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What Is Solar PV And How It Works

Solar photovoltaic or solar PV systems use sun’s energy to generate electricity. This is very simple and you only need solar panels to generate energy and are very feasible economically.

Thin layer of semi-conducting material covered between a sheet of polymer resin and glass comprise of a solar panel. When these solar panels are exposed to sun, they get charged or energised and produce electricity.

Types of solar PV panels

There are three kinds of Solar PV Panels which consist of Silicon but prepared with different methods and cuts and have different efficiency

  1. Monocrystalline
  2. Polycrystalline (or multicrystalline)
  3. Hybrid and thin film (or amorphous silicon).

Monocrystalline cells have more efficiency but are costlier than polycrystalline cells. On the other hand Hybrid cells consist of crystalline cells of thin film cells and are known as HIT solar cells as well. This would make the panels more efficient but costlier. Amorphous silicon or thin film cells are cheaper and least efficient. This is the reason it is often used for residential projects.

Solar Tiles and Cost

Solar tiles and slates are used in the same way as overlapped structure just like ordinary roof tiles. Also, it would be more aesthetic instead of fitting solar panels but at the same time it would be more costlier. Solar tiles are economically less efficient when compared to solar PV panels.

Solar panel efficiency

Generally, more efficiency depends on cost and more efficient solar panel is more costly. Before you go and buy expensive panels, you must keep in mind the size of your roof. If you have a large space, then cheaper and less efficient panels would be ideal for the long run saving you a lot of money. But if you lack space, you should go for more efficient panels to maximize efficiency in the small space with lesser number of panels.

Solar panel modules and system

A solar PV System is composed of solar panels, isolator switches, a PV-generation meters, inverter and cables.

Points to be considered while installing a solar system:

  • The larger the number of panels on your roof, the more electricity you can generate but with a larger initial investment.
  • The PV panels produce direct current (DC) which has to be converted to alternating current (AC) which is safer for household use. An inverter can be used to convert the DC charge to AC charge.
  • Inverters are generally placed in loft. However the lifespan of an inverter is not the same as panels and replacing them could cost up to £1,000.
  • Isolator switches are used before and after the inverter for safety. Solar panel system comes with PV-generation meter which are installed inside your house. They help you with the real time reading of the amount of electricity being generated by the systems.

The PV-meters also measure the amount of electricity being consumed which can be used to calculate the Feed-in Tarrif payment. This is helpful in getting cash for the electricity generated by your system.

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