What is it?
Solar electricity systems capture the energy from the sun’s radiation and convert it into electricity. The greater the intensity of the light, the greater the flow of electricity, although Photovoltaic (PV) cells still produce power when the sun is hidden by clouds.
How does it work?
The cells in the photovoltaic (PV) panels convert solar radiation (suns rays) into electricity. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers, causing electricity to flow. Individual PV cells are connected together to form a module. Modules are then linked and sized to meet a particular electrical load (need). The result is a PV array.
Is it suitable?
Solar panels or individual solar tiles can be installed onto existing and new buildings, either on roofs or walls. You will need to ensure the roof/ wall is strong enough to take the weight of the panels.
To maximise hours of sun the building should be south facing or within 35 degrees of south, and there should be no shading from neighbouring buildings or trees.
The ideal roof pitch is approximately 35-40 degrees or less.
Find out from your Local Authority whether Building Regulations or Planning Permission is required, it is usually a permitted development if installed outside of a conservation area, below the roof line.
What are the benefits?
- Cut your bills: free use of the electricity generated during daylight. Therefore you will only need to buy your electricity from the Grid during the hours of darkness, or if the panel is not generating sufficient electricity to meet the needs your household needs.
- Receive payment for energy exported to the grid: Small scale generators of electricity (up to 5MW) can apply to a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) Licensee to receive payment for the electricity exported back to the National Grid. SEG Licensees offer different rates, therefore generators should shop around to find the best SEG rate. To see the current list of SEG Licensees click here.
- Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is a green renewable technology that can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.