Solar / Photovoltaic
How PhotoVoltaic (PV) works.
PV cells convert sunlight into electricity by an energy conversion process. In most PV cells, photons (light energy) hit the cells, exciting electrons in the atoms of a semi-conducting material. Silicon is the most commonly used semi-conductor. The energized electrons result in the generation of an electrical voltage. In other words, electrons flow, producing direct current (DC) electricity.
Key components of PV systems.
PV systems are typically made of these key elements:
- PV modules, cables, and mounting or fixing hardware
- An inverter and controller
- Batteries, back-up generators, and other components in off-grid situations
- Special electricity meters, in the case of grid-connected systems
Is PV right for you?
PV panels work well in both rural and urban conditions. The best places to use PV is in places that get a lot of sunshine each year and where the sky is generally clear rather than cloudy.
PV works best in south-facing places with year-round sun. Panels are usually installed on roofs but can also be placed on facades, conservatory roofs, sun shades, garages or specially-built stands on the ground.
Make sure your site:
- Faces south (north-facing panels are for the southern hemisphere)
- Is free from shade and exposed to good sun all year
- Has enough space - a typical 1kW unit needs an area of around eight square metres
If you are designing a stand alone power system, you will probably need to combine your PV array with other generators - such as a small wind turbine, micro-hydro system, or a petroleum, diesel or biodiesel generator.
Contact us to find out how PhotoVoltaic (solar) energy can work for you.