Questions & answers
I'm not sure about installing panels
The photovoltaic system
On the ground
My solar panels are installed
Our partnership comes to an end
Skysun is a “third-party investor”… What does that mean?
A third-party investor is an entity that makes an investment for you from which you receive a certain benefit (in this case low-carbon energy at a low price). The third-party investor is remunerated through the sharing of the resources produced. Skysun invests by installing photovoltaic panels on your property, and is remunerated by making the electricity produced available to you at a fixed price lower than what you pay on the grid.
What’s in it for me?
It is cost-effective and ecological: you make big savings on your electricity bills. Moreover, by reducing your carbon emissions, you contribute to the ecological transition of the economy. We believe that offering a bright future for the children of your employees, shareholders and customers is of the utmost importance.
What do I have to pay? What are the costs?
No costs at all! Because Skysun finances and takes on the maintenance of the project, you can save money without any CAPEX / OPEX. During our partnership, there are no costs to be expected on your part. Skysun takes care of everything.
Afterwards, if you decide to become the owner of the photovoltaic system (we strongly advise you to do so), the maintenance costs will be at your expense.
How much money can I save?
As the solar potential and consumption differs greatly from one organisation to another, each case must be analysed with particular attention. Send us an electricity bill or your consumption report so we can calculate how much money you can actually save. This consultancy session is free of charge.
What are the different steps for installing photovoltaic panels with Skysun?
After first contact, we check that your roof, land, or car park is sufficiently exposed and suitable for development. If the conditions are met, we will come back to you with a contract and make sure that everything is clear. After signing the contract, the 10 Skysun Steps ensure that the project runs smoothly.
The 10 Skysun steps:
- We put you in contact with your project manager, who is your main contact person for project management and follow-up.
- We share and present your project platform: a web link where you can find all the technical, legal, and financial information about your Skysun project. On this page, you can follow the progress of the project and also have a view of the electricity production hour after hour.
- Grid study: we validate with the grid operator the possibility of adding one or more production units to the public grid.
- Stability study: our engineers analyse the strength of your roof to make sure that the weight of a photovoltaic system can be added.
- Visit with our installation team and setting of the construction date.
- Electrical acceptance of the system by an independent body: it checks if the installation has been carried out according to the existing national and European standards.
- The public electricity operator adapts your electricity meter. Don’t worry, no power cuts are necessary!
- Checking the electronic protection system. Once it has been configured, the public electricity operator comes to check that the decoupling device is working properly. This device is located in the electrical panel of the equipment. It allows the system to be cut off in the event of abnormal electricity production, making it impossible for your electrical system to be disturbed.
- After the last visit of the network manager, your photovoltaic system is switched on. On the way to years of green energy. Employ the sky, Embrace the sun. 🌿🔗🌍
- The administrative file is sent to the regional regulator.
Any regional support file is sent to the regulator. The start date of your Skysun contract is determined by the date of the visit by a representative of the organisation.
Is the estimate free?
You do not have to pay anything before signing the contract. As this is not a purchase, there is no quotation. We determine the solar potential of your project free of charge.
Who takes care of the administrative steps and costs?
You don’t have to do anything. Skysun takes care of the paperwork. (change of electricity meter, declaration of the installation to the competent authorities, etc.)
Who pays for the connection to the grid?
The connection costs are included in the Skysun service.
What happens in the case of co-ownership?
In the case of co-ownership, the request must be presented to the general assembly in order to avoid any problems. From then on, all solutions are possible. Note that a photovoltaic system is linked to one electricity meter.
Scenario 1: The co-ownership grants the right of installation to a single owner.
It is therefore connected to the individual electricity meter, which does not concern the other owners.
Scenario 2: Several owners wish to install panels on the roof of the building for their respective consumption.
In this case, it is necessary to check the availability of the surface of the whole roof and to make the connection to each individual electricity meter.
Scenario 3: The installation concerns the whole co-ownership, to cover the consumption of the building’s common areas.
The system is then connected to the shared electricity meter.
Is there any fire risk?
The risk of fire, although reduced, lies not in the panels and their system but in the connection of the park. Only authorised professionals such as our technicians can make such connections. The appropriate safety measures are standardised in an ISO 9001 certified guide. In addition, before switching on the system, an inspection according to the General Regulations on Electrical Installations (RGIE in French, AREI in Dutch) must be carried out by a certified body. However, to protect you against all risks, specific fire insurance for the photovoltaic system is taken out every year.
What happens to my electrical system?
