Robert Porteous
Roofing, Scaffolding & Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Specialists: the North East's first MCS Accredited roofer. We also now specialise in fibre glass roofing.
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t: 01665 833 270
M: 07709 165 734
e: rob@robporteous.co.uk

Basics - Understanding Photovoltics

The photoelectric effect is the basis chemical process by which a PV cell converts the photons in sunlight into electricity. When light shines on a pv cell, it may be reflected, absorbed, or pass right through. That light which passes through (approx. 40%) contributes towards the generation of electricity.

The energy in the absorbed light stimulates the flow of electrons in the atoms of the PV cell (semi-conducting silicon). These electrons escape from their normal positions in the atoms of the PV material and create a current flow in an electrical circuit which provides the force, or voltage, needed to drive a current through
an external “load”, such as a light bulb.

Commonly known as solar cells, Individual PV cells are electricity-producing devices made of semiconductor materials (amorphous silicon, polycrystalline silicon, monocrystalline silicon to name but a few). These PV
cells come in many sizes and shapes- from smaller than a postage stamp to several inches across. They
are usually connected together to from PV arrays of different sizes and power output.

The size of an array depends on several factors, such as the amount of sunlight available and the power requirements of the consumer.

The modules that make up the array constitute a major part of the PV system, which can also include isolation switches, charge controllers, mounting hardware, power conditioning equipment and batteries
that store the solar energy for use at a later date.

These arrays or modules are connected to an inverter that converts the direct current (DC) produced by
the panels into useful alternating current (AC ) electricity that is delivered to your mains circuit board in
your home/business for normal consumption from your wall sockets.

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