What is PV?
Photovoltaic, also known as PV are panels are used to generate electricity from the sun, not to be confused with solar water heating systems, the panels in question are normally referred to as solar panels.
Contrary to common belief, Solar PV’s do not necessarily use direct sunlight to function; some light is enough for the system to work. Therefore, investing in photovoltaics ensure electricity for building not only during long and sunny summer days but also during cloudy days like the winter months, that the pannels’ efficiency is directly proportional to the amount of light they receive, hence the stronger the sun, the better.
How does solar PV 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 in panels or modules that can either be mounted on your roof or on the ground.
The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That's the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles.
Solar PV needs little maintenance - you'll just need to keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don't begin to overshadow them. In the UK panels that are tilted at 15 degrees or more have the benefit of being cleaned by rainfall to ensure optimal performance. Debris is more likely to accumulate if you have ground mounted panels.
Once fitted, your installer should leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out from time to time to ensure everything is working properly. This should include details of the main inverter fault signals and key trouble-shooting guidance. Ideally your installer should demonstrate this to you at the point of handover. Keeping a close eye on your system and the amount of electricity it's generating (alongside the weather conditions) will familiarise you with what to expect and alert you to when something might be wrong.
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