What is Solar PV and what are its benefits?

April 4 2015

The recent rise in the installation of Solar PV panels across the UK and Ireland has brought this renewable energy system to the forefront of new builders and home improvers minds. This leaves many people asking, just what is Solar PV and is it worth the investment? We try to shed some light on the situation.

Solar Photovoltaic, or Solar PV, are simply panels made up of cells that when exposed to light generate electricity that can be used to power your home or business. These panels are ideally fixed at a 40 degree angle facing south, which in many cases is the roof of a building (although they can be installed on the ground in a specially designed frame). The acuteness of the angle is to ensure they absorb as much of the sun’s rays as possible.

It has proven to be a hugely popular source of renewable energy in both the UK and Ireland, neither of which are known for their sunny climates. So has the trust in Solar PV been misplaced? The short answer is no – even on cloudy days they still generate electricity. In the UK and Ireland, Solar PV panels should power roughly 60-70% of your electricity needs.

Solar PV works a treat even in climates that don’t have sun all year round, but how long will the panels last? A Solar PV system will last for anything from 20 to 25 years. Daly is not tied to any one supplier, which allows us the agility to bring the most appropriate and innovative systems on board and specify which particular system best suits your needs. For our solar panel inverters we use SMA and Solar Edge, two market leaders in this industry. Our preferred suppliers for PV modules are REC or Solarworld. We specify the modules for each project based on the location of the panels on the site and to suit the homeowner’s preferences – for example the Solarworld module is an all-black module.

As part of our best practice policy, we will conduct an audit of your home and advise you on a number of fronts:

  • is your house and situation suitable for a Solar PV system
  • if so which system best suits your needs
  • the output you can expect
  • payback or return on investment timeframe

There has never been a better time to think about installing a Solar PV system into your home or business. For residents in Ireland, lower running costs for a home or a business has proven to be enough of a deciding factor to make the investment. In the UK, Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) payments have been the deciding factor for many home and business owners. The ROC and export tariff scheme means that excess electricity generated by your Solar PV system can be sold back to the national grid. The Energy Saving Trust provides some information on both Solar PV and the level of tariffs payable.

In short, the going rate for this scheme depends on your system, but typically a 4KWp Solar PV system will generate on average £625 for a period of 20 years.

At Daly we specialise in the supply and installation of integrated renewable energy systems. We are often asked, can a Solar PV system provide the electricity to power your heat pump and ultimately provide you with free electricity? Well, yes it can. Combining renewable energy systems in this way drastically increases a home’s energy efficiency and further reduces running costs. To find out more about the technologies we supply and install click over to the technologies page of our website.

Here are some other links that you may find useful:

Grants to generate your own energy

Sell your electricity