Solar panels (PV)
Generate cheap, green electricity from sunlight
Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.
The benefits of solar electricity
- Cut your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.
- Get paid for the electricity you generate: the government’s Feed-In Tariffs pay you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it.
- Sell electricity back to the grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you can sell the surplus back to the grid.
- Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is green, renewables energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.
Solar PV needs little maintenance – you’ll just need to keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don’t begin to overshadow them. In the UK panels that are tilted at 15° or more have the additional benefit of being cleaned by rainfall to ensure optimal performance. Debris is more likely to accumulate if you have ground mounted panels.If dust, debris, snow or bird droppings are a problem they should be removed with warm water and a brush or a high pressure hose (or telescopic cleaning pole) if the panels are difficult to reach.