Solar PV – It’s good for your pocket and it’s good for the planet

Electric Bill The Solar People

Save Money

A solar PV system will generates free energy from daylight for you to use in your home. The more solar energy you use during the day, the less you will need to draw from the grid. Saving you hundreds of pounds a year.

Free Electricity

By using your free solar generated electricity you are protecting yourself against energy price rises and the current energy crisis.

A cleaner environment

Unlike burning fossil fuel, your solar PV system will not produce any carbon emissions. A typical solar system can save over 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions over twenty years. Thats about the same as the average new car. It’s great to do your bit for the environment.

Harness the sun – Solar made easy

During the day, solar panels on your roof turns sunlight into DC electricity.

An inverter changes the DC electricity to AC for use in your home.

Use this energy to power your home instead of drawing energy from the national grid.

Any excess energy you generate will either be sent back to the grid (for which you can get paid for) or can be stored in a battery for use at night.

Take control of your energy bills

In 2018, electricity prices hit a 10 year high. Staggering price hikes from the Big 6 energy companies dominated monthly headline news.

The Office of National Statistics shows us that over the past 15 years energy prices have increased by 280% and wholesale prices have increased by 50% in the past 12 months alone.

Now has never been a better time to install a solar PV system. By generating free, clean solar energy, with the addition of battery storage and time-of-use tariffs, you can be sure that your home is protected against future energy price rises.

*Statistics obtained from the ONS

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Panels

Solar Panels come in different sizes, type, power, brand, tolerance, colour, material and warranty. The main thing to consider is that the panels you chose are Tier1, CE and MCS marked.

Firstly there are two main types of panel; Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. They are currently the most commonly used and are manufactured in quite a similar process using crystalline cells made from silicon.

The raw material for silicon is sand, a most abundant element. However, the process to turn sand into premium quality energy conducting silicon is a complicated and expensive process which involves many processes;

• melting sand in specially shaped furnaces

• adding chemicals and elements, including Boron to positively charge the silicon

• aligning all atoms

This process results in the manufacture of cylindrical shaped silicon ingots.

Monocrystalline panels are made using paper thin wafers cut from a single ingot of silicon. Polycrystalline panels are made from cells made from melting several silicon crystals together. Monocrystalline cells are higher in efficiency and this is usually reflected in the price.

Metal conductors and an anti-reflective coating is added to each cell to allow the conversion of solar energy into electricity, before thinly diffusing phosphorus over each, which provides the negative charge.

The cells are linked and soldered together, and glued to a back sheet. After which a layer of glass is added on the front side and it is sealed around the edges with a frame to prevent water and dust affecting the panel. The size and power output of the panel will depend on the number of cells used. Typical sizes are 60 and 72 cell panels.

The colour of panels vary depending on whether they are Polycrystalline (blue) or Monocrystalline (black) and both reflect light differently. The colour of the backing behind the cells (white or black), and the colour of the frame (silver or black), can also change the look/appearance of panels.

A junction box is added to the back of each panel to enable the extraction of the generated energy from each.

All Tier 1 panels are tested against Standard Test Conditions (STC), electrical parameters are recorded and you will find performance details on the manufacturer’s data sheet. This will also include details of the warranties and manufacturing tolerance (allowable deviation against the stated power output).

The Solar People only supply and fit Tier 1 MCS approved panels.

Inverter

A solar PV inverter is the hardest working part of a solar PV system.

Its purpose is to convert the direct current (DC) energy produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) for use in the home. It also regulates the flow of power being produced by a string of panels.

There are three main types of inverter: Standard string inverter, micro inverter and power optimised SolarEdge inverter.

Standard string inverter:

String inverters use maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to get the maximum possible power from the PV array. If all the panels are working within the manufacturing tolerance, and are without damage, soiling or shading, then a standard string inverter functions well. However, if there is an issue with any of the panels, the inverter will regulate the flow of energy to that of the weakest performing panel, and total generation can be greatly reduced.

Micro-Inverters:

Micro inverters do the inversion from DC to AC on each individual solar panel, and therefore one is required per panel. As the inversion happens at source, there is no need for a separate inverter thus removing the single possible point of failure.

As the panels are wired in parallel rather than series, the failure of one panel will not have a negative effect of the rest of the system, and as each panel operates in isolation, the architecture allows for a more complicated array layout. As each micro-inverter is essentially a smaller version of a standard inverter, they are more expensive than a conventional inverter system.

Power Optimised SolarEdge Inverter system:

The SolarEdge HD Wave inverter is split into two parts. The optimiser and the HDWave inverter. Power optimisers on the back of each panel do the MPPT and therefore the supporting inverter doesn’t need to work as hard. Its award winning power conversion technology has lead to a reduction in the magnetics and heavy cooling components making it the smallest inverter currently on the market with a record breaking 99% efficiency.

In addition, a data monitoring receiver collects all data from each power optimiser about the performance of each panel, which in turn is sent to the SolarEdge monitoring platform for access by the homeowner, installer and SolarEdge to help identify and rectify cell level performance issues.

Power optimisers also allow for a more flexible layout of panels including different orientations, pitch, panels and groupings. Additional safety features are built in as standard the the SolarEdge system.

Generation Meter

A solar PV installation requires an approved generation meter to accurately record the power generated by your system. This approved meter needs to be installed by an MCS registered installer to allow the homeowner to qualify for the Feed-In Tariff, and it’s the reading from this meter that is sent to the energy supplier every quarter.

Consumer Unit

Every home has a consumer unit (otherwise known as a fuse board) to control electrical energy and to protect different circuits.

Each circuit will have a RCD (Residual Current Device), which switches electricity off if there is a fault, and is designed to protect against the risk of electrocution and fires caused by earth faults.

The supply of solar PV generated energy from your panels will pass through the consumer unit and requires its own RCD. If there is no space in the consumer unit available then we add our own sub-board thus creating a new circuit.

Load

When your solar PV is generating clean green energy, your household appliances will use this energy rather than grid supplied energy. If your PV system is not generating enough to power your appliances then electricity from the grid will be used to top up what is required.

Storage

Solar PV batteries work by storing solar PV energy that would ordinarily be sent back to the national grid for use when your solar is not generating, maximising the self-consumption of solar and reducing bills and the reliance on energy suppliers further.

The battery storage system works by converting the excess AC energy back to DC power and storing in a lithium ion (or equivalent) battery. Some solar batteries have their own inverter for doing this, others require an additional inverter to run this process.

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