Solar electric systems, also known as solar photovoltaic (PV), generate inexpensive, green electricity by converting sunlight into electrical power. This is done without any movement, noise, pollution or fuel.
Solar electricity is generated using PV cells, which are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon, enclosed in a glass or plastic casing. Groups of cells are anchored together in panels or modules that can be mounted on your roof. The stronger the sunlight, the more electricity produced. However, solar PV panels take energy from sunlight rather than temperature and can still generate a substantial amount of electricity on cloudier days.
The UK tends to have a reliable number of average sunlight hours annually, meaning that the UK climate is perfect for the use of solar PV panels. In full sunlight, the cells’ strength is measured in kWp (kilowatt peak). Solar PV panels take no more than a maximum of three days for installation and will usually be up and running within a few hours.
A solar PV system is roughly the size of two saloon cars per 1kW, so a 3kW system will need around 24 square metres of roof space.