A detailed study of your electrical system is carried out at our expense in order to ensure the compatibility of your system with a photovoltaic park. Either you have a suitable system and the project can start immediately (which is very likely), or the grid operator has to come and reinforce your electricity meter, all of this, at our expense.
Who certifies the electrical installation and its connection? What are the existing safety standards?
There are several bodies involved in the inspection of a photovoltaic installation. Through a visual examination and a series of tests, they guarantee compliance with the General Regulations on Electrical Installations (RGIE in French, AREI in Dutch).
What are the guarantees on the installation and the material?
Our contracts are signed for a period of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. This means in the long term! Skysun’s profit-making being closely linked to the amount of electricity produced is the best possible guarantee you could have. What’s good for you is good for us. On top of that, we guarantee to deliver 95% of the announced amount annually. In addition, the top brands of panels we use offer a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Where do the panels come from and who installs them?
The panels come from companies that are certified as “Tier One” by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This means that the panels are of the highest quality and that the company supplying them has a strong financial track record (long-term supplier guarantees). Our partners and suppliers are local companies offering a quality products installed by a skilled workforce. Given the length of our collaboration, we strongly focus on the security and reliability of our partnerships. We select our partners carefully by analysing the work carried out, the guarantees provided and the quality of the workforce employed.
Can I connect a battery to my solar panels?
Yes, definitely! If you wish to install a battery during the term of the contract, you simply need to notify Skysun of this addition. It is compulsory to use the services of a recognised and approved technician.
Is a building permit required?
Yes, it is mandatory. If your car park is existing and its paperwork is in order, this type of application is generally accepted as it does not change land use or rainfall. Skysun takes care of the application for you. If the application is rejected, there are no costs for you, as Skysun takes care of the steps taken up to that point.
What is the minimum surface area?
60 parking spaces.
Does this reduce the number of parking spaces?
No, it does not. A solar carport is similar in every way to a conventional carport. The number of parking spaces is therefore not affected.
Is the traffic flow/ accessibility of the car park affected?
Skysun strives to design solutions that do not affect traffic flow or easy parking. We make sure not to place columns on corners with a complex turning angle (e.g. when entering a parking spot). We choose with and for you the most efficient carport system according to your criteria and the orientation of the land.
Does it require maintenance?
Maintenance is essential in order to optimise the performance of the photovoltaic panels and to ensure their longevity. Skysun guarantees a minimum performance for its installations and takes care of this throughout the contract.
Is it possible to install charging stations for electric cars?
Yes, and that’s actually the idea. Depending on the size of the car park and the number of electric car spaces you wish to have, we can install charging points with 8 to 16 pistols that will allow as many cars to be charged at the same time.
Is the reflection of the panels uncomfortable?
No, it is not. The height and angle of inclination of the solar panels ensure that drivers are not bothered by the reflection of the panels. Besides, the glass of our panels is treated with an anti-reflective coating.
Is a building permit required?
If the installation is on the roof, no permit is required. However, the installation must be certified as a green energy producer by the competent regional body. Skysun takes care of the administrative procedures involved in the operation.
What is the minimum surface area?
The roof must be at least 200 m2. But this is not the only condition: the orientation, the roof structure, and the shading will also influence the eligibility of the roof. For example, a north-facing roof on a chicken coop in a dark courtyard will receive little or no sunlight. This is in contrast to a south-facing roof with no chimney or neighbors. The number of kWh produced will not be the same at all. Please note that a technical validation by our teams will be necessary.
What is the weight per square meter of the photovoltaic system? Is there a risk of overloading my roof? (in case of heavy snowfall for example)
One photovoltaic panel weighs about 20kg. That is +12kg per square meter. A stability study is carried out at our expense by an engineer in order to check that the structure can withstand this load in addition to the existing local loads like snow and wind. No water retention is required. In the vast majority of cases, the installation is possible because it is below the building’s load-bearing capacity.
Will the panels have an impact on the temperature inside the building?
A photovoltaic installation is never directly installed on the roof. A supporting structure is provided between the roof and the panel to allow for airflow. The installation does not affect the waterproofing or thermal insulation of your roof. During heat waves, however, the panels act as a shield and can reduce the heat in the building.
Is a building permit required?
Yes, the installation of photovoltaic panels on the ground requires a permit. Depending on the use of your land, one or more authorities have to be involved. Skysun takes care of the plans and the permit application at its own expense.
What is the minimum surface area?
The minimum surface area is 1 hectare.
Are there any foundations?
