What is Photovoltaic Solar Energy?

Photovoltaic cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity. A photovoltaic system requires only daylight (not direct sunlight) to generate electricity.

What is a Photovoltaic system composed of?

Photovoltaic Panels to convert the sun energy into electricity

An inverter to convert the direct current into alternating current

A mounting system for the panels

Cabling and components

A meter to record the amount of electricity generated

What is an Inverter?

An inverter is required to convert the direct current (DC) electricity made by your solar panels to alternating current (AC) electricity so it can be used at your site or exported back to the national grid.

What is the Feed-In-Tariff?

Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) came into effect as of 1st April 2010. This is a scheme that requires energy suppliers to pay you for the electricity you generate from renewable energies, such as solar panels.

The scheme guarantees a minimum payment for 20 years on all electricity generated by your system, irrespective of if you use it yourself or sell it back to the grid. These payments are in addition to the bill savings made by using the electricity generated on-site and any income you earn from selling surplus power to your electricity supplier.

For more information please visit the Energy Savings Trust website.

Do I need direct sunlight?

Solar photovoltaic panels require only daylight (not direct sunlight) to generate electricity.  Solar panels work fine in ambient light and will still produce significant energy in foggy or overcast conditions. In fact, solar panels are actually more efficient at cooler temperatures than hot ones.

Do I need planning permission?

Planning permission is not required for roof mounted PV systems (except on listed buildings and conservation areas).

Are there any operational costs?

Solar PV panels operate for many years with very little maintenance or intervention after their initial installation, meaning operating costs are extremely low compared to other renewable energy systems.

Just an annual clean of the array is advised to ensure the solar panels are generating electricity at their maximum performance level.

Are the Solar Photovoltaic Panels guaranteed?

All of Alvesta Energy's solar panels come with a 25 year performance guarantee.

What happens if my PV system produces more energy than I use?

Your solar PV panels will generally produce more electricity than you are able to use so any excess electricity will feed into the national grid.  Your energy company will make a payment for your input.  Your energy bills are then further reduced and none of the electricity generated goes to waste.

What return can I expect on my investment?

8% is the minimum one should anticipate by way of return on investment year 1 and in excess of 10% is possible, with energy prices forecast to outpace inflation in the coming years, return on investment is likely to improve substantially as the years roll by.

What maintenance is required?

Solar PV systems need very little maintenance.  Although rainfall will wash away most debris, an annual clean with warm water will keep the system performing at its best.  A dirty panel will be less effective in collecting energy from the sun if the rays are being blocked by dirt and grime.