Photovoltaic solar energy: the advantage of RE2020
The RE2020 regulation covers all new buildings designed for collective and individual housing, offices and educational establishments. These buildings must aim to be as energy self-sufficient as possible, particularly in terms of electricity. Photovoltaic solar energy is the most cost-effective solution for producing decarbonised, natural energy. Once installed, the solar panels can be used to heat the building and hot water, or to produce the electricity required for lighting and operating various household appliances.
The new RE2020 regulation
In the new RE2020 regulation, solar power is strongly encouraged to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, which emit considerable amounts of greenhouse gases. Photovoltaic solar technology produces its own energy. This complies with the requirements of the RE2020 regulations, which encourage positive energy buildings, also known as PEBs.
The new RE2020 regulation is based around climate change and rising temperatures. As the construction sector is responsible for high greenhouse gas emissions, it is now working to find environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions to reduce its carbon footprint. With the RE2020 regulation, using fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal or oil is now out of the question, because they are not environmentally friendly and they contribute to climate change. The use of renewable energy is becoming mandatory. This decision benefits the users of the buildings because they no longer have to pay energy bills. However, it also benefits the planet because the carbon footprint is minimal.
The new RE2020 regulation defines the bioclimatic needs of a new-build property, based on its heating, cooling and lighting requirements. The bioclimatic need (Bbio) indicator therefore strongly encourages the use of photovoltaic solar energy to provide heat and light from clean, decarbonised electricity. Ideally, every new building that follows the RE2020 standards should produce as much or more energy than it consumes.
How do photovoltaic panels work?
Photovoltaic panels work using the light emitted by the sun. Even when it's hidden behind the clouds, photovoltaic panels can capture the photons emitted by the sun's rays. As a result, photovoltaic solar energy remains a good solution for generating electricity regardless of where building is constructed, even in regions that have long periods of rain. They will be a little less efficient in these regions but are still of great value. To produce an equivalent amount of photovoltaic solar energy, panels must be south-facing and more of them will be required.
There are two types of photovoltaic panels:
- Monocrystalline photovoltaic panels that consist of a silicon block and offer an efficiency of 16% to 24%.
- Polycrystalline photovoltaic panels made from silicon crystals that provide an efficiency of 14% to 20%.
Silicon is a semiconductor material that transforms sunlight into photovoltaic solar energy. This current is direct. It is then converted to an alternating current by an inverter located in the structure of the photovoltaic panel, before being distributed to the domestic energy grid.
Are photovoltaic panels cost-effective?
Photovoltaic panels obviously come with a cost, but this is quickly offset. By generating the electricity needed for lighting, hot water and household appliances throughout a building, considerable savings can be made and the return on investment is significant.
If photovoltaic solar production exceeds requirements, the electricity can be sold to a supplier or stored in batteries for later use. Efficiency mainly depends on the surface area covered by the photovoltaic panels, the amount of sunshine and of course the quality of the materials used.
Solar thermal energy in the RE2020 regulation
Solar thermal energy fulfils the requirements of the RE2020 regulation which requires the generation of all or part of the energy needed for activities within a building. By fulfilling all the electricity requirements and since it only uses rays of light which are present even in cloudy weather, photovoltaic or solar thermal energy is eco-friendly. It's a free, limitless source of renewable energy.
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