Sustainable Fuel and Green Energy, Introducing Solar PV
Solar Photovoltaic cells, also known as Solar PV, are silicon wafer based panels that absorb energy from the sun and then transfer that energy to your home. When photons of light hit the silicon wafer, they tip them of their chemical balance, creating a movement of protons and electrons in opposite directions, thus generating an electrical current. Solar PV cells are already used in some common appliances such as watches and calculators. Naturally, the domestic or commercial panels come in larger sizes to provide sufficient output. Over the years, some solar photovoltaic cells have been used successfully to generate electricity for very large buildings and other installations including the National Grid.
Solar Photovoltaic and Planning Issues
Solar Photovoltaic panels can be installed into or on top of the roof or along an external wall of the property. Before buying a solar PV system, it is important to ensure that the user checks against the statutes of local area. In England, roof mounted solar PV cells as well as standalone cells can be installed into most homes, but there are certain criteria they must meet. Latest legislations allows for solar panels of up to 100mm in depth to be laid upon a tilted roof without the need for a planning permission. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the local authorities are still working on the legislation regarding solar panels, so the local planning authorities must be consulted before any cells can be installed.
Reasons to Use Solar Photovoltaic
There are several important benefits to having solar PV cells in your home. The most obvious benefit is the ongoing savings on the electrical utility bills. In addition to saving money, the user will be lowering their carbon footprint as solar PV emit virtually no carbon dioxide and cut around 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. An indirect benefit is the fact that the user will no longer be tied to the National Grid which means that they do not have to worry about power cuts or increases in the cost of electricity. Solar power makes a strong economic case for properties in remote areas where there is no coverage by the National Grid (e.g. remote farms, research facilities).
Solar Photovoltaic Installation
Solar photovoltaic cells need to be installed by a professional installation crew. Professional installers must be certified by the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. It is not recommended to try and install the solar panel cells unless you are fully trained and qualified. The cells are typically very heavy and they have to be attached to a separate support system that must be constructed and attached carefully to the roof. A professional installer will understand the local electrical and safety codes and can ensure that the solar PV units are meeting the requirements of the code.
This page has been written with contributions from heating engineers from Middlesex and plumbers from Muswell Hill. Several of the company's Gas Safe engineers from Oxfordshire have worked on similar issues as well as some of our experienced plumbers from Kensington and our Tonbridge qualified plumbers.
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