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Unit 10
Quakers Coppice
Crewe Gates

Solar Energy, Photovoltaic Systems

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are often known as solar panels, and use energy from the sun to create electricity. PV requires only daylight, rather than direct sunlight, to generate electricity.

How solar panels work
When light shines on a solar panel, it creates an electric field across layers of silicon in the cell, causing electricity to flow. The greater the intensity of the light, the greater the flow of electricity is. Power can be used straight away or linked back into the power grid.

Installing solar panels
You can use PV systems for a building with a roof or wall that faces within 90 degrees of south. No other buildings or large trees should overshadow it. If the roof surface is in shadow for parts of the day, less electricity will be produced. Solar panels are not light. The roof must be strong enough to take their weight, especially if the panels are placed on top of existing tiles. Solar panels come in a variety of shapes and colours, including:

  • grey 'solar tiles' that look like roof tiles
  • transparent panels that you can use on conservatories or glass to provide shading as well as generate electricity

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