Unit 2, 16 Forest Road
Kingswood, Bristol
BS15 8EG
Tel: 0117 935 3047
Fax: 0117 960 3339
email: info@avonleaelectricalcontractors.co.uk

Photovoltaic (PV) - How it works

Did you know - Photovoltaic (PV) does not require direct sunlight only daylight to generate energy

Photovoltaic Technology

Photovoltaic systems use cells to convert solar radiation into electricity. The PV cell consists of one or two layers of semi conducting materials, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across layers, causing electricity to flow. The greater the intensity of the light the greater the flow of electricity.

PV systems generate no greenhouse gases, saving approximately 325kg of carbon dioxide emissions per year - adding up to about 8 tonnes over a system's lifetime - for each kilowatt peak (kWp - PV cells are referred to in terms of the amount of energy they generate in full sun light). PV arrays now come in a variety of shape and colours, ranging from grey 'solar tiles' that look like roof tiles, to panels and transparent cells that you can use on conservatories and glass to provide shading as well as generating electricity. As well as enabling you to generate free electricity they can provide an interesting alternative to conventional roof tiles!

Solar PV & Your Home
You can use PV systems for a building with a roof or wall that faces with 90 degrees of south, as no other building or large trees overshadow it. If the roof surface is in shadow for part of the day, the output of the system decreases. Solar PV installations should always be carried out by trained and experienced installers.

Cost & Maintenance
Prices for PV systems vary depending on the size of the system to be installed, type of PV cell used and the nature of the actual building on which the PV is mounted. The size of the system is determined by the amount of electricity required.

Grid connected systems in general require very little maintenance. Any maintenance necessary is generally limited to ensure that the panels are kept relatively clean and that shade created by trees has not become a problem. The wiring and components of the system should be checked periodically by a qualified technician.

Planning Considerations
In England, changes to permitted development rights for domestic renewable technologies means that most solar PV installations don't require planning permission, as long as they respect certain size criteria. Exceptions apply for installation on flat roofs, listed buildings and building in conservation areas and world heritage sites.

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