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How does a solar PV system work?

Solar panels work by harnessing the power of sunlight to generate electricity. They are made up of individual solar cells, usually composed of silicon, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how solar panels work:

Sunlight hits the solar panels: When sunlight shines on the solar panels, it contains tiny packets of energy called photons.

Photons are absorbed: The solar cells in the panels are designed to absorb photons from sunlight. As the photons are absorbed, they transfer their energy to the electrons in the atoms of the solar cells.

Electron movement: The energy from the photons causes the electrons to break free from their atoms, creating a flow of electrons.

Electric field creation: The solar cells are constructed with an electric field, which acts as a built-in diode. This electric field forces the free electrons to move in a specific direction, creating a flow of electricity.

Current generation: As the electrons flow in a single direction, they create an electric current. This current is in the form of direct current (DC), which is the type of electricity that solar panels produce.

Conversion to usable electricity: Since most homes and businesses use alternating current (AC) electricity, the DC electricity produced by solar panels is converted into AC using an inverter. The inverter transforms the DC electricity into AC electricity, which can be used to power your appliances and home.

Energy consumption or storage: The AC electricity produced by the solar panels can be consumed instantly, powering your electrical devices and reducing your reliance on the grid. Alternatively, if you have a solar battery storage system, excess energy can be stored for later use when the sun isn’t shining.

By converting sunlight into electricity, solar panels offer a clean and renewable energy solution, helping to reduce your carbon footprint and lower your electricity costs over time.

How reliable is Solar PV ?

Solar PV systems are extremely reliable. PV modules come with a 25 year warranty and have no moving parts so failures are extremely rare. The inverters for solar PV systems have 5 year warranties as standard. EcoBuild offer a 2 year workmanship warranty on all our solar PV installations that can be extended.

Where can I install a Solar PV system?

Most PV systems are roof-mounted, with mounting systems available for most roof coverings. Systems can also be ground-mounted, space permitting. Ideally, installations will face south but they can face anywhere south of due east or due west.

For maximum output, panels should be tilted at 30 to 45 degrees from the horizontal; an angle between 5 and 60 degrees is acceptable but there is a small loss of output.

Shading of just a small area of a solar PV system will significantly reduce its output because the electrical connections it contains are in series.

How much will a Solar PV system cost?

Prices are always changing and under review, but the price per kW can drop substantially for larger systems or multiple installations.

Will a Solar system provide hot water

No. Solar PV systems generate electricity, not hot water, although the electricity can be used to heat water using an immersion heater. If you want to heat water directly you need a solar water heating system, not solar PV.

Benefits of Solar PV

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Reduce your energy bills

Electricity generated at home can be used to power electrical appliances, reducing the amount of electricity you import and pay for from the grid.

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Reduced carbon footprint

An average-size home with a solar panels will save over one tonne of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere every year.

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Energy independance

Once you install your new solar system you become an energy generator and will have less reliance on the national grid.

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Return on investment

The SEG ensures homeowners with solar panels are paid for any excess renewable energy that is exported back to the National Grid.

Recent projects from EcoBuild

EcoBuild provide installations for commercial businesses. Solar PV systems can be designed on the existing roof space that will help save money on utility bills and carbon emissions.

View All Case Studies

Would you like to know more?

If you would like a free quotation or any more information or advice, please feel free to get in touch with us.

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