What is solar PV and how does it work?
Solar PV is short for Solar Photovoltaic and these panels work by capturing the suns energy in photovoltaic cells and converting it in to electricity, which can operate electrical items in your home or business once coupled on with your electricity system.
There is a common misconception about solar PV, that it will not generate electricity when the sum does not shine but unlike solar thermal (hot water generation), solar pv only needs daylight to generate electricity although strong direct sunlight does generate more.
Solar PV cells are manufactured from a semi conducting material, in most cases silicon which produces an electrical field across each cell
What are the options and what are the benefits?
Whilst most solar PV comes in panels of cells, there are also solar tiles and slates, however these are significantly more expensive and are usually only used if your property is of an age or style or under restrictions that mean the technology needs to be sympathetic to the appearance of the building.
The instant benefit of a solar PV system is that you can generate a significant proportion, if not all of your properties electricity requirements for free and the average system will also save around two tonnes of carbon each year. The added benefit is that Solar PV is a renewable energy and therefore the government has put in place an incentive to encourage uptake of the technology. The Feed in Tariff (FiT) is available for both domestic and non-domestic properties and is a scheme through which the energy companies will pay you for any surplus electricity your property generates, based on meter readings per unit, which is measured in kWh. This payment is made to an agreed tariff which is set by the government and once agreed, the tariff is the minimum amount you will receive each year. It is paid for 20 years and is index linked. In order to qualify for the highest tariff you will need to submit a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)