Photovoltaic systems use cells, consisting of one or two layers of semi-conducting material, to convert solar radiation into electricity. The semi-conducting material is usually silicon. When the panels are producing power the energy generated by your solar system will feed back into your home. The appliances that you are using will therefore automatically be fed by this free electricity.
If the panels are producing more electricity than you are using, the surplus is simply exported to the National Grid through your normal electricity supply for others to use. If you need more electricity than the panels are producing, your home will take the extra that it needs from the National Grid as normal. You won’t notice a change in the way that your house is supplied energy.
To get the most out of the electricity that your panels produce, it’s best to use appliances like dishwashers and washing machines during the day to take advantage of the free electricity generated.
Electricity is created by Solar Photovoltaic systems in the following way:
- Light shines on the PV panels exciting the photovoltaic cells creating an electric field across the layers.
- The Direct Current (DC) that is created by the panels is transferred to the Inverter via electrical cables.
- The Inverter converts the DC electricity that is created by the panels into Alternating Current (AC) that can be used with your property and within the National Grid.
- The electricity that is generated by the Inverter is fed through a Generation Meter. The meter records exactly how much electricity the Solar PV system has generated since it was installed.
- From the meter the electricity is fed directly into the fuse board within your property.
- Any electricity that is created by the Solar PV system is used within your property automatically as required.
- Any excess electricity that is not required is automatically fed back into the Nation Grid.
Main system components of a Photovoltaic System
- Photovoltaic Panels/Modules - Modules comprise of a series of interconnected silicon photovoltaic cells. These are laminated between glass and a back-sheet and are held within a strong aluminium frame for rigidity and durability. The panels can be roof-mounted or ground-mounted in an array positioned to avoid shading. Solar panels come in different sizes and power ratings so are configured to deliver the best output for your system requirements.
- Inverter - The power generated by the photovoltaic panels is Direct Current (DC) which has to be converted to Alternating Current (AC) to operate your household appliances and for use in the National Grid. An 'Inverter' which is usually installed in the loft or along side your existing consumer unit or fuse board converts the DC current to AC current.
- Mounting System - A range of components are used to mount the solar PV panels to the roof of a property. Mounting systems are available for almost every roof type and material and are designed to withstand the harshest of weather conditions. Our mounting systems can also be colour-matched to match the solar panel frames. This helps to lessen the visual impact of the installation, particularly when specifying black anodised components.
- Generation Meter - The Generation Meter records every unit of electricity generated by a Solar PV system. This meter is read when providing your electricity supplier with readings required for Feed In Tariff and Export Tariff payments.
- Isolation Points - Isolators are fitted at points within the cabling of the system so the Solar PV system can be shut down safely should work be carried out on the system or on any other electrical circuit within your property at a later date.
- Monitoring Devices - There are a wide variety of monitoring and display units available that will show how your system is performing. These can be wall mounted or wireless and will show live power and total generation figures. You can also download your performance statistics to your computer to track the energy generated by your system.