• Solar PV Technology

    The UK's Favourite Clean Technology

Commercial Solar PV Technology

HOW DOES SOLAR POWER WORK?

Solar panels, or modules, use the Sun’s energy to generate electricity. There are two key parts to the photovoltaic system: the photovoltaic modules (often called “panels”), and the electrical system. Whenever it is light outside, the photovoltaic modules generate a direct electric current (DC) which the electrical system converts into an AC current. This electricity can then be directly used by the electrical appliances in your building, and any surplus electricity generated is fed to the grid.

IS SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION EASY?

Now you know how solar panels work you’ll be pleased to know that they are relatively easy to install. The majority of the work takes place on your roof or land, with less time spent indoors working with your electrical system. How long it takes depends on the photovoltaic system size, any technical challenges your site may present, and occasionally the weather, but the average time for businesses is about a week.

DO WE NEED PLANNING PERMISSION?

The majority of solar power projects do not. However if the system is visible from a conservation area, within the curtilage of a listed building, or ground mounted, then it will require planning permission. Read more on our planning permission page.

HOW DOES THE FEED IN TARIFF WORK?

By installing solar power, you’ll be eligible to apply for the government Feed in Tariff scheme. This will pay you money for all of the electricity you generate, and for the electricity you export to the grid. To receive the payments, you need to apply to the scheme, with which Prescient Power are more than ready to assist.

HOW DO SOLAR PANELS GENERATE ELECTRICITY?

This is where we get a little more technical. The key ingredient in the photovoltaic modules is the semiconductor material, most often silicon. This material contains a certain quantity of electrons which, in darkness, do not have enough energy to move. However, when sunlight of a certain wavelength falls on the panels, these electrons can absorb a sufficient amount of energy to be able to move and conduct a direct electric current.

DO SOLAR PANELS INTEGRATE WITH OUR ELECTRICAL SYSTEM?

The key to integration of solar panels is the inverter – converting a DC current produced by the panels to an AC current which your building uses. The power system is clever enough to manage the input of electricity from both the grid and the panels, ensuring you maximise your generation and notice no difference, except for the significantly lower electricity bills, and quarterly Feed in Tariff payments.

HOW DO YOU FIX THE SOLAR PANELS TO MY ROOF OR TO THE GROUND?

We use a variety of frames and fixtures to ensure that the panels are secure, angled to generate as efficiently as possible and cause minimum disruption to other structures.

HOW DOES THE METERING WORK?

The meter tracks the amount of electricity that you both generate and export to the grid. These meter readings are used by your electricity provider to calculate the export tariff you will receive as part of the Feed in Tariff scheme.

HOW MUCH DO SOLAR PANELS COST?

The most decisive factor here is the size of your system:  first consider how much roof or land space you have available. Generally speaking, the larger your system, the more value you get for every pound you spend. For more information go to our page on solar cost, but the best way to get an idea of the figures involved for you is to contact us.

SOLAR PANEL PAYBACK

Solar panels tend to have a payback period of 7-12 years. The larger the system, the more likely it is to pay you back more quickly. To get realistic figures for your property, requesting a quote is the simplest step you can take.

WHAT ABOUT MAINTENANCE?

Whilst solar panels are very light on maintenance, we recommend you consider a low cost monitoring and maintenance contract to ensure you are always generating at maximum efficiency.

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