Sep 18

What is Solar PV and why am I being told to act now?

What are Solar Panels?

Solar panels take advantage of a powerful yet free energy source – the sun. In a single hour, the sun transmits more energy to the earth’s surface than the world uses in a year.

Solar PV uses the energy from the sun to produce electricity, which you can then use in your home and/or export onto the grid.

PV cells are thin layers of semi-conducting material (usually silicon). Electrical charges are generated when the silicon is exposed to light, which can be conducted away as direct current. Multiple cells are connected together (usually behind glass) to form a panel.

Solar Panel Modules & System

A solar PV system is usually made of solar panels, an inverter, isolator switches, a PV generation meter and cables.

  • The more panels you can fit on your roof the more electricity you will produce
  • The electricity produced by the PV panels is direct current (DC). Before it can be used in the home it has to be converted to safer alternating current (AC), using a box called an inverter, often placed in the loft
  • For safety, isolator switches are also placed before and after the inverter
  • A PV generation meter is connected inside your home, in a visible location, so you can see a real-time display of how much electricity the system is generating. The meter also measures the amount of electricity exported to the grid, and this is used to calculate your Feed-in Tariff (FIT) payment – which provides cash in return for generating your own electricity
  • Finally, if you want to export excess electricity to the grid, there will be another cable to your consumer unit (fuse box)

Its time to act now, and here is why:

The government is proposing to cut the feed in tariff for small domestic solar PV installations by 87% from 1 January 2016. That means you will now only get 1.63p for electricity generated instead of 12.92p. So if you are considering getting solar PV panels, we recommend you get them now.