Tim Higgins Solar PV Advice

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A number of  panels are connected together and the DC electricity generated by them is converted to alternating current (AC) electricity by an inverter. In domestic installations the inverter is often installed in the loft so that the DC cable run can kept as short as possible to avoid cable losses.

 The AC output from the inverter is then connected into the main fuse box or consumer unit via a generation meter. The generation meter is likely to be fitted near the existing import meter.

Isolators are also fitted at various points in the circuit so that the system can be turned off  whilst installation or maintenance work is being carried out.

 The output from the consumer unit then feeds the electric sockets and lighting circuits as usual. If there is sufficient locally generated electricity available this will be used first in supplying the household circuits, if more electricity is needed than is being generated then the extra will be taken from the grid.

 To make the most out your system it is worthwhile trying to use the appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines during daylight hours when free electricity is being generated.

 A separate monitoring device is available to help you get the best out of your system. This will tell you how much electricity you are generating, and how much electricity you are consuming at any given time.

 The drawing illustrates  how a Solar PV system is connected  to the existing AC mains supply.

How Solar PV Systems Work

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Schematic Drawing of a Typical Solar PV System

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Each solar panel consists of a number of silicon crystalline cells . These cells convert daylight from the sun to direct current (DC) electricity by what is known as the photovoltaic process or PV for short.


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