Whether we’re installing a 16 panel 4kW solar power system for a private home or a massive 80 solar panel array on a farm or school, the basic PV technology is the same.
PV stands for ‘photo voltaic’ which simply means electricity from light. Solar panels are made of a very thin layer of silicon sandwiched between two sheets of toughened glass. When light falls on the panel a voltage is produced.
The solar panels are linked together to form an ‘array’, and the combined voltage is fed into an inverter which converts the solar power from DC to AC, and connects it to your existing electricity system. In a domestic Solar PV installation, this is about the size of a small boiler and can be placed in a garage or a large cupboard. In a commercial Solar PV system it is naturally much larger.
Your feed-in tariff pays you for all the power your solar panels make, whether you use it or export it the grid.
When you are producing more solar power than you need the surplus is exported. At night you will use power from the grid in the normal way. During daylight your Solar PV system will be producing electricity all the time, even on cloudy days (although not as much as in bright sunshine). Solarbarn operates primarily in the Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and Bishops Stortford area where we actually tend to get more sunshine than anywhere else in the country!
Not all solar panels are equal!
Solar panels are not all the same—with substantially varying levels of quality, efficiency and price. Some less than scrupulous national suppliers will only offer one type of solar panel, and usually charge you more, too.
Solarbarn offers a range of solar panels from different but reputable manufacturers. Generally, the more expensive the panel, the more efficiently it generates electricity and the more attractive their appearance. You can view our range at our Saffron Walden showroom.
A Solar PV system has no moving parts and hence requires little maintenance. Their performance does degrade a very small amount each year, but solar panels typically have at least 80% percent power guarantees over 20 years.
What matters is ‘Kilowatt Hours’ not ‘Kilowatts Peak’.
Just as one model of two litre capacity car might have substantially better performance than another two litre car, it’s the same with Solar PV. The number of Kilowatt Hours produced per year is the important thing to look out for—this is how much power a Solar PV system actually produces and is what you get paid for. Cheaply-made, inefficient solar panels may have an identical kW Peak rating as better ones, but will simply not produce the same amount of power.
See how much solar power you’re producing and using
With all Solarbarn Solar PV systems you can see exactly how much power you’re producing at any time simply by looking at the readout on your inverter.
You can also choose add-on remote monitoring units which transmit wireless data from your Solar PV system to a wallbox which you can position anywhere in your house within range.
For larger commercial solar panel systems, over 10kW, we’ll also provide you with a free online dashboard so you can see what your PV system’s doing wherever you can get access to a computer or smartphone.