Solar panels generate electricity using energy from the sun. Because the panels produce energy from the daylight and not sunlight they still produce energy on cloudy days. The direct current produced by the panels is converted by the inverter to alternating current, for use in the building. The electricity produced is either consumed directly by appliances in the building or if more power is generated than required, it is exported to the grid.
PV is short for photovoltaic, which comes from Latin: photo (meaning light) and voltaic (meaning energy).
PV cells convert radiation from the sun in to electricity. A typical PV cell consists of a wafer of semi-conducting material, usually silicon, manufactured with two electrically different layers. When sunlight hits the cell, it excites the electrons within the silicon, creating an electric field across the layers and causing a flow of electricity.
Solar PV works from daylight and not direct sunlight, but more power is produced on a sunny day as opposed to an overcast or cloudy one.
Shading is critical. Minor shading can result in significant loss of energy because the cell with the lowest illumination, determines the operating current of all the modules in the string in which it is connected. It is therefore important to avoid the panels facing in to shade from trees and buildings etc.
There are two distinct solar systems: Solar Thermal and Solar PV.
Solar thermal uses the heat of the sun to warm water which can be used directly in a bath or shower. Solar PV uses solar cells to convert solar heat energy in to electricity to power electrical appliances.
There are five main factors that will affect how much energy a PV system will generate:
Total size of the PV array
Latitude of the location and local light levels
Direction the panels face
Angle the panels are mounted
As an example, a south facing ground mounted 250kWp system based on a caravan site in North Wales would generate 260,400 kWh/year.
The prices of oil and other non-renewable sources of energy are on the increase. This trend will continue in to the future, getting more dramatic as shortages of supply increase.
PV roof systems fall under permitted development rights and so do not require planning permission. We will apply for planning permission on ground mounted systems on behalf of clients.
PV modules work best when installed at an angle of 30 to 40 degrees on south facing land or roofs. Modules can be installed at different angles on East or West facing roofs but will not produce as much power as an equivalent system on a South facing roof at an optimal angle. A site survey will determine the best option for you.
Absolutely. The major contributor to global warming is the emissions of carbon dioxide from power stations burning fossil fuels. This is changing our climate and causing more severe weather patterns around the whole planet. Every time we use our electricity we are contributing to this massive problem. Everyone needs to do their bit!
The use of fossil fuels has dramatic impacts on the local and global environment. The less dependent we become on utility giants and the global energy markets the closer we are to creating a more sustainable future.
By installing a solar PV system you are opting out of the fossil fuel world and becoming an independent supplier of clean green electricity for your own use and export to the grid.