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Solar Panels

Solar panels have been around for sixty years and, with development ever increasing on the functionality of them, are seen as one of the future sources of alternative energy for businesses and households.

They are an active solar power meaning they harvest sunlight and actively convert it into energy. The panels are made up of solar cells, or photovoltaic cells, arranged in grid-like patterns which collect sunlight during the daytime and convert it into electricity or heat water.

What are solar panels made from?

Solar panels are traditionally made from crystalline silicon and gallium arsenide which is produced only for photovoltaic cells. However, there are now also types of panel made by depositing amorphous silicon alloy in a continuous roll-to-roll process. As a result, amorphous silicon solar cells are created which can be used in panels that are more durable, efficient and thinner than crystalline versions.

Solar water heating panels, also known as collectors, are made up of either evacuated glass tubes or flat plate collectors encasing metal tubing. These panels look very different to photovoltaic panels and can provide your household with the majority of its annual hot water requirements.

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels collect solar radiation from the sun and converts that energy into electricity. The solar cells within the panel function in a similar way to that of semiconductors – they utilize a large-area p-n junction diode. When the cells are exposed to sunlight the p-n junction diodes convert the energy from sunlight into usable energy.

The energy generated from photons hitting the surface of the solar panel knock electrons out of their orbit and releases them. The electric fields in the solar cells pull these free electrons in a directional current to the metal contacts in the solar cell which can generate electricity. So the more high quality solar cells in a panel, the more electrical output the solar panel can produce.

How much power do solar panels produce?

The efficiency of a solar panel, and the resulting energy it produces, is dependent on many climate, geographic and weather-related factors. Arid climates are ideal for solar panels, and they will produce more energy when exposed to direct sunlight in clear skies. But the power a solar panel can achieve and the power it delivers are two very different matters.

There are ways of working out how much power a solar panel could produce. If a panel is rated at, for example, 180W it will perform up to that level in the brightest sun light which would generate 1,000 watts per square metre. However, unless you live directly on the equator, your solar panel is not going to be subject to that much sunlight. The easiest way to work it out is finding out the number of ‘peak sun hours’ your location receives each day with a peak sun hour being one hour of 1,000 watts per square metre of sunlight. Once you’ve found this out you can multiply the watt rating of the solar panel by the number of peak sun hours of your location. Be aware that sun hours will vary by season with the lowest being in the winter.

What are the advantages of solar panels?

The primary advantage of solar panels is that they are a renewable energy source so there is no danger of depleting the reserves. It’s also non-polluting and causes no harm to the atmosphere. But what consumers will benefit from directly is the fact it’s a free energy source. And solar cells require very little maintenance as they are non-moving parts and can last a lifetime.

What are the disadvantages of solar panels?

Solar panels aren’t a cheap technology to purchase and have installers fit. But the savings incurred by having one implemented into your home will cover the cost of the collectors and fitting over time. And government grants are available to encourage you to fit renewable energy sources for your home.

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Latest Job requests posted in the United Kingdom

25 Sep

Abergavenny (NP7)

New Solar Thermal Installation

We about to build an extension and want to install solar thermal and underfloor heating. Also considering solar PV too.

24 Sep

New Malden (KT3)

New Solar PV Installation

New installation over one side of roof. Inverter in loft space. Possible coordination with roof renewal.

23 Sep

Swansea (SA3)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof: South. Pitched and tiled. No shading. No windows on the roof. Open to suggestions on size system. Replace within 1 month. Contact anytime.

23 Sep

York (YO24)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof is South facing. Pitched & tiled. No shading. no windows. Open to suggestion regarding system size. Install within 1 month. Contact anytime.

23 Sep

London (N18)

New Solar PV Installation

owned2

23 Sep

London (N18)

New Solar PV Installation

22 Sep

Margate (CT9)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof: Call anytime. Install

22 Sep

Belfast (BT14)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. South facing roof, pitched and tiled. No shading and no windows. Size system - open to advice. Work timescale ASAP. Contact anytime.

22 Sep

Warlingham (CR6)

New Solar PV Installation

Price for 6 panels and a price for 10 panels It is a new self build in the Forrest if you could give us a price that would be great

22 Sep

Shrewsbury (SY3)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV: South West. No shading. Advice on size of system. Timescale 1 month. Contact anytime.

22 Sep

Tonypandy (CF40)

New Solar Thermal Installation

Solar Thermal to Run U/F Heating /Hot Water in Winter and Hot Water in Summer. Combi Boiler In House only 3 years old

22 Sep

Broxburn (EH52)

New Solar PV Installation

I have a 4 bedroom house and would like to see if solar panels would be efficient on my property.

21 Sep

Haverfordwest (SA62)

New Solar PV Installation

Supply and fit of a solar pv installation. Roof isS/W facing. Pitched & slate. No shading. No windows. Open to suggestions regarding system size. Property is(...)

21 Sep

Newcastle upon Tyne (NE6)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. South facing roof, pitched and slate tiled. No shading and has one window. Size system - open to advise. Work timescale within 3 months. Contact(...)

21 Sep

Ely (CB6)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

You installed our solar panels on 23rd June 2011 and they continue to work satisfactorily. We have been told that we can increase the output of our solar panels(...)

20 Sep

Cleethorpes (DN35)

New Solar PV Installation

solar panels electricity

20 Sep

Leeds (LS25)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

Remove existing solar pv and thermal and replace after roof repairs. Scaffold provided by roofing contractor

20 Sep

Sheffield (S6)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV: South East facing. Pitched & Tiled. Dormer Window potentially shading. Contact anytime.

19 Sep

Preston (PR2)

New Solar PV Installation

Supply and fit of a new Solar pv installation. Roof is sw/se facing. Pitched & slate. No shading. 2 velox windows on rear facing roof. Open to suggestions(...)

19 Sep

Birmingham (B42)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV: Unsure which Roof faces Pitched & tiled. No shading, Timescale within 1 month. Contact anytime.

19 Sep

Stafford (ST19)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar HW System

Circulating pump need replacing. Otherwise in good order. Details of present pump are available.

19 Sep

Merthyr Tydfil (CF48)

New Solar PV Installation

Supply and fit of Solar PV with battery. Roof facing s/e. Pitched and tiled. No shading. No windows. 4kw system required. Install within 1 month. Contact(...)

19 Sep

Hexham (NE48)

New Solar PV Installation

roof installation to s-facing roof

19 Sep

Hounslow (TW4)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. Unsure on the direction of the roof, pitched and tiled. No shading and no windows. Size system - open to advise. Work timescale within 5 months.(...)

18 Sep

Oswestry (SY11)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

16 panels installed on the roof already. Customer requires a quote to fit a new inverter to optimize the use of the 16 panels. Upgrade: within 3 months (...)

17 Sep

Grays (RM16)

New Solar PV Installation

3 bed linked detached. Roof: not sure on direction. Pitched and tiled. No windows. No shading. Call anytime. Install within 1 year

16 Sep

Ipswich (IP1)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar HW System

I have an existing thermal solar system which has overheated. I have been advised that the panels and pumping station need to be replaced. Interested to see if(...)

16 Sep

Gravesend (DA12)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

Repair of a solar pv system.

16 Sep

Londonderry (BT47)

New Solar PV Installation

S/E facing roof. Pitched and congregated tin. Some shading. No windows. Open to suggestions regarding system size. Install ASAP. Contact anytime. **Solar(...)

16 Sep

Ammanford (SA18)

New Solar PV Installation

2 bed end terrace. Roof: South. Pitched and tiled. No windows. No shading. Call anytime. Install within 3 month