SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS (PV panels)
Solar photovoltaic systems harness the suns energy to directly produce electricity.
The panels are derived from silicon wafers. The core material is silicon and when placed with other materials can create an electric field. When the suns energy hits the solar cells within the panels the electrons in this electric field are agitated . These electrons move towards the panels electrodes within the field and thus electricity flows.
There are two main types of silicon solar panels: Monocrystalline solar panels and Polycrystalline solar panels.
The monocrystalline panels have a number of advantages over the polocrystalline panels:
- They have a higher level of efficiency
- The solar cells last longer
- They perform better at lower levels of sunlight making for better energy recovery from sunlight in cloudy conditions
- Aesthetically as they are a single colour (black) they are more satisfying on a roof than the blue and silver framed polycrystalline panels.
The panels can be installed in both landscape and portrait orientations.
The electricity produced is in DC form. This power is converted into AC via an invertor.
This invertor is generally installed next to the fuseboard. The invertor has a display which will show performance, outputs, diagnostic checks etc.
This invertor is wired directly into the fuseboard of the dwelling. The power generated from the photovoltaic panels will take precedence over the incoming mains. Therefore any itme that is using electricity will be powered from the PV system first and if additional power is required will be taken from the mains.
The size of the system will depend on dwelling requirements but there are building regulations governing maximum allowed area of roof which can be given to solar.
Also if the excess energy is being sent back onto the grid a dual tariff meter will have to be installed by ESB Networks.