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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

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

16 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.(...)