Solar PV Frequently Asked Questions

Will they work in the UK and during the winter?

Yes, Solar panel suppliers have enhanced the efficiency of solar power systems to the extent that it is now a very viable option even in cloudier climates. The important thing to bear in mind is that solar power depends on the intensity of light not necessarily direct sunlight, so even when its overcast, your solar panels will be producing clean electricity to help power your property.

Does the system need batteries?

No, the system is connected to the national grid. In the night, when the cells are not generating energy, electricity is bought from the utility company in the normal way. Any excess electricity generated during the day, for example when you are at work, is sold back to the grid.

What happens if there is a power cut?

Photovoltaic systems for properties are entirely grid connected. If there is a power cut your system is automatically switched off. This is a safety measure designed to stop electricity leaking onto the national grid and protect individuals who may be working to restore the power supply.

What maintenance and cleaning do the systems need?

Solar PV systems are silent in operation, having no moving parts and require no maintenance. Most of the time rain will keep the modules clean. However a build up of dirt can affect system performance. The modules can be cleaned with either a hose or if possible, soapy water and a non-abrasive brush.

How long do Photovoltaic Systems last?

A photovoltaic system that is designed, installed and maintained well will operate for more than 20 years. The PV module, with no moving parts, has an expected lifetime exceeding 30 years.

How can the energy benefits of PV cells be maximised?

Orientation, shading and the temperature of the PV elements all impact on their output and must be considered at the design stage. Of course, the more energy efficient the building, the greater the overall benefit of the PV cells.

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