Solar at Bavenhill

What is PV?
The photovoltaic (PV) process converts sunlight, the most abundant energy source on the planet directly into electricity. The equipment required for this process has no moving parts and as a result requires minimal maintenance. In addition, the electricity is generated with no emissions and no noise. A PV cell consists of two or more thin layers of semiconducting material, most commonly silicon. When the cell is exposed to light, electrical charges are generated and this can be conducted away by metal contacts as direct current (DC). The electrical output from a single cell is small, therefore multiple cells are connected together to provide a more useful output. Cells connected in this way are encapsulated (usually behind glass) to form a weatherproof module or panel. Multiple modules can likewise be connected together in order to provide sufficient power for common electrical appliances.

Are photovoltaic panels expensive?
Over the last 20 years the price of PV modules have fallen dramatically, from around £15 per Wp in 1980 to current prices of around £3.50 per Wp. That means that a single module, typically generating 60W of power under standard test conditions, now costs around £200 Solar PV is still a more expensive technology than most other forms of renewable energy, but it has many advantages over other systems.

How much Power can I expect to get from my PVs?
Typically a 1kWp array will produce between 850 and 1000kWh/year depending on location (in the UK)
Why are PVs rated in Wp rather than watts? Wp means peak Watts. In other words, a 100Wp panel will produce a maximum of 100W in peak conditions (1kW/m2 solar irradiation) - this is equivalent to a bright sunny midsummer day in the UK


Why install a PV system?
There are many reasons to install a PV system:
It is the most practical and economically viable option for many applications in remote areas.
It is has zero carbon footprint once installed. Installing a small domestic system of around 1.5 kW would provide around 1000 kWh of electricity every year, this would save around half a tonne of CO2 annually.
* PV can be integrated into the fabric of a building.
* Electricity can be supplied at the point of use.
* The system will run silently.
* There is very little maintenance required for a PV system.
* After the initial installation costs, there are no further fuel costs.
* PV systems are modular, and can be added to at any time