What is Solar PV?
Photovoltaics (PV) is a method to generate electric power by using solar cells to capture energy from the sun and convert it into a flow of electrons. This direct current (DC) is then converted into 240 volt alternating current (AC) suitable for household appliances and feeding into the Grid.
Solar PV is a clean, sustainable energy source. Once installed, the system operates without generating pollution and produces no greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar PV explained
Solar PV cells are grouped together to form panels that can be attached to a roof or walls. Each cell is made from one or two layers of semiconducting 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.
The power of a PV cell is measured in kWp. This is the rate at which energy is generated at its peak, i.e. running at full power at noon in the height of summer.
- Solar Panels: The sun's energy is captured by the solar panels and converted into direct current electricity.
- Inverter: The inverter converts the Direct Current into 240 volt alternating current (AC) suitable for household appliances and feeding into the Grid.
- Generation Meter: The generation meter records everything produced by the solar PV system (this is used for your feed in tariff payment).
- Utility Meter: The utility meter measures the flow of electricity between the house and the electric utility company (when the solar system produces excess power, the meter spins backwards).
- Smart Meter: This is an optional meter that enables the monitoring of the PV system's energy creation and complete household consumption.
Benefits of solar PV
- Reduce your electricity bills: A solar PV system generates free electricity and when signed up to the Smart Export Guarantee you'll be paid for exporting excess electricity to the National Grid
- Solar electricity is clean: electricity generated by solar is a clean energy that doesn't release any harmful pollutants, including carbon dioxide
- Sustainable energy: The sun is a natural, unlimited source of energy and harnessing its immense power doesn't harm the environment or drain the earth's own natural resources
- Low maintenance: Solar PV systems are generally very reliable. They have no moving parts so require little maintenance and most solar panels have a 25-year warranty