Solar Photovoltaics (PV)
• Solar electric systems, also known as PV or photo-voltaics, use crystalline silicon cells to produce electricity from sunlight.
Since April 2010 homeowners and businesses have been able to install PV systems and be paid for the electricity they produce through the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT). The tariff guarantees payment of 13.88p for every Kilowatt hour (kWh) (or unit) of electricity your system generates – regardless of whether you use that generated electricity or not – with a bonus of 4.64p for every kWh sent back to the grid. Electricity you use from the PV system saves you buying electricity from your utility company, resulting in greater savings on top of your FIT tariff payments. The tariff runs for 20 years from whenever your system is registered with the scheme and is also tax-free for domestic installations, generating average returns of 8%-10% on your investment.
The most productive PV systems are sited on a South facing roof with no shading from trees or buildings but South East and South West or even East/West facing roofs can still be productive. PV panels are connected to an inverter which converts the DC current from the panels to normal AC mains current compatible with your home or business and for selling back to the grid.