Payback periods for photovoltaics integrated in nonbuilding structures

University essay from KTH/Byggteknik och design

Abstract: In order to provide Sweden and other countries across the globe with energy in a long-term and sustainable manner that accounts for our global environmental goals, we need to adopt more sources of renewable energy. Solar panels and other forms of solar power is one of these renewable energy sources that has a lot of potential and the technology has become increasingly more common in Sweden and other parts of the world in the latest decades. Everyone from private individuals to companies and authorities are increasingly making investments in the technology. With the help of our supervisors and after extensive literature studies we aim to increase the knowledge about solar panels and their economic aspects by calculating and presenting payback periods for solar panels implemented in nonbuilding structures. In conjunction with this we also aim to present a basic theoretical background about solar panels and their global impact to further the understanding of the technology even more. On behalf of, and in collaboration with Trafikverket we have examined the payback periods of four solar panel installations in connection to four of the authority´s nonbuilding structures. Three of these solar installations are applied on technical buildings that are scattered alongside the railway system across the country. The solar panels provide local electricity to the electrical components within the building. The fourth solar installation is connected to a road tunnel where it provides local electricity to the lights within the tunnel. The conducted calculations have resulted in a payback period for each respective solar installation measured in years based on various relevant factors that influence their energy production. Our hope is that this can clarify the economic aspects of the solar panels and be of help in potential future investments in solar power by Trafikverket. The conclusion is that the solar panel installation connected to the road tunnel has the shortest payback period by far and also has great potential to be economically lucrative by generating future revenue. The tree solar installations connected to the technical buildings each have a significantly longer payback period but are still expected to be paid back eventually. However they are not expected to generate a mentionable yield, if any.

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