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Solar Photovoltaic

  1. What is Solar Photovoltaic?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Panel Position?
  4. The benefits of PV?
  5. Grants Available?
  6. Solar PV Frequently Asked Questions.

Sol2o are Micro generation Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited and offer consultation, maintenance and installation of solar photovoltaic systems (PV).

These types of renewable energy systems are a great way for generating electricity and are eligible for the Feed in Tariff.

For a Photovoltaic evaluation or a complete energy performance assessment of your property call us now on 0800 2800 020 Or register with us.

What is Solar Photovoltaic?

Solar photovoltaic renewable energy systems capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting. photovoltaic cells are panels you can attach to your roof or walls. Each cell is made from one or two 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. photovoltaic cells come in a variety of shapes and colours, from grey "solar tiles" that look like roof tiles to panels and transparent cells that you can use on conservatories and glass.

How do solar photovoltaic systems work?

There are a wide variety of solar photovoltaic systems with variations in many system components. Drawing on our experience and expertise and using carefully selected products, Sol2o will always specify a high quality system tailored to meet your specific requirements. Fitting a solar photovoltaic system gives a building its very own roof top power station, and will reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

There are two primary types of solar PV systems dependent on how the outputs are used.

Standalone Systems:

These PV solutions are popular in remote areas, where connection to the national grid is expensive or impossible. To store any excess electricity rechargeable batteries are used. An inverter is then used to convert DC electricity to AC.

Grid Connected Systems:

Photovoltaic systems can also be connected to the grid. No battery storage is required, as any unused or excess electricity will be exported back to the grid and sold to your electricity supplier.

Most PV systems consist of two main components:

Solar Photovoltaic Panels

Also known as PV modules are the principle building blocks of a solar PV system. Panels contain a series of photovoltaic cells made from a semi conducting material and these convert light into electricity. To give a desired electrical power output a number of panels are connected together to form a PV array.

DC/AC Converter

This converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated by the panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that matches the buildings mains electrical grid supply. If the building is not grid connected the inverter is usually replaced with a battery bank to store the electricity generated.

Panel Position?

  • Pitched roofs- solar PV panels can either be mounted above the roof or integrated within the tiles.
  • Above roof- mounting systems, typically used when retro fitting rails are fixed over roof tiles and anchored to the structure beneath.
  • In roof- integrated mounting systems typically used on new build, the panels are fixed directly to the structure flush with the roof tiles.
  • Flat roofs- panels are mounted on pitched frames that are either fixed to the roof structure or ballasted.

The selection of PV panel type and mounting system will be based on factors such as:

  • Roof type
  • Desired aesthetics
  • New build or retrofit
  • Local planning issues
  • Budget
  • Local site conditions

The benefits of Photovoltaic Systems?

Reduce your Electricity Bills

The power produced by a solar PV system contributes directly to the electrical demand of the building and in most installations substitutes electricity that would otherwise have been drawn from the National Grid.

The amount of money you save will be dependent on the amount of electricity that you generate and how you use this electricity in the property. The Feed In tariff is a 'premium tariff' which means that generators will be paid the FIT rate (p/kWh) for their total generation but will be able to 'sell' any electricity they export back to the grid.

For more information on the FIT rates and other eligible technologies please click here

Reduce your impact on the Environment

The sun generates solar PV electricity so it is a clean fuel source. They don't produce atmospheric emissions that cause acid rain or greenhouse gasses. A typical PV system will save 450kg of CO2 per year for each 1KWp installed.

Sell surplus electricity back to the grid

If your PV system is producing more electricity than you require, the excess can be exported back onto the National Grid using an export meter.

Sell Renewable obligation certificates (ROC's)

Eligible sustainable generators, including consumers are awarded these digital certificates for every 1000kwh of electricity generated. Each certificate can be sold to electricity suppliers for up to £40, this equates to an additional 4p per KWh.

Grants Available?

Sol2o can offer advice on appropriate grants available to you and help you in the application process.

For more information on grants for the home's please click here

Solar PV Frequently Asked Questions.

Will they work in the UK and during the winter?

Yes, Solar panel suppliers have enhanced the efficiency of solar power systems to the extent that it is now a very viable option even in cloudier climates. The important thing to bear in mind is that solar power depends on the intensity of light not necessarily direct sunlight, so even when its overcast, your solar panels will be producing clean electricity to help power your property.

Does the system need batteries?

No, the system is connected to the national grid. In the night, when the cells are not generating energy, electricity is bought from the utility company in the normal way. Any excess electricity generated during the day, for example when you are at work, is sold back to the grid.

What happens if there is a power cut?

Photovoltaic systems for properties are entirely grid connected. If there is a power cut your system is automatically switched off. This is a safety measure designed to stop electricity leaking onto the national grid and protect individuals who may be working to restore the power supply.

What maintenance and cleaning do the systems need?

Solar PV systems are silent in operation, having no moving parts and require no maintenance. Most of the time rain will keep the modules clean. However a build up of dirt can affect system performance. The modules can be cleaned with either a hose or if possible, soapy water and a non-abrasive brush.

How long do Photovoltaic Systems last?

A photovoltaic system that is designed, installed and maintained well will operate for more than 20 years. The PV module, with no moving parts, has an expected lifetime exceeding 30 years.

How can the energy benefits of PV cells be maximised?

Orientation, shading and the temperature of the PV elements all impact on their output and must be considered at the design stage. Of course, the more energy efficient the building, the greater the overall benefit of the PV cells.

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