Solar PV Panels

Solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.

Benefits of Solar PV

  • Cut your electricity bills. Sunlight is free, so if you use your electricity wisely then the cost will be reduced.
  • Sell electricity back to the grid. If your system is producing more electricity than you need, you can sell the surplus back to the grid through your energy supplier.
  • Cut your carbon footprint. Solar electricity is green renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne and a half of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

How do solar panels (PV) cells work?

PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together.

Costs and Savings

A 4kWp system can generate around 3,800 kilowatt hours of electricity a year in the south of England – that’s the same amount of electricity as it takes to turn the London Eye 25 times. It is slightly less the further north you go. On average, homes with a PV system can see a reduction in electricity bills of around £65 per year.

How to get the most from your solar PV panels

You do not need to do anything to turn the PV system on; it will automatically start working as soon as there is enough daylight.

One way of making the most of your system is to use more of the electricity it generates at home rather than exporting it back to the grid. Financially this makes sense because electricity bought from your electricity supplier costs more than what you get back from them for exporting the electricity.

The best way to get the most out of the system and save the most on your electricity bill is to use the electricity the system is producing, as it is being produced. This means adjusting your behaviour so that you use appliances with a high energy demand such as washing machines, dishwashers, irons and vacuum cleaners when you are generating electricity. At the same time you can charge up devices such as laptops and mobile phones which run on batteries. For a PV system this is during the day when your PV system is generating more electricity. You can buy electrical appliances with a timer delay that will let your appliances start working without your needing to turn them on, if you are out during the day.

How do I know how much electricity is being produced?

In some properties there is a display meter showing how much energy is being generated and used in the property. If you don’t have one of these then your meter will display if the system is generating electricity and how much.

I don’t think my PV system is working.

If you suspect that the system isn’t working then please contact us immediately as you will not be getting the benefit of the electricity generation if it isn’t working.

If you need any help or advice with your PV system then please contact our customer support team on 01482 223783.