Solar PV systems use cells to convert sunlight into electricity. The PV cell consists of one or two layers of a semi conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers causing electricity to flow. The greater the intensity of the light, the greater the flow of electricity.
PV cells are referred to in terms of the amount of energy they generate in full sunlight; know as kilowatt peak or kWp.
The Solar Cell is the basic building block of Solar PV technology. Most people are familiar with PV Solar Cells that power calculators. These cells are wired together to form a module (PV Solar Panel).
The PV Modules gather solar energy in the form of sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter can convert this DC power into alternating current (AC power, which is the type of electricity used in your home).
PV Modules are joined together to form a PV Solar Panel system. Large PV systems can be integrated into buildings to generate electricity.
Storage of Energy
Photovoltaic PV systems can be designed to sell any surplus energy back to electricity grid rather than store the energy. This overcomes many of the shortcomings of using batteries; including high cost, storage, limited useful lifespan and environmentally unfriendly components.
Under the new “Feed in Tariffs” the Government will GUARANTEE to pay you a premium amount for the electricity you generate – whether you use it or not!
An average PV system of 3kWp could produce as much as £379 in “income” from the Feed in Tariffs and free electricity*
In some remote areas, however, there may be no connection to the grid available making the use of batteries a necessity.
*Assumes Feed in Tariffs of £0.0404 per kWh, electricity costs of £0.15 per kWh and half of the electricity used on-site. If electricity is sold back to the grid or energy company, it will generate £0.0503 per kWh on top of the Feed in Tariff.