What Are Solar Photovoltaic Systems

In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis placed on conserving energy, being energy efficient and being eco-conscious. With the planet heating up at an alarming rate, measures are being taken to slow the onset of global warming and we are constantly encouraged to be more conscious of our carbon footprints.

There are many ways we can all go about being more 'green' and environmentally friendly. Recycling is more commonplace that it has ever been before, more people are abandoning their cars to cycle or use public transport, Fairtrade and organic products are taking up more and more aisles in our supermarkets – but what of the more dramatic ways of cutting our carbon emissions?

Solar panels have long since been in the periphery of public awareness – we have known that they exist but haven't come across them too often, especially not in homes. But now in these eco-conscious times they grow more and more popular in domestic use and are completely viable as a way of generating your own power and cutting costs of energy bills. The correct term for the systems is 'photovoltaic' – photo coming from the Greek word 'phos', meaning 'light' and volt, an electricity measurement unit. Literally, photovoltaic translates as 'light-electricity'.

How do these systems work? Solar photovoltaic systems are panels which have a thin layer of semi-conducting material placed over the top, not dissimilar to the smaller versions used on calculators and watches. When this material is exposed to sunlight, the electrons inside the atoms which comprise the material are knocked loose and flow through the material to create what is known as a direct current, or a DC. The direct current cannot be utilised to power a home and so it is channelled into an inverter, which transforms it into an alternating current, or an AC. The alternating current can then be used to heat your water and supply your home with electricity.

The system is eco-friendly and a great way to play your part in protecting the environment, but there are also cost-related benefits that add more weight to the cause. Not only does converting to solar energy diminish the worry of ever-rising energy costs from all the main companies, you can also turn a profit. Any energy not consumed by your home can be sold back to the national grid – the average 4-bedroomed house fitted with 2.5kw solar panels using a normal amount of electricity can earn up to £850 per year tax-free by selling back their generated energy.

To find out more about using solar panels in your home, visit www.ellwoodelectrical.co.uk or Tel: 01473 712 868.