High electricity prices and the urge to go green mean many in Norway are pondering whether it is worth getting solar panels.
Solar panels turn the sun’s rays into energy which can be sold to the power grid or used for your own home.
Figures from The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) show that solar power capacity in Norway has increased ten-fold since 2015. Despite this, the Scandinavian country still lags behind others.
“Nevertheless, estimated electricity production is less than 1/1000th of the electricity consumption in Norway. So why is this not even higher? Germany has managed to generate over 10 percent of the electricity they need from solar power by 2020,” Associate Professor Martin Møller Greve at the Department of Physics and Technology at UiB told public broadcaster NRK.
Below we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of solar energy in Norway.
How much does switching to solar energy cost?
Solar panels in Norway can cost between 40,000 and 130,000 kroner on average for a detached house. In comparison, solar cells cost between 2,500 and 3,000 kroner per square meter, and more design-friendly solar tiles cost between 3,500 and 4,000 kroner per square metre, according to home improvement site bolingsmart.no.
There is a subsidy scheme that can help cushion some of the cost too. The Enova subsidy will allow households to receive 26,500 kroner in support for powering themselves with solar cells and up to 7,500 kroner in grants to help with installation costs.
How long does it take for the panels to become profitable?
Bjørn Thorud, who works in the solar energy industry and has panels on his home, told NRK that it would take at least a decade to cover their costs.
“The repayment period is perhaps 10 to 15 years,” Thorud estimated.
Bollingsmart.no estimates the length of time to be higher at between 17-20 years.
The panels themselves have a lifespan of between 25 to 30 years.
However, they may pay for themselves in other ways. The installation of solar panels in other countries, such as Sweden and the US, increases the overall value of the house, Thorud noted.
“We see in those countries that the value of the home rises about as much as it costs to buy solar cells,” Thorud says.
There currently isn’t any research or evidence that suggests the panels have the same effect in Norway, however.
Location, location, location
According to Thorud, southern and eastern parts of the country are best for panels, but they are also a viable option in the north.
“We work on Svalbard, where there is weaker sun, but where the price of electricity is high. This makes it profitable,” the solar panel expert explained.
A lot also depends on your own house and its location.
“But we all have different houses. Some may be down in a valley and have a lot of shade, while others are on a peak and have a lot of light,” Thorud explained.