Solar PV cells are usually made from silicon, a semi-conducting material, which creates an electric field across the layers when the sun’s light shines on the cells. This is then converted into electricity which you can use in your home.
The PV cells don’t require direct sunlight in order to generate electricity so will still produce electricity on a cloudy day but the stronger the sun’s light is, the more electricity you’ll produce.
The benefits of Solar PV
- Cut your electricity bill: The sun’s energy is free, so once you’ve paid for your initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.
- Get paid for the electricity you generate: The Government operates a Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme which will currently pay you 21p per kWh of electricity you generate, even if you use it. Based on a 3 kWp system you could earn an annual income of around £670 if eligible.*
For more information on the government’s FIT scheme please view here Feed in Tariff.
*This is based on the proposed rate in the Government’s solar FITs review.
- Sell excess energy back to the grid: If you find your system generating more electricity than you use then you can sell the surplus back to the grid at a rate of 3.1p per kWh.
- Cut your carbon footprint: Solar electricity is a green, renewable energy and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions. You could cut your carbon emissions by up to 1 tonne a year based on a 3 kWp system.
- Little maintenance required: Solar PV panels have a life expectancy of 25 years and require very little maintenance. You’ll need to make sure they’re kept clean and that nearby trees don’t start to overshadow the panels since this will reduce the electricity you can generate. You may also need to replace the inverter at some point during this time period at a current cost of around £1,000.