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Solar PV – Pros & Cons of Solar Photovoltaic Systems

The term solar PV (photovoltaic) refers to an array of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity.

Photovoltaic research and development has been upped in recent years as the technology is considered a leading renewable consumer energy source.

In fact, reports claim photovoltaic production has doubled every two years since 2002 making it the world’s fastest-growing solar power and energy technology as a whole.

How do Solar PV systems work?

Solar PV systems work by converting light into electrical power. This is achieved using a thin layer of semi-conducting material, most commonly silicon, enclosed in a glass or plastic casing. These can range in size with small versions used on watches and calculators to a system of hundreds of square metres of solar PV panels linked up to make an array to power large buildings.

When exposed to sunlight the semi-conducting material causes electrons in the materials’ atoms to be knocked loose. The electrons that are knocked loose then flow through the material to produce an electric current known as a direct current (DC). The direct current is carried through wiring to an inverter which converts the current to alternating current (AC) so it can be connected to your property’s main electricity distribution board which either used within the home or fed back into the national grid.

Pros and Cons of Solar PV systems

Pros

  • You can benefit from the Governments feed-in tariff which pays a set rate per kWh of electricity generated and an additional rate for any exported back to the national grid.
  • The feed-in tariff is guaranteed by the Government for 20 years.
  • Panels designed for European countries generate power even on cloudy days, they simply need light to produce electricity.
  • Clean energy means you reduce your carbon emissions by up to 1 tonne per annum.
  • Producing your own power protects against rising energy prices.

Cons

  • A large area of unshaded south, south-west or south-east facing roof is required to maiximise payback. Smaller systems can be installed but payback will be longer.
  • Panels degrade over time by approximately 20% over 25 years, this however is taken into account in most reputable suppliers calculations.
  • It may be beneficial to replace the inverter after 10 years to optimise power generation, although this is not essential.

You can calculate potential earnings via our Solar PV Calculator or should you have any comments or questions about PV the please post them below.

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Latest Job requests posted in the United Kingdom

13 Feb

Birmingham (B9)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. unsure which way Roof faces. Large Tree shading the property. Pitched and tiled. Timescale within 3 months. Contact anytime.

13 Feb

Esher (KT10)

New Solar PV Installation

we would like to look at installing PV's on the roof.

12 Feb

Durham (DH6)

New Solar Thermal Installation

Solar Heating system

12 Feb

Cranbrook (TN18)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof facing E/S. Pitched and wooden tiles. No shading. No windows. Open to suggestions. Replace within 6 months. Contact anytime.

11 Feb

Huntingdon (PE26)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. South facing roof, pitched and tiled. No shading and no windows. Work timescale ASAP. Call anytime.

11 Feb

Clynderwen (SA66)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. Roof: South facing. Pitched and tiled . No shading . No windows on roof. Install ASAP. Contact anytime.

11 Feb

Liverpool (L4)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. Roof: South facing. Pitched and tiled. No shading . No windows on roof. Not sure on size . Install within 3 month. Contact daytime .

11 Feb

Luton (LU1)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof south facing. Pitched and tiled. No shading . No windows on roof. Open to advice of system size. Install within 6 months. Contact: working hours

11 Feb

Isle of Skye (IV47)

New Solar PV Installation

New build house, require solar panels as part of Building Warrant. Solar PV.Wanting panels on the ground. No shading Looking a 4 panels . Install within 1(...)

10 Feb

London (SE9)

New Solar PV Installation

4 bed terrace. Roof: Not sure of direction. Pitched and tiled. No windows. No shading. Call anytime. Install within 1 month

10 Feb

Luton (LU4)

New Solar PV Installation

South facing room. Pitched & tiled. No shading. No windows. Open to suggestion regarding system size. Install ASAP. Contact anytime.

10 Feb

Ruislip (HA4)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof: North. Pitched, tiled and slate. No shading. No windows on roof. Open to options re: system. Install ASAP. Contact anytime

10 Feb

Carmarthen (SA33)

New Solar PV Installation

South facing room . Pitched and slate. 2 Chimneys. no windows. Open to suggestions regarding system size. Install within 1 year. Contact anytime.

10 Feb

Bromley (BR2)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar HW System

Customer is looking for Solar thermal system maintenance, the system is approx 1 year old. Service: asap Contact: anytime.

10 Feb

Peterborough (PE1)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar HW System

Solar thermal hot water maintenance. Hot water is not working. System is approx 8 years old. Repair: asap Contact: anytime

09 Feb

Tonbridge (TN9)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

Need a refit of system due to cowboys.

09 Feb

Leicester (LE5)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof facing south west. Pitched roof, tiles. No shading. 1 window. 4.5 kw system required. Replace within 1 month. Contact anytime.

08 Feb

Woking (GU22)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

Hi I have been given a quote for some works on solar panels and would like to get a comparison quote. Please note I am not sure if they are for hot water or(...)

07 Feb

Bridgwater (TA6)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar HW System

Hi I have a solar thermal tube system - it's been installed for 3-4 years and requires servicing and performance checking. Thanks

07 Feb

Birmingham (B29)

New Solar PV Installation

solar panels

07 Feb

LOCHGILPHEAD (PA31)

New Solar PV Installation

this is a new build in Tayvialich and we require 4 X PV electric panels to gain our SAP result. please quote for supply and fit.

07 Feb

Ambleside (LA22)

New Solar PV Installation

Installation of domestic solar panels and associated wiring and equipment. Advise on solar thermal heating will be a secondary priority this year, also.

05 Feb

Prestonpans (EH32)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof direction not known. Chimney & 1 window. Open to suggestions regarding the system size. 8 X panels. Replace within 3 months. Contact after 1pm - before 8pm

05 Feb

London (E14)

New Solar PV Installation

50 Kw Total PV installation on two buildings including two G59 connections

05 Feb

Derby (DE65)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. Unsure on the direction of the roof, pitched, corrugated roof. No shading and a few windows. Work timescale within 1 year. Call anytime.

04 Feb

Bolton (BL2)

New Solar PV Installation

South & North Facing roof. Pitched and tiled. No shading. 2 x velox windows. Open to suggestions regarding system size. Replace within 1 year. Contact anytime.

04 Feb

Ashford (TN25)

New Solar PV Installation

Current PV system in place to install gadget off consumer unit. Contact anytime. Timescale ASAP.

04 Feb

Epsom (KT17)

New Solar PV Installation

Remove extg PV and install new PVs to existing slate roof

04 Feb

Bradford (BD13)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

removal of four panels and replace when repair to roof is finished scaffold will be all ready be erected

03 Feb

Peebles (EH45)

New Solar PV Installation

New build solar PV and other energy systems