Solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) technology converts sunlight directly into electricity. This generated electricity can power your business, home or outbuildings.

Why install a PV system?

There are many reasons to install a PV system:

  • Under the new “Feed in Tariffs” from April 2010 the Government will GUARANTEE to pay you a premium amount for the electricity you generate – whether you use it or not!
  • An average PV system of 2kWp could produce as much as £721 in “income” from the Feed In Tariff and a further £250 in savings*
  • It is the most practical cost effective option for producing carbon-free electricity
  • Can easily integrated into the fabric of a building
  • Electricity can be supplied at the point of use
  • The system will run silently
  • Requires minimal maintenance or running costs can last over 30 years
  • PV systems are modular, and can be added to at any time
  • Produces no carbon emissions or pollution once installed
  • Can increase the value of your property

Factors to Consider

  • Inflation – this will increase the generation and export tariffs each year.
  • Electricity price increases – this will impact on your level of savings on your electricity bills. The higher electricity prices go, the greater your savings. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) forecasts this at 2.6% a year until 2030.
  • Cost of solar panels – the cost of solar panel installation has fallen swiftly since the launch of the FIT scheme.
  • Lost interest – Remember than the money that you make from the FIT can only be considered as ‘profits’ when you have recouped the amount that you have spent installing the solar panels.

What is Solar PV?

The process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the solar photovoltaic (PV) effect. Photovoltaic solar power cells convert sunlight directly into solar power (electricity).

PV solar power cells are made of semi-conducting materials similar to those used in computer chips. When sunlight is absorbed by these materials, solar energy releases energy from their atoms allowing the electrons to flow through the material to produce solar power (electricity).

It works during daylight hours – more electricity is produced when the sunshine is more intense and when it is striking the PV modules directly. However, the cells do not need to be in direct sunlight to work, so even on overcast days a PV cell will be generating some electricity.

Assumptions have been made that all electricity is used. Any electricity not used can be sold back to the national grid and will generate £0.03 per kWh on top of the Feed in Tariff. These figures are for installations up to 31 March 2012 and payments are guaranteed for 25 years.

These figures are aimed at domestic installations.  For more information about larger installations, please contact us.

The performance of solar PV systems is impossible to predict with certainty due to the variability in the amount of solar radiation (sunlight) from location to location and from year to year. This estimate is based upon the Government’s standard assessment procedure for energy rating of buildings (SAP) and is given as guidance only. It assumes an unshaded, south facing roof with a 30o pitch.

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Need some advice? Please call us on 01743 343403 or email info@e4environment.co.uk