We've used the Sun for drying clothes and food for thousands of years, but only recently have we been able to use it for generating power. The Sun is 150 million kilometres away, and amazingly powerful. Just the tiny fraction of the Sun's energy that hits the Earth (around a hundredth of a millionth of a percent) is enough to meet all our power needs many times over.
In fact, every minute, enough energy arrives at the Earth to meet our demands for a whole year - if only we could harness it properly.
Solar panels collect solar radiation from the sun and actively convert that energy to electricity. Solar panels are comprised of several individual solar cells. These solar cells function similarly to large semiconductors and utilize a large-area p-n junction diode. When the solar cells are exposed to sunlight, the p-n junction diodes convert the energy from sunlight into usable electrical energy. The energy generated from photons striking the surface of the solar panel allows electrons to be knocked out of their orbits and released, and electric fields in the solar cells pull these free electrons in a directional current, from which metal contacts in the solar cell can generate electricity.
The more solar cells in a solar panel and the higher the quality of the solar cells, the more total electrical output the solar panel can produce.
A PV array is a series of PV cells connected together to form a panel. The panels are connected together to form an array. The array is mounted on a metal frame system. Once all the interconnecting cables on the panels are connected together two direct current (DC) cables are taken into the brain of the system, the inverter.
The inverter takes the DC voltage and changes it into usable AC voltage the type found in all our homes. The inverter in most cases displays the power generated from the array and on some the CO2 saving. The now usable AC power is then carried by standard household cabling into the properties existing consumer unit (Fuse box). An import – export meter or new smart meter monitors the excess power being sold back to the grid and as a standard credit meter the amount of power being supplied by the grid. Some older types of meter can actually start to spin backwards! Hudson Solar can arrange and organize all the requirements of obtaining a meter. A customer owner generation meter is also fitted and records total generation. From this the FiTs payments are calculated and unless a smart meter is fitted 50% allowance is made back to the grid. Different mounting options are available. Roof mounting on top of tiles (On roof) or roof mounting in the tiles (In roof). Flat roofs can use frames to support the array and ground mounted systems use a simular system. Ground mount can also be pole mounted.
Grid connected systems are the most likely for a dwelling however off grid connected systems can be installed utilising battery back up systems. Off grid systems are identical in function other than the battery back up and are ideal for locations where having an electrical supply installed is not financially viable. Remote rural locations are ideal to utilise this system.