Solar Panels (PV) (Solar Photovoltaic Cells)

Solar PV Panels - Solar Photovoltaic Cells Photovoltaic cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting or sell back to the grid. These PV cells don’t need direct sunlight to work, they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day although generally the more sunlight the more electricity that can be generated.

By tilting a surface to an angle (of 30-60 degrees – the most efficient tilt angle can be calculated) the amount of solar energy collected is significantly increased so a typical UK house roof facing broadly south is an ideal place to fit the solar panels.

Solar PV panels are connected together in an array to generate more electricity. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be fitted around a roof to avoid roof lights or roof features and can be mounted on a variety of different types of roof surfaces and vertical facades. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles.

What are the benefits of solar PV cells?

  • They will reduce your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced. How much you save depends on how and when you use electricity – so it tsso ch you saver PV cost?is a good idea to use timers for washing machines etc so that they work during the day when your electricity is being generated.
  • You get paid for electricity you generate and earn money by selling surplus electricity to the grid: the government’s Feed-In Tariffs pay you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it.
  • Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is green and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of CO2 per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

If your system is eligible for the Feed-In Tariff scheme it could generate savings and income of around £670 per year – you will get paid for both the electricity you generate and use, and what you don’t use and export to the grid.

If you want an accredited solar PV installer to assess your home and help you choose the best setup to meet your needs call Steven Banks on 01462 636376

How does solar PV work?

PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can be mounted on your roof. The consequent physical reaction in the solar cells generates direct current, which can be converted to alternating current, depending on requirements.

The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That’s the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer.

 PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles.

A Typical Solar PV Set-up Diagram

How much does solar PV cost?

An average system is 3 kWp and will cost between £5000 and £10,000.

  • the more electricity the system can generate, the more it costs but the more it could save
  • larger systems are usually more cost-effective than smaller systems
  • panels built into a roof are more expensive than those that sit on top.

How long does it take to install Solar PV systems?

Installing a solar PV electricity generating system is carried out by qualified engineers and normally lasts between one to two days.

Disturbance is kept to a minimum with a large part of the work done on the roof and inside the loft.  Even the power supply is only broken for a few minutes whilst the new connections are made.

In most circumstances no planning permission is required.

What maintenance is required for Solar PV Systems

Little or no maintenance is required with a totally silent operation due to solid state technology and no moving parts.

Modern pv panels have a guaranteed operating life of 25 years and need little maintenance – the inverter is likely to need replacing some time during this period.

Just keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don’t begin to overshadow them. In the UK panels that are tilted at 15° or more are cleaned by rainfall. Debris is more likely to accumulate if you have ground mounted panels.

If necessary they can be cleaned with warm water and perhaps dishwashing liquid or similar. If the panels are difficult to reach there are a number of specialist window cleaning companies who will clean solar PV panels for you using a water fed pole system.

Your installer will leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out from time to time to ensure everything is working properly including details of the main inverter fault signals and key trouble-shooting guidance.

If you want an accredited solar PV installer to assess your home and help you choose the best setup to meet your needs call Steven Banks on 01462 636376