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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Harness the sun

SOLAR Photovoltaic (PV) is a technology that allows people to harness the clean, natural energy of the sun and generate electricity to power the home or business.

Solar PV panels usually have a life-span of 30 to 40 years and can really add to the value of a property.

People can even earn money in the process, thanks to the government-backed feed-in tariff, which rewards homeowners who generate renewable electricity.

When light shines on the cells it creates an electric field across the layers of silicon. This DC current is then converted into AC electricity by an inverter.

This electricity is used to power the home.

If more energy is generated than the home requires, it is possible to sell the surplus back to the national grid.

The installer of the panels can also install a second electricity meter to measure how much electricity an individual is exporting.

This will be important to get the full benefit of the feed-in tariffs.

Solar PV technology does work best in direct sunlight, and shading should be avoided so when planning for solar panels it is important to consider the effects of possible obstructions such as chimneys, trees and satellite dishes.

Specialists will be able to discuss the process of installing Solar PV technology in more detail during a home visit.

The feed-in tariff is guaranteed for 25 years from the date of installation so it is relatively easy to calculate how quickly the solar equipment will pay for itself.

The cost of installing solar PV varies depending on the size of system and components used.

Generally the larger the installation, the more it costs but the more you are likely to save as well.

Maintenance of PV panels is usually minimal, but the panels need to be kept relatively clean to retain efficiency and care should be taken to prevent trees and bushes overshadowing them.

The panels can work adequately in diffused light, ie under clouds/mist, etc and electricity is still generated even on a cloudy day.

The best conditions for generating solar energy would be a sunny day, but even on a cloudy day, they will generate satisfactory and adequate levels of energy.

This method of power production has become increasingly viable because technology costs have decreased, and fossil fuel costs have increased.

Fortunately, solar power offers many advantages over traditional power generation.

Economy

Beyond the initial power installation costs, solar energy is a free source of power that renews itself at dawn every day. It eliminates the costs of prospecting, drilling and processing non-renewable resources such as oil. Solar panels have no moving parts which minimises regular maintenance and nearly eliminates repair costs.

Environment

Because this mode of power emits no pollution, it keeps the air clean and healthy, reducing general health costs for the population. No hydrocarbon production also reduces climate change

Decentralisation

Rather than creating a large, expensive infrastructure to produce and distribute electricity, solar energy can produce power from individual buildi ngs equipped with photovoltaic panels. System-wide disruptions are eliminated because problems are confined to the specific building. Smaller panels can also produce power for vehicles, outdoor appliances and personal electronics.

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