to optimize power generation, air conditioning, heating, and insulation. Improve your home with a competent partner and experience a new level of energy efficiency! 

Different types of solar panels in Portugal

Monocrystalline

It is made up of a single crystal of ultra-pure silicon and is considerably more efficient than the others – between 15% and 25% more. So, strictly technically speaking, this is your best option. But, of course, monocrystalline panels are much more expensive. If you do have the means, though, their durability (estimated at more than 30 years) and efficiency can prove massively advantageous in the future.

Polycrystalline

This is the monocrystalline’s less successful younger sibling. Polycrystalline panels, as the name indicates, are made of multiple, less pure silicon crystals – like copper and iron. This results in an efficiency that is significantly lower than monocrystalline – at around 15%. Of course, this also makes it cheaper, which is a plus. However, the loss of efficiency and high sensitivity to high temperatures make polycrystalline less reliable.

Bifacial

As the name suggests, bifacial panels are made up of two cell faces. The upper one faces the sun directly, absorbing the light, while the lower one captures the indirect radiation that’s reflected by the area the panel occupies. This means that their efficiency depends directly on the reflective capacity of this said area. If this capacity is good, they can be highly efficient.

Thin Film

This type of panel is made up of very thin structures that can be set up on roof tiles, glass, and masonry. Their thinness makes them light and the fact that they are made of amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and/or gallium gives them flexibility, also. This option is, most of the time, chosen for aesthetic purposes and large-scale projects, due to its cheaper price point. However, their efficiency is lower (7-10%), since thin film panels have a much harder time during low temperature/low sunlight season. Plus, its lifespan is only around fifteen years.

Hybrid

The definite plus of this hybrid model is that it works as both a solar and thermal panel. During summer – at high temperatures and sunlight – this is the most efficient type of panel. Plus, it is also very durable and resistant. However, much like the monocrystalline solar panel, its efficiency makes it more expensive. Hybrid models are also rather recent, so they aren’t marketed as much as the other panels – yet. But, technically speaking, they are a great option. 

Solar thermal panels

These can’t be considered solar, since they are not made up of solar cells and only produce heat. There are three types of solar thermal panels:

  • Low-temperature collector – withstands temperatures of up to 50ºC and is used to provide energy and heat water;
  • Medium temperature collector – can withstand temperatures of up to 90ºC and minimizes heat loss;
  • High-temperature collector – has two covers over the converter, making it possible to operate at 150 ºC. It’s not common in homes. 

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