Photovoltaic Panels use light energy from the sun to generate electricity through what is known as the ‘Photovoltaic effect’.
A Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panel is made up of silicon cells, prepared in such a way that when the sun's rays pass over them they become 'agitated' creating an electric charge, which is then fed to a cable output. This electric current is in DC format, and is then converted to AC format via an inverter to make it compatible with the electricity supply.
A Photovoltaic system does not necessarily need bright sunlight in order to operate successfully as the system relies on the light created from the sun - thus it continues to generate electricity even on cloudy days.
There are five main factors that will impact how much energy a Solar PV system will generate:
- The overall size of the PV array.
- The latitude of the location.
- Which direction the panels face.
- The angle at which the panels are mounted.
- The amount of shade that may cover the panels.
Typically PV Panels are roof mounted, there are however many different configurations possible including ground mounting and mounting on flat roofs.