Solar panels explained

UK Home Improvement

Solar Panels Explained

Solar panels have seen a meteoric rise in popularity in recent years, fueled by the declining cost of solar panels and the increasing awareness of the need for alternative energy solutions. Almost all domestic solar systems are of the photovoltaic (PV) variety, which generate electricity by utilising the photovoltaic effect, generating energy from the sun’s daylight.

PV panels produce electricity by absorbing some of the photon’s in UV radiation from the sun, which excites the electrons present and in turn produces kinetic energy which is transformed into electricity. Solar panels can be connected, combining their output. The electricity output from the solar cells is then either pumped in to the national grid, immediately used by a household appliance, or stored in high capacity batteries for later use.

Residential Solar

Solar panels for domestic use are typically installed on rooftops, on whichever side receives the most sunlight. A professional installation team will measure up and determine the size and number of solar panels suitable for the property.

Once in place, the solar panels will be wired up together, and the output connected to the electrical system of the house. Electricity will be drawn directly from the panels when available, and from external sources when not. The owners can usually decide on whether to connect batteries to their solar system, saving any excess electricity generated during the day to be used at night. Batteries however are expensive and are not always a viable option. Most prefer to sell back their excess to the utility companies at a fixed rate.

Solar energy can be used to power everything in the home, from appliances, to heating and lighting.

Commercial Solar

Just about any commercial or industrial business, from offices to farm buildings, can make benefit from producing their own solar electricity. The requirements are much the same as residential solar systems.

In a time when businesses are coming under pressure to use more energy from sustainable energy sources, solar panels offer a hassle free, straightforward source of clean electricity generation. Moreover, as prices of traditional fuels continue to rise, electricity costs will likewise continue to increase, becoming a bigger expense to businesses. Solar panels can offset some of this cost and as sunlight is a limitless resource can be sure their costs will decline as solar technology becomes more efficient and cheaper to produce.

Government Incentives

In the UK, the government up until recently offered a feed-in tariff scheme to encourage uptake of solar panel systems, helping the government to reach its renewable energy targets. This scheme in it’s current incarnation is set to come to an end at the end of 2011, with the new tariff rates for green energy generation being much lower than the current rate.

A survey by Solar Experts found that the majority of home owners want solar panels to cut down on energy bills and to help the environment. For a minority (10%), the motivation was to sell the electricity back to the government, therefore the lowering of tariff payout’s should not drastically reduce the demand for solar energy systems.

Looking for a solar installation company in the North East? Make sure to call 0800 Solar Energy for a free quote and advice.


By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, assist in our marketing efforts, and for personalised advertising.

More Information Accept All Cookies