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Solar Cell For Solar Panels Article:

What Are Solar Photovoltaic Panels?
By Peter Searancke
These panels cleverly convert the suns light into electricity. The cells are usually made up of layers of a semiconductor called Silicon. When exposed to light a DC electrical charge is generated. When numerous cells are banked together they can produce large amounts of electricity. These cells can be used to power many electrical devices from calculators to your home appliances. The sunnier the position the more electricity that can be generated.

This often, but not always, means positioning the panels on a south facing roof. If the roof is flat the panels can be mounted on frames that hold the panels at the optimum angle.

When connected to the national grid a property can benefit from reduced electricity bills and can even export electricity to the national grid.
The panels tend to cost somewhere between £5000 to £7500 per kW, depending on the required specification and particular project.

Are Solar PV panels right for my property?

If specified properly, installing Solar PV WILL reduce your electricity bills. For roof mounted panels, having a south facing roof is useful. However, depending on the roof angle, panels can function properly facing South West to South East. They still benefit from 95% of the suns radiation.

The panels can be sized in a number of ways, one method is to match the capacity to the minimum load on the property, so if the property typically uses 1kW, install 1kW of panels. This means that on the sunniest day every bit of electricity being generated is being used. Alternatively,
you can install a much larger capacity and sell the excess electricity back to the national grid. The rates the electricity companies will pay for this electricity is becoming more competitive everyday.

Are there any grants?

There are many streams of grant funding depending on your particular project. For domestic properties any one can get a grant if they use a certified BRE installer. The grant is up to £2500 (£2000 per kW installed).

For non profit organisation there are grants that may pay for the whole installation. Commercial businesses should contact there local authority to see if there are any local funding streams.

However, even without a grant a Solar PV system is a good investment.

Will this type of solar panel pay for itself?

In short the answer to this question is YES. The government grants in the UK have reduced the payback massively. A more detailed answer would need to look at exactly how payback is to be measured. The environmental payback is extremely quick, perhaps even 6 months? With regard to financial payback the calculation becomes more complex, let's assume the following:

- Electricity prices continues to rise as they have over recent years.

- The system adds 50% of it's installation cost to your homes value.

- You export surplus electricity to the national grid on a typical export tariff.

Given these, not unreasonable, assumptions, a system could payback within 10 years. After 20 years the system would have paid for itself twice over.
Peter Searancke is an engineer with many years experience in construction and renewable energy technology. He now runs a successful consultancy and installation company which work closely with partner company Intelligent Energy Solutions, providing Solar Panels, Solar PhotoVoltaic Panels, Heat Pumps & Rainwater Harvesting Solutions.
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