Sun Energy - Sustainable Fuel for PV Solar Panels
Author: Robert Bonello
Solar Photovoltaic cells, also known as Solar PV, are silicon wafer based panels that absorb energy from the sun and then transfer that energy to your home. When photons of light hit the silicon wafer, they tip them of their chemical balance, creating a movement of protons and electrons in opposite directions, thus generating an electrical current. Solar PV cells are already used in some common appliances such as watches and calculators. Naturally, the domestic or commercial panels come in larger sizes to provide sufficient output. Over the years, some solar photovoltaic cells have been used successfully to generate electricity for very large buildings and other installations including the National Grid.
Solar Photovoltaic and Planning Issues
One can install solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of their home as well as along one of the outer walls or as standalone units. Before setting off on the installation process, it is essential to check with the local authority regarding planning restrictions. Most local authorities in England allow solar PV panels to be installed on residential roofs and as standalone cells as long as certain criteria are met (mainly that the panels are not attached onto listed buildings or within conservation zones). Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, however, are still working out their local legislation. For residents of these areas it is therefore advisable to consult the local planning authorities before installing the solar systems.
Reasons to Use Solar Photovoltaic
There are several unique benefits to solar PV cells. One of the key benefits is the savings on electrical utility bills. Other savings are equally important - PV cells save around 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, as they produce virtually no greenhouse gases. Once installed, the solar panels protect the user from national grid power dependency. In other words the system shields the user from power outages and disruption to the electricity system. Solar power is therefore an attractive proposition for installations where the National Grid power is expensive or in remote areas (such as farms, caravans or research outposts).
How is Solar Photovoltaic Cell Installed?
It is not recommended to try and install solar PV panels as a DIY installation. It is important to hire a professional installation crew that has been certified by the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. Solar PV cells are heavy and need to be attached to a specifically designed support system. The support structure is constructed before the panels can be attached and is mounted on the roof. Professional solar PV installers will also know what the local safety and electrical codes are and will make sure that the solar PV system complies with all the prevailing local regulations.
With the increasing public awareness to global warming and climate change, there is substantially more focus placed on finding energy generation options that are not reliant upon fossil fuels. Of the alternative energy options currently available (wave, wind, hydrogen, solar, nuclear), solar power is considered to be the most cost effective and with solar panels dropping in price due to competition, this technology is likely to become ever more popular.
Tal Potishman, editor of Heating Central, writes content about central heating, plumbers, Harrow boiler underfloor heating and solar thermal. He specializes in helping cut costs by advising on efficient heating.