No, no permanent anchoring is required (no concrete foundations for example). The structures are fixed in the ground with self-drilling metal screws of about 80cm. The fixings leave no traces or waste once removed from the ground. They can and will be recycled.
Are your solar parks standard?
No, we are not satisfied with a “simple” solar park. We also find it important to protect biodiversity and regenerate the soil. This is why we plant hedges, shelters for local wildlife, around the edges of our solar parks. The beehives we place can boost pollination and be used to monitor our positive impact (Biomonitoring). Our solar parks therefore help to maintain green infrastructure in the countryside. We make every effort to ensure that our sites comply with the conditions of the Natagora “nature network”.
Is it compatible with agricultural activity?
Yes, absolutely. The installation of a photovoltaic park does not necessarily become a threat to agricultural land. It surely depends on how things are done. As a matter of fact, controlling cohabitation of agricultural activities with solar energy production – a practice known as “agri voltaics” – has many advantages:
- On land historically exploited for the biofuel industry, our projects aim to return and increase the food-providing function.
- Reduction of soil erosion/drying (shade & hedges).
- Income diversification for farmers.
- Source of funding for a transition to regenerative agriculture.
Skysun is working closely with farmers and landowners to establish a set of specifications for financing schemes to promote low-carbon agriculture and biodiversity.
Does this disrupt wildlife?
In most photovoltaic installations, it does. To avoid this, Skysun uses hedges instead of fences. This has the advantage of avoiding land fragmentation which can hinder the connectivity of habitats, essential for wildlife movement.
What impact on the landscape?
When we talk about sustainable development, we have to consider its three pillars: Ecological, Economic, and Social. This means minimising potential nuisances and consulting local residents to modify the project according to their comments before any application for a permit. We systematically work with a landscape architect in order to think about the site as a whole.
What impact will this have on access to land for young farmers and on land prices?
Skysun is aware of and concerned by the problem of access to land for farmers. That is why we are implementing the following measures:
- We only select land near factories or major roads (motorways, railways, power lines). The vast majority of land is therefore not concerned.
- We favour land used for biofuel production, in order to restore a food-providing function and to produce truly clean energy on these plots.
- In any case, we strive to maintain agricultural activity.
- Where possible and appropriate, land should be made available for a period of 30 years. This is of course not a farm lease, but it does provide a good degree of security over time.
Sheep in a photovoltaic park…?
Raising sheep under solar panels has several advantages. The advantage for Skysun is that it considerably reduces maintenance costs. By eating the grass, the sheep mow the lawn much more efficiently and ecologically than a lawnmower. They also help to regenerate the soil and maintain a food-providing agricultural activity on the land.
Placing beehives around Skysun’s facilities and planting wild vegetation is intended to fight the decline in pollinating insects. In addition, pollination can also increase the profitability of the surrounding fields.
What do I do in case of a problem or breakdown of the system?
Let us know! Guaranteed intervention within 72 hours (except in cases of force majeure).
How to read you electricity meter?
A GPRS transmitter is installed in order to monitor the production of the system hour after hour, which is a sign of its good functioning. You have access to these readings via your project platform and can even broadcast them on advertising screens using our API.
I have to make some repairs to my roof, how do I proceed?
The fastening systems are designed to allow the panels to be removed quickly. It is therefore very easy to remove them in order to make your repairs. Contact us, we will take care of the rest. Insurance is taken out to cover the costs of dismantling the installation, storing it, and Skysun’s loss of income due to the shutdown of the electricity production.
Who takes care of the maintenance of the photovoltaic system?
No maintenance is required on your part. A cleaning & control maintenance will be done at our expense periodically. If any anomaly should occur, a visit by a technician is to be expected. The date and time will be fixed as soon as possible at your convenience.
What happens if I sell my property or rent it out?
If you sell your property, the contract and all its benefits are transferred to the new owner. The equipment may also increase the value of your property.
What happens at the end of our partnership?
You have three options:
- We sell you the photovoltaic park on your roof for a symbolic euro. As we have a good knowledge of the park, we can keep on maintaining it for a fee to be agreed upon.
- You do not wish to manage the system but would like to continue our collaboration. We then make a new contract for a new period of time.
- You decide that you no longer wish to have panels on your roof. In this case we will dismantle and take over the entire equipment, at our expense of course.
What do I do when my photovoltaic system has reached its limits?
Recycle it, of course. Our equipment is 98% recyclable and produces electricity for at least the next 25 years. Since July 2016, the collective organisation PV CYCLE has been managing, collecting, and recycling used photovoltaic panels in Europe. We pay a fee at installation to ensure recycling at the end.