In 2006, Edgar Jäger attended a local presentation at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE). He listened to the company’s director, Eicke R. Weber, speak about rising electricity costs, along with the environmental devastation being caused by carbon pollution. It was the latter topic that struck a chord for Edgar Jäger, motivating him to make changes in his own life. ‘The best day to start with solar energy is always today,’ says Edgar Jäger. ‘So that’s exactly what I decided to do.’
Funding the shift to sustainable power
‘There were two goals I hoped to achieve with my solar-power installation,’ explains Edgar Jäger. ‘First and foremost, I wanted to do something good for the environment. This wasn’t about making a profit for me. But at the same time, I didn’t want to lose money. So, my second goal was to make my investment pay for itself.’
Edgar Jäger funded his installation using a bank loan. 12 years later, the loan is completely paid off. This is partly thanks to the support of the German government. It offers incentives to individuals taking real action to bring about a greener society. Similar incentive schemes are in place in many countries around the world.
‘You subtract the costs of your solar investment from your income and save on income tax,’ says Edgar Jäger. ‘I put all my savings straight back into the loan. That’s how I paid it off in only 12 years. People can choose not to do this, in which case it might take a few more years to break even. There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way, but for me, ensuring the solar-power system paid for itself was a priority.’
Getting set up with solar power
Edgar Jäger’s solar-power installation is no small thing. He has 54 solar panels on his spacious roof, facing south-east to capture the most sunlight—which is plentiful in Freiburg. Its southern location means it receives more hours of sun per year than any other region in Germany.
The sunlight collected by Edgar Jäger’s solar panels is converted into electricity via three photovoltaic (PV) inverters, supplied by Delta. ‘I had personal reasons for choosing Delta inverters,’ reveals Edgar Jäger. ‘I actually used to work there. From 1991–2005, I was responsible for production and spent time fulfilling my duties in Slovakia and Bangkok. This experience left me utterly convinced about the quality of Delta products. I knew the engineers personally, and I knew they worked to extremely high standards—German engineering is world famous for good reason.’
The idea of installing a solar-power system might seem daunting to an everyday person with little knowledge about electricity. But Edgar Jäger assures us no technical knowhow is necessary. ‘It’s very easy. You simply hire professionals, and they do the rest,’ he says. Edgar Jäger used two local contractors to get his installation up and running. One was responsible for installing the solar panels on the roof and the other took care of the electrical wiring.
‘Before I put in my own installation, I actually thought Delta mainly worked with big companies. But I’ve since discovered they are just as committed to helping individuals with residential installations.’Edgar Jäger
A system that looks after itself
One of the best aspects of Edgar Jäger’s solar-power set-up is that there’s no need to worry about regular maintenance and servicing. Thanks to the 45-degree angle of the roof, the panels don’t even require cleaning. It’s a set-and-forget situation.
‘Of course, any technology has the potential to break down, but this hasn’t been an issue for me,’ reports Edgar Jäger. ‘Just a worn-out cable here and there. The panels themselves and the Delta inverters have continued to work perfectly.’
Even if Edgar Jäger were to run into difficulties, Delta is always there. They work with a large network of partners to provide easily accessible maintenance services and support for solar-power installations. For everyone, not just ex-employees. ‘Before I put in my own installation, I actually thought Delta mainly worked with big companies,’ says Edgar Jäger. ‘But I’ve since discovered they are just as committed to helping individuals with residential installations.’
‘Just do it. I don’t know why you wouldn’t. The roof of your house is just sitting there, waiting to be utilised.Edgar Jäger
Basking in the sunny benefits
Now, just over a decade after beginning his solar-power journey, Edgar Jäger’s home produces three times the power it uses. ‘We generate about 9000 kWh per year, and we only use 3000 kWh. The generated power is sold to the government for 45 cents/kWh—a very advantageous feed-in tariff that was brought in 12 years ago—and the power we use is purchased for 28 cents/kWh. It certainly works out in our favor. However, the PV installation I chose was quite expensive at that time. It only works out if the materials used are high quality and will produce energy over many, many years—like the PV inverters from Delta,’ Edgar Jäger adds with a smile.
The German government also offers schemes for sustainable heating systems. But for now, Edgar Jäger is happy to sit back, relax and just enjoy the benefits of sustainable power. ‘To add something like floor heating now, I’d have to completely renovate my house,’ he says. ‘For people building new homes though, it’s definitely worth considering. There’s the possibility of using your own solar-power system to power the heating system (or heat pump), which is an interesting prospect.’
Edgar Jäger’s advice for anyone considering installing their own solar-power system? ‘Just do it. I don’t know why you wouldn’t. The roof of your house is just sitting there, waiting to be utilised. As my story shows, you can make this change without spending a cent of your own money. And, I must say, the satisfaction that comes from knowing you are doing something substantial to save our planet is priceless.’
Ready to reduce your own carbon footprint? Contact Delta to discuss the solar solutions available to you. Our experts will provide the guidance you need to get your own solar-power system up and running.