Did you know that the sun’s rays produce up to 1000 watts of energy per m2? Solar Photovoltaic panels can harness this energy to provide your home or business with free, clean, quiet electricity. An average 4kW system can produce up to 3,500 kW of electricity per year, roughly equal to an average household’s energy usage, and save you up to £500. It can also reduce your Carbon Footprint by nearly 2 tonnes! Larger systems for other applications are equally as effective.
Llani Renewables have been installing Solar Photovoltaic systems since 2010.
How does it work?
Photovoltaic panels consist of a semiconductor module, normally silicone, encased between two metal grids, with a tempered glass front casing and a water-and-weatherproof backing. When photons of sunlight fall on the silicon, certain parts of the light are absorbed and electrons are released. Since hundreds of thousands of photons are incident on the silicon every second, hundreds of thousands of electrons are released, producing a DC current between the front and back metal grid. This passes through an inverter, converting it to AC, which allows it to be used in your home, or sold back to the grid. Normally a system will contain a number of panels placed together to form an array.
The more sunlight there is, the more photons are incident per m2, and the more electricity is produced. Solar PV panels rely on light, not UV radiation, and consequently they do not need direct sunlight to operate. Currently, the average efficiency of Solar PV panels is around 15%, although new technologies are being introduced all the time.
Solar PV systems have a lifespan of around 25 years and require little to no maintenance. The DC to AC inverter will need replacing during this lifespan, but other than that, Solar PV panels will provide you with free, quiet, clean electricity with a minimum of fuss.
Is my property suitable for Solar PV?
Ideal properties have a south-facing slope at an incline of between 15° and 60° (the optimum being 35°, due to the inclination of the sun in our climate) and are not shaded, since even having one panel shaded will significantly reduce the output of your panels.
Panels can be placed in a variety of places; on the roof of your house, on the roof of an adjacent building, or on a ground-mounted platform. If on a roof, the roof must be in good repair, since PV systems have a life of around 25 years and cannot easily be removed and replaced.
If you own a listed building or live on a conservation area or National Park, you may need to obtain planning permission. Check with your planning officer before application to avoid disappointment.
Feed In Tariff Explained
Not only will you save money with a Solar PV system by reducing the amount of electricity you draw from the grid, you can also earn an income by applying for the Feed In Tariff (FIT) payments.
The government will pay you for every kWh you produce, and will also pay you for exporting unused electricity back to the National Grid, for 20 years after the installation of the system. Rates are dependent on the power of your system, its location and the date of installation. See here for more information on Feed In Tariff rates.
Only customers with approved Solar PV systems fitted by MCS accredited installers are eligible to claim the FIT payments.
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