The production of electricity from solar panels is called Photovoltaics (or PV for short) and in the UK there is plenty of solar radiation available for both domestic and commercial applications.
How much solar energy do we receive?
The chart to the left shows that in the Northern England we receive an average of 1000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of energy per square meter of south facing roof per year and this will allow you to generate in the region of 800 – 850kWh worth of electricity per annum for every 1kWp of PV panels installed.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels
Solar PV panels convert sunlight directly into electricity without the need for any moving parts and produces no noise or emissions.
A PV cell is made up from 2 or more thin layers of semiconducting silicon which when exposed to light generates an DC electrical charge. The charge produced by a single cell is small so multiple cells are connected together to produce a larger, useful output – generally 12 or 24 volts. Multiple panels can be connected together to further increase the output.
The electrical output of a PV cell is dependent upon the intensity of the light to which it is exposed. So PV cells will tend to generate more electricity on bright days than when skies are overcast. However, photovoltaics do not need to be in direct sunlight to work, so even on overcast days a PV cell will be generating some electricity.
We supply and install the following MCS accredited panels – other makes can be sourced on request.
Ahead Renewable Energy
Ahead are a UK company providing panels designed specifically for the UK market.
All panels have a 10 year manufacturing warranty, a -0%/+5% output tolerance (i.e. all panels have an output of at least their rated value and up to 5% more), an output guarantee of at least 90% of their original output after 12 years and and 85% after 25 years (except Pro Gallium Range which is 90% after 25 years).
- The Power Pro Gallium Range AHM5G-200W
The ahead AHM5G-200W module is created from 72 (6x 12) individual 125 x 125 mm super efficient Gallium mono crystalline solar cells. These cells are designed to offer greater performance in UK conditions for longer …90% after 25 years!!
Download the AHM5G-200W panel datasheet (PDF document opens in new window)
- The Power Pro Black Range AHJ60M-245WBL
The ahead AHJ60M-245WBLmodule is created from 60 (6 x 10) individual 156 x 156 mm high efficiency mono crystalline solar cells. The three bus bar cell design reduces internal stress to the cell designed specifically to improve the overall efficiency of the panel.The black back sheet and 50mm black frame makes this is one of the most architecturally inspired panels on the global market.
Download the AHJ60M-245WBL panel datasheet (PDF document opens in new window)
- The Power Pro Black Range AHJ96M-250WBL
The ahead AHJ96M-250WBLmodule is created from 96 (8 x 12) individual 125 x 125 mm high efficiency mono crystalline solar cells. All modules in the ahead PowerPro Black range are designed for long life service, ease of installation and excellent resistance to hail impact, high winds and snow loading. The black back sheet and 50mm black frame makes this is one of the most architecturally inspired panels on the global market.
Download the AHJ96M-250WBL panel datasheet (PDF document opens in new window)
What can I do with my electricity?
There are several options here.
You can power DC equipment (garden lights, pond pumps etc) directly from the panels or store the electricity in a number of batteries for use later. See Off-Grid for further information.
Off Grid – This is where your PV panels store their output into a number of batteries which in turn is converted to AC electricity by an inverter ready for use via a consumer unit to lighting and socket circuits. As these systems are not connected to the national electricity grid they often have an associated backup generator in the event of there not being enough solar energy available to supply all the power requirements. See Off-Grid for further details. These systems are elegible for the Clean Energy Cash Back Scheme (also known as a feed-in tariff or FIT)
On Grid – With this option the DC electricity produced by the PV is immediately converted to AC via an inverter and is fed to your existing mains consumer unit. The inverter syncronises its output with the incoming mains allowing you to use your generated electricity in preference to grid generated power. If you are in the good position of producing more electricity than you are using then this electricity is ‘exported’ back to the national electricity grid and you will receive a payment for each kWh exported. See On-Grid for further details. These systems are elegible for the Clean Energy Cash Back Scheme (also known as a feed-in tariff or FIT)
How long will a system last?
The average lifetime of a PV panel is in excess of 25 years and require virtually no maintenance.
The other parts of a system have varied lifetimes for example batteries last between 2 & 15 years and inverters around 15 to 20 years.