I very often get asked "How do Solar Panels work" it is often followed by "We don't get any sunshine in this part of the world".
This is my reply; Solar(PV) panels work in daylight, they don't need full sunshine so even when it's overcast
you will still generate some electricity. The Panels on your roof will generate electricity in
DC which is the same as a battery, this power is passed through an inverter to change it to
AC so that it can be used in your home. The clever part of the inverter is that it constantly
senses the voltage coming in to your house and converts your generated electricity to a
slightly higher voltage, it does this so that you will use your generated electricity first before
buying any in the normal way. Any electricity that is generated, whether you use it it or not
will attract the current rate of the Feed in Tariff (currently 15.4 pence per Kilowatt).
What is the Feed in Tariff ?
Feed in Tariff is guaranteed for 20 years by act of parliament and is index linked, so once
signed up to a Tariff it cannot be changed other than the yearly increase due to inflation. If
you use the electricity that you generate you will be buying less from your electricity
supplier, this is where, with a little alteration to the way you use your washing machine and
dryer etc, you can make a big difference to your annual bill. Any electricity that you haven't
used in your property is sold to your electricity supplier (currently at 4.3 pence per
kilowatt). The Feed in Tariff process works like this; Generally I will sign you up to receive
the Feed in Tariff from your electricity supplier. Once registered with them they will ask you
to take a reading once every 3 months from your generation meter that I will install for you,
they take this reading and give you 15.4 pence for every kilowatt generated, they will also
give you 4.3 pence for 50% of the number of kilowatts, this is an assumption that you have
used 50% of your generated electricity. The total value of the 15.4pence and 4.3 pence is
then paid in to a bank account of your choice.
To summarise, you benefit in 3 ways from
your Solar System,
firstly the income from the Feed in Tariff,
Secondly the savings on your
electricity bill and
thirdly from the surplus generated electricity sold to the electricity
supplier. From my experience the generation of my own electricity