A photovoltaic system, or solar PV system, is a renewable energy generating system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. It consists of an arrangement of several components, including solar panels to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity, a solar inverter to change the electric current from DC to AC, as well as mounting, cabling and other electrical accessories to set up a working system.
Operating silently and without any moving parts or environmental emissions, PV systems have developed from being niche market applications into a mature technology used for mainstream electricity generation.
Photovoltaics harness the unlimited free energy of the sun to generate electricity for home use, businesses, corporate organisations and communities.
There are three types of solar panels, monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous, which range in cost and efficiency. Polycrystalline panels are the most popular and cost effective panels available and are generally recognisable by their traditional blue colour. Monocrystalline panels, which are usually black, are a more aesthetically pleasing solar panel installation and are widely used in domestic or commercial arrays, where the premises is in a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Amorphous modules are also known as thin film modules and, although they generally have a lower output than traditional panels of the same size, they are lightweight and more flexible, making them an excellent choice for a solar panel installation with a fragile roof structure. Thin film modules also work well at low light levels and perform well at much lower temperatures than traditional PV panels.
Solar PV panels can also be designed and manufactured in alternative colours if required, but there would be an additional cost for this.
A solar panel installation can be mounted on the roof of your building (known as roof top arrays), on unused land (known as ground mounted arrays) or on vertical sections of buildings (known as façade or curtain walling arrays).