Solar PV electricity panels
Generate cheap, green electricity from sunlight.
Solar electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV) capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells don't need direct sunlight to work - they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.
The benefits of solar electricity
- Cut your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.
- Get paid for the electricity you generate: the government’s Feed-In Tariffs pay you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it.
- Sell electricity back to the grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can't use it, you can sell the surplus back to the grid. Read more about feed-in tariffs and selling electricity.
- Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is green, renewables energy and doesn't release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of CO2 per year - that's more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.
How do solar photovoltaic (PV) cells work?
PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can be mounted on your roof.
The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That's the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles.
Why should I choose a Solar PV system?
Costs, savings and maintenance
An average system is 2.9 kWp and we can provide a range of manufacturers systems costing between £7,000 and £11,000 depending on the system you specify. We have systems starting from 1.5kwp and can be installed from less than £4,800 (prices inclusive of VAT at 5%). Most domestic PV systems cost around £3,500 to £4,500 per kWp installed, though small systems cost proportionately more. Costs vary between installers, so it is important to get several quotes. Other factors are:
the more electricity the system can generate, the more it costs but the more it could save
larger systems are usually more cost-effective than smaller systems (up to 4 kWp)
PV panels are all around the same price per kWp, but PV tiles cost much more than a typical system made up of panels
panels built into a roof are more expensive than those that sit on top.
A 2.9kWp system can generate up to 2,500 kilowatt hours of electricity a year - that's around three quarters of a typical household's electricity needs - and will save over a tonne of carbon dioxide every year.
If your system is eligible for the Feed-In Tariff scheme it could generate savings and income of nearly £1,200 per year - you will get paid for both the electricity you generate and use, and what you don't use and export to the grid.
Solar PV needs little maintenance - you'll just need to keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don't begin to overshadow them. The panels should last 25 years or more.
The Energy Saving Trust supports the uptake of microgeneration so long as the technologies:
- are suitable for the property
- will lead to carbon and energy savings
- are installed by someone certificated by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme using MCS-certificated products.
Take advantage of our latest offers on Solar PV. Call us free from a landline on 0800 043 9569 or from a mobile on 0333 577 9569 (calls charged the same as 01,02 numbers and included in bundle minutes) where we will be happy to help.