What is Solar PV?

Solar PV stands for Solar Photovoltaic. Simply put, photovoltaic solar panels harness the sun's energy and convert it into electrical power, which you can use in your home, workplace or building.

This electricity replaces the power that would have been purchased from your energy supplier, which would have been generated in conventional power stations running on gas, oil, coal or nuclear fuels. This will thereby reduce your energy costs and help the environment.

When it is very sunny, or when there is a low electricity demand in the building, the electricity production may be greater than is required or used. Modern Solar PV systems are designed to export any excess electricity back into the grid, earning additional revenue for the user.

Therefore a photovoltaic solar panel installation can benefit the owner in two key ways:

  1. Saving energy costs and reducing your carbon footprint: Electrical power generated via a photovoltaic system can be used in your building just like any other electrical power source. This means less reliance on electrical power generated from the national utilities and you can make significant savings from your annual electricity bill. Additionally, photovoltaic solar panels are based on a renewable energy source and have a lower overall carbon footprint than traditional electrical power generation.
  2. Earning money through the Clean Energy Cashback Scheme - Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs): This is a TAX FREE fee paid to the owner of a photovoltaic solar installation by the utility companies for all of the electricity generated by your system, whether it is fed back into the National Grid or used in your building. All photovoltaic solar panel installations that generate less than 5 megawatts of power qualify for the Feed-in-Tariff, which means most households and business properties in the UK. An additional tariff is then paid for the electricity that is exported back to the grid.
  3. Energy Security

Read more about the Feed-in-Tariff here >

What does a Solar PV system consist of?

A system consists of three elements:

  • An array of PV modules (panels that convert the energy of the sun into electricity)
  • An inverter (an electronic device that converts the electrical output of the solar array into AC so it can be fed into the mains)
  • Cables, display and switchgear (that connect the PV array to the inverter and the inverter to the property's mains supply)

How do Solar PV panels work?

Photovoltaic solar power is the conversion of the sun's energy into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) cells, which are contained within the solar panels.

You don't need direct sunlight for a Solar PV system to work - it will still generate some electricity even on a cloudy day.

Solar PV systems are practicable for most existing buildings and should be an important consideration for new build or renovation projects. Fitting Solar PV panels results in no loss of usable building space.

Solar PV panel performance

Savings: In addition to earning money from the Feed-in-Tariff and savings from buying less electricity, a typical solar PV system will save several tonnes of CO2 every year that would normally be emitted from a conventional power station.

Maintenance: There are no moving parts in a Solar PV panel and they are self-cleaning, assisted by the installed angle of most systems. Solar PV systems are very reliable; they also have a predictable performance (PV modules have a manufacturer's performance guarantee of over 25 years) and a considerably long life expectancy. PV systems are maintenance free, and therefore there is no need for any maintenance contracts.

System size: A typical PV system would start at around 2kWp (kWp = peak kilowatt output under standard test conditions), which would generate approximately 1500kWh (kWh = unit of electricity) a year. It will also save about 0.85 tonnes of CO2 annually. Over 25 years, a 2kWp system will generate over 36,000 kWh of electricity and save over 22 tonnes of CO2.

Note that the performance of a PV system can vary from location to location and is based on the following factors:

  • Angle of the roof or installation
  • Orientation of the property or building
  • Local shading issues

For more information on any 7 Energy product please call us on 01743 461452, send us an email or complete the form on our Contact Us page. We are always happy to help.