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Solar PV

Photovoltaic (PV) systems


PV systems make electricity from sunlight. This electricity can be use to power electrical items in your house or sold back to the grid if there is an excess.

PV  is the most commonly installed renewable in the UK. This is because:

  • Suitable for almost every roof
  • Great investment especially with government incentives
  • Long warranties on panels (typically 25 years on performance)
  • Minimal maintenance
  • No problems storing the electricity as sold back to grid
  • Very reliable as almost no moving parts


There are 4 main components in most solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

  1. The first is the solar power array which is a collection the solar power producing cells. This converts the suns energy into DC electricity.
  2. The second is the roof mounting structure consisting of aluminium or stainless steel components that are used to mount the solar power collector system onto the roof of the building. There are two major types; (1) roof integrated where the solar power panels replace the tile and become flush with the rest of the roof (2) on-top mounting where the solar power panels sit above existing roof tiles.
  3. A special solar power inverter is then required to convert the DC (direct current) electricity into AC (alternating current) electricity, which can be used by most home appliances or sold back to the grid.
  4. The final part is when the solar power collector system is linked to your fuse box and an electric meter so you can tell how much energy you have produced and how much unused energy you have sold back to the grid.


Solar Power Cells, Modules and Arrays

The basic PV building block is the photovoltaic panel. A PV panel converts energy from the sun directly into solar power. There are a range of solar panels available - Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Hybrid panels and with often options of silver or black back sheets and frames.

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.

In some remote areas, however, there may be no connection to the grid available making the use of batteries a necessity.