Why should I install solar panels when I can get them for free?
Free solar panel schemes are rarely the best option for a homeowner, both practically or financially. By renting out your roof, you are entering into a 25-year leasing contract with this company, which results in you missing out on thousands of pounds of FiTs income, as well as a a contract with small print that is not to the homeowner's advantage.
What is a solar PV module?
It is the technically correct term for a solar PV panel. Each module is made up of a number of PV cells which are connected together and sealed inside a weatherproof housing. Groups of modules in a solar photovoltaic system together are called an array. The number of modules in series or parallel determines the voltage and total output of the array.
Will solar panels produce electricity even when it's cloudy?
Yes. On a normal cloudy day there is enough diffuse light to produce electricity, although it is not as high as when the panels are placed in bright sunlight. The type of PV technology also has an impact on the amount of energy produced in different light conditions.
Will PV panels work in the winter?
Yes, solar panels work on light rather than heat, although there are less hours of sunlight in winter.
What size of PV panel do I need?
This depends on your particular need. You may want to produce just enough for an off-grid system, or generate as much as possible to take advantage of the Feed-in Tariffs. It also depends on the area you have available.
What is an inverter?
A solar PV inverter takes the DC (direct current) from the solar panel and creates a useable form of AC (Alternating current). Today most inverters come with in-built protection that enable you to connect directly to the grid. If you are powering a battery, you need a Charge controller.
Can equipment and appliances be used directly from solar panels?
Yes. Make sure the load is less than the output of the solar panel, as overcast or cloudy days will reduce the output. TVs or radios require a more stable voltage unless you have a battery as well.
Is maintenance required on Solar PV?
Solar PV systems are very easy to look after, and require little maintenance. Clean them using a non-abrasive cleaner as per the manufacturer's instructions. In the long-term check the sealing and reseal with a silicon sealant if damage is suspected.
How much energy will solar PV generate?
Solar photovoltaic systems are one of the easiest renewable technologies to maintain. The output of your system depends on:
· Angle of elevation
· Orientation (azimuth)
· Size of the array
· Shading of the panels
The amount of solar power hitting the planet is around 1300 W/m2. In the UK we can extract about 160W/m2depending on the conditions.
Do I need planning permission?
Generally no, although listed buildings and buildings within conservation areas may be restricted. The UK government has waived most requirements. See our planning permission page.
What is the lifespan of a PV module?
All our modules have a 10 year manufacturers guarantee and a 20 year performance warranty. The modules normally last for at least 30 years.
With a 20 year performance warranty the manufactures expect their panel to last 20 years and still produce at least 80% of their initial rated peak output, an average efficiency decrease of no more than 1% per year.
Globally, only a small proportion of all PV panels installed are older than 10 years. However, research and general thought is that whilst the PV panels will degrade over time, their performance will not be significantly affected.
How does solar PV connect to the grid?
Solar PV modules link together and connect to an inverter which converts the DC power into mains voltage compatible AC. Systems generating less than 3.6 kWp do not need permission from your electricity company to do this, but you must inform them afterwards. Larger installation require standard G59 connection agreements.
What does Wp mean in relation to PV?
Wp means peak Watts: A 120 Wp panel will generate a maximum of 120 W in peak conditions. Peak conditions are considered as 1 kW/m2 solar irradiation falling on the surface.
What does a PV system comprise of?
A grid connected PV system consists of the following main components:
· PV generator (array
· DC Isolator switch
· DC cabling
· Solar PV Inverter
· AC cabling
· AC isolator switch
· kWh meter
What is a stand-alone or off-grid PV system?
Stand-alone systems are not connected to the main electricity grid. They require energy storage to bridge the time gap between production of energy and the energy requirement. Batteries are usually used for energy storage and require a suitable charging regulator for protection. A typical "off-grid" system consists of:
· PV generator (PV array)
· Charge controller
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