Solar photovoltaic technology in simple terms collects the sun’s free energy and transforms it into electricity that can be used in the home and diverted back into the national grid. The benefits are compelling – substantially lower electricity bills in light of spiralling energy costs plus guaranteed earnings from the utility companies through the Government’s Feed in Tariff. Whats more it’s a great way of reducing your carbon footprint.
Solar PV is all about daylight, not heat. In fact if the panels get too hot they will actually lose efficiency so in effect the UK has the perfect climate for solar as we rarely get too hot and being in Northern Europe we get more hours of daylight than hotter areas in Southern Europe. Daylight causes the silicon in the panels to react which in turn produces electricity. This electricity is called Direct Current (D.C.) but cannot be used in our home's or businesses as the voltage is not regulated.
The DC power is then funneled through an inverter which changes the power to Alternating Current (A.C.), which we can use for our light switches and wall sockets. When the power leaves the inverter as A.C. it then passes through a generation meter which logs how many kilowatt hours of energy your system produces (your generation tariff is paid on this figure) before it reaches your consumer unit (fuse box) and is ready for use. If energy is not used, it is automatically exported to the national grid.
As you will be consuming your own free renewable energy, this means that you don’t have to buy it from your supplier which will save you money. You will see a marked reduction in your electricity bill.
Clean Energy Cashback (also known as Feed In Tariffs), introduced on 1st April 2010, provide financial incentives for people and businesses to install electricity-generating technologies such as solar PV panels and wind turbines. It will do this by guaranteeing a minimum payment for the electricity generated as well as the electricity exported to the national grid.
This is dependent on the size and suitability of your roof and how much you wish to invest. Systems vary in size and costs range from around £5000 to £20,000.