Solar Photovoltaic Electricity

Generate electricity with no cost to the environment, or your pocket

Solar PV (photovoltaic) systems use the Sun’s radiation to produce electricity.

Solar PV collectors contain layers of cells made of a semi-conducting material, usually silicone. As sunlight hits these layers of cells an electric field is generated between them, converting solar radiation into a useful electric current.

The electricity produced is a direct current, so solar PV systems in the UK usually come with an inverter to convert it to an alternating current in order to run mains appliances.

Properties connected to the electricity grid can export excess electricity and import it when there is not enough sunlight to generate sufficient amounts of power. Off-grid properties can store excess electricity using storage batteries.

Advantages of solar PV electricity:

• These systems work throughout the year, not just in summer when sunlight is at its strongest, as long as the collectors are in direct sunlight.

• Sunlight is free and so is the electricity produced.

• You may be able to sell excess power back you your electricity provider. Contact your provider for more details.

• The production of photovoltaic electricity releases no harmful CO2 and is environmentally friendly.

Things to consider:

•Solar PV systems need direct sunlight to work, and need to be on a south facing roof. Solar PV collectors are not the same as solar thermal collectors, which work on solar energy rather than direct sunlight.

•You’ll need 3-4 square metres of roof space facing east to west through south and receives direct sunlight for the majority of the day. Two panels, one facing east and one west, though this will increase costs.

• You must ensure that your roof is strong enough to support the solar collectors. Photovoltaic roof tiles are also available.

• The cost requirements will vary depending on your energy uses and the size of your home. The average domestic system costs between £5,000 – £7,500 per kWp (kilowatt-peak – the peak output of a device in kilowatts), with a 2.5 kWp array being enough to cover half a typical UK household’s annual electricity usage.

• It is unlikely that you will require planning permission for solar collectors unless your property is a Listed Building or within a Conservation Area. Consult your local authority for details.

At James Hargreaves our industry accredited solar photovoltaic products can help you to cut your carbon footprint and generate your own electricity. Call us and arrange a meeting with our Renewable Energy Consultant today.


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