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Photovoltaic Solar Power

Photovoltaic is the name of the process whereby the sun's enery is converted directly into electricity. This electricity can be stored, used immediately, or even sold to the national grid if you generate more than you need.

Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells (sometimes referred to as photovoltaic solar panels) convert light into electricity. Although photovoltaic cells do not require direct sunlight to work and will generate electricity as long as there is daylight, the amount of electricity produced does depend on the intensity of the light.

Photovoltaic cells either look like roof tiles, and are fixed as if they were roof tiles, or a panel. The panels can be incorporated into the roof like the tiles or they can be mounted above the roof. Several tiles and / or panels are usually used together and they can be placed anywhere on the roof in any pattern; the electricity generated will be the same.

Photovoltaic Solar Power Options

Photovoltaic solar power sytems can either be standalone or connected to the national grid.

Standalone

As the name suggests, this system is not connected to the national grid. This means that any excess electricity you produce has to be stored (or wasted) rather than sold to the grid. Typically a system of batteries is used and a control system has to be in place to manage the fluctuation in supply and demand. Your solar panels will usually produce more electricity in the summer, as there is more sunlight, but at the same time your demand for electricity is likely to be lower. The opposite situation is true in winter. This makes it a more complex sytem to manage than a grid connected photvoltaic system.

National Grid

When using a national grid connected system, your solar panels supply you with electricity via a dual meter. This means that when you are using less electricity than your photovoltaic panels are supplying, the excess is exported to the national grid and you receive credit for it. It also means that you will never be without electricity because you still have you grid connection should you require it.