- Solar PV
Solar PV Explained
Solar PV panels convert solar radiation into electricity. A PV cell, which a solar PV panel is made up of one or two layers of a semiconducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers causing electricity to flow.
► New builds
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► South facing properties
► Roof with a pitch of 25º to 40º
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PV cells are either classified as crystalline or thin film. An array of panels is known as a string. The number of strings used depends on roof space and the capacity of the inverter. Most inverters can handle 2 strings and the panels should be divided equally between both strings. The inverter must be placed as close to the panels as possible to avoid loss of efficiency.
PV systems are sized in kilowatt peak, which is a measure of their maximum output in test conditions. Ideal conditions are a south facing roof with a pitch of 25º to 40º with little to no shade. If your system is on a South-West or South-East facing roof, then performance drops by about 5%. On a east or west facing roof it drops by up to 10%.
PV panels should be sited away from trees or shaded areas. If any of the panels on a string are in the shade, only the panels after the shaded panel will generate to their maximum capacity, since every panel on a string is joined together.
The panels can be fitted both portrait and landscape or a combination of the two and are either fitted In Roof, On Roof or on a Flat Roof.
PV modules (panels) generate DC (Direct Current) electricity. Our National Grid cannot accept DC electricity so we need to convert it before we can use it. A DC isolator switch is used to shut off the supply of electricity from the panels into the house in the event that any work has to be carried out on the house’s electric supply. The Inverter (the brain of the system) converts the DC electricity into grid-ready AC (Alternating Current) electricity. Next in line is the AC Isolator switch, which is used to turn off all PV generated electricity entering the house’s main fuse board. After passing through the AC Isolator the AC electricity is then sent via an Ofgem meter (where you record how much electricity you have generated) to your fuse board where the connection to the grid is made.
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