SOLAR ENERGY - Solar Photovoltaic

Solar Voltaic System

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels use the sun's energy to create electricity. The electricity generated is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) - 1kWh is enough to power a small refrigerator for 24 hours or provide microwaving energy for 20 meals.

It is important to note that solar PV requires only daylight, and not direct sunlight, to generate electricity.

The solar PV panels are normally roof-mounted (flat roof or pitched roof) on metal frames and then connected by cables into an inverter, which is positioned internally as near to the panels as possible. The inverter converts the Direct Current (DC) electricity produced from the panels to Alternating Current (AC) electricity - the same electricity that comes from the National Grid - and is either used within the property or sold back to the Energy Supplier.

* Please note, if your property does not connect to the National Grid, then you can operate a stand-alone 'Off-Grid' system with a battery back-up.

The solar PV panels themselves are either mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline; the mono-crystalline panels are produced from a pure single crystal silicone and have silicone cells of a dark appearance, almost black in colour. They are typically 16-17% efficient and produce a slightly higher output efficiency than their poly-crystalline counterparts. The poly-crystalline panels are produced from a multi-crystal silicone material, are typically 13-14% efficient and have a blue-grey marbled appearance.

Is my property suitable?

The South West of England enjoys the highest levels of solar energy (also known as radiant energy or radiation) in the UK. If you are resident in this region, you are ideally located therefore, to receive the full benefits a solar PV system can offer.

A solar PV system can be installed on any building with a structurally sound roof that faces within 90 degrees of south in each direction (i.e. between east and west), however south-facing is the ideal. Systems can also be wall or ground mounted, and the panels should be tilted ideally between 30-40 degrees. Ideally no other buildings or large trees will overshadow the system, as this will decrease the output of the system - a small amount of shadowing on the system will disproportionately decrease the output of the system, so shading issues are very important to consider at the site survey stage.

To discuss your solar PV requirements further, then please visit our showroom in Weston-Super-Mare or call now on 01934 622891.

To conclude, key benefits of a solar PV system include:

  • Earn a tax-free, index-linked income for the next 20 years (see Feed-In Tariffs page)
  • Reduce your electricity bills
  • Clean power source, i.e. no CO2 emissions thus helping reduce your carbon footprint and the effects of global warming
  • Improve your property's energy efficiency rating
  • Increase the value of your property
  • Increases your awareness of electricity use and encourages more energy efficient behaviour
  • Extremely low maintenance
  • Long lifetime (25 years or more)
  • Silent in operation

Energy Saving TrustCarbon Trust