Harnessing free energy from the sun and converting it to electricity can sound too good to be true. Let's look at how this impressive technology works, and how it can reduce your carbon footprint as well as your rising energy bill.

How does Solar PV technology work?

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) is the term used to describe the technology capable of convertingsolar energy into electricity. The main component is a semi-conductor material (commonly silicon) which can be adapted to release electrons. Each PV cell is comprised of two layers of semi-conductors, one positively and one negatively charged. As the light from the sun shines on the semi-conductor the electric field between these two layers causes electricity to flow, the higher the light intensity, the higher the flow of electricity. Many of these cells are connected in series within the PV modules creating an electrical circuit, the consequent reaction in the solar cells generates direct current (DC). Passing through an Inverter, it is converted to alternating current (AC) before it reaches the generation meter to measure how much electricity has been produced. From here it's on to the consumer unit where it can be fed into the property for use or exported back to the mains grid via the electricity meter.

As the Solar PV modules have no moving parts, they operate in silence and require only minimal maintenance.

Although the system uses solar energy to generate electricity, it does not need bright sunlight in order to operate and can also generate power on a cloudy day. In fact, due to the way sunlight is reflected, a day with slight cloud could produce a higher energy yield than a completely clear day.

Location, location location

The location of the PV modules is very important in order to maximize the performance and energy yield from the system. The ideal site is south facing at an angle of between 30 and 40 degrees so that the array receives the maximum amount of irradiation possible. However, other orientations such as south east or south west can be viable with a relatively low drop in expected performance.

Shading

Shading is a crucial factor to consider when specifying a PV system and should be avoided wherever possible. If shade is unavoidable, we can split your system into two different arrays thus maintaining the output of the cells which aren't in the shaded section of the module. A site survey carried out by one of our trained installers will ensure that your system is specified and positioned for optimal performance. It is important to remember however that to achieve maximum efficiency, the whole PV array needs to be shade free. Please ask for further information regarding micro inverters and battery backup systems.