Published On: June 10th, 2024Categories: Solar

How do Solar Panels Work and Why You Should Invest Today

How do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity, through the photovoltaic effect, which is why you’ll see installations referring to ‘Solar PV’.

Quick Science Bite: The solar panels absorb photons, particles of light, which excites electrons in the silicon cells of the panels. The movement of electrons generates direct current (DC) which is collected by conductive plates and transferred to the wires. This DC current is then converted through the Inverter to alternating current (AC) which is what we use in our homes. 

Although traditionally panels were installed solely on south-facing roofs, technology has come a long way in the last decade, and we are seeing positive results from systems installed on East and West roofs, and in some places even North.

And because the panels absorb photons, they can produce electricity even on cloudy days. 

Panels on a cloudy day in June 24

In fact, while writing this piece I’m looking outside (picture above) to an overcast June day in the south of England and our 7.3kW system is still generating 1.5kWh and at 11.50am has generated 9.9kWh in total. Enough that we’ve still added 73% charge to our 10kW battery for later on.

Why you should install solar panels …

There are two main benefits, that we think are important.

#1 Economic Benefits

Let’s face it we are always on the lookout for ways we can save money but still get the same services.

  • Lowers our electricity bills because we are generating our own electricity to use daily, and if you have batteries even stores some of this for use later on when it is dark. Reducing your dependence on the grid.
  • There is a return on investment. By saving money on the electricity you would have normally purchased from the grid, together with earnings from exporting back what you don’t use, solar makes for a good long-term investment plan.

#2 Environmental Benefits

Let’s face it we are always on the lookout for ways we can save money but still get the same services.

  • Solar is a renewable energy source, making it abundant unlike fossil fuels, which means you benefit from a more reliable source that is no part of the volatile energy market.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Solar PV systems do not emit greenhouse gases when producing electricity, nor do they release any pollutants into the air

What you need to install solar panels…

#1 – A big enough area – south facing roof – area for inverter and batteries

Not every roof, nor every home is suitable for Solar, unfortunately!

Ideally you’ll want a space that will fit 10+ panels, this is around 20m2. The average size of a solar panel is 1.7m x 1.2m.

And to make the most of the generation you’ll want that roof space to be facing south as much as possible (although as said we’ve had success on north facing roofs too, as long as you have lots of space).

And you’ll also need to consider the location of the other components of the installation. The inverter, and batteries if you have them, all take up space and need areas around them for fire protection. This is one of the reasons that we love Myenergi products as their inverter and battery set-up is IP rated to be put outside, out of the way.

#2 – Legal requirements

You also need to be the property owner, whether leasehold or freehold to go ahead. And there may be planning implications to think about. For example, areas of conservation or listed buildings will require local authority permission before anything can go forward.

#3 – Money to Invest

And lastly, you should consider cost. An average system with us is around £10,000, with solar being an investment – not unlike double glazing. However, unlike double glazing, we do not recommend financing your Solar. 

Solar makes for a good return on investment, but to get the full benefit you’ll want to realise that it take around 10 years before it is paid off. If you have plans to move in the near future, solar is not for you.

If you are unsure, then we can advise you. The team at Sol Solar has been designing and installing Solar since 2011, across all sorts of different spaces. We will be open and honest with what you could achieve with an installation, even if that means less than you wanted, or perhaps that the cost outweighs the installation entirely.

Contact us for a FREE quotation, with no obligation. Simply fill in our online form and we go from there.

We are accredited member of MCS (the Microgeneration Certification Scheme) which certifies us against consistent standards. Also, all our electricians are certified for Part P and City & Guild qualified.