Solar PV

A solar electric (photovoltaic) panel employs highly advanced silicon-based electronics to generate electricity. With no moving parts there is little to go wrong and they should last for decades.

Photovoltaic panels are not constrained by your demand for electricity. If you generate more electricity than you need, you can export the surplus to the grid and a receive a payment for this. When the sun goes down, you can buy it back. This is all done seamlessly and invisibly by the technology that comes with the photovoltaic panels. You can just sit back and enjoy your homemade electricity.

From the panels, pipes and cable is routed through the roof to the house below, connecting to the inverter which converts the direct current output of the panels into 240V AC. This output is fed into the consumer panel next to your electricity meter.

If you are considering photovoltaic panels or slates, carefully compare the efficiency of different products as this can range from 8% to 24% and get several different quotes before you proceed.  Solar Photovoltaic technology is rapidly changing, improving in efficiency and reducing in cost, so it makes sense to install the most efficient and up to date system you can. If you have limited roof space, you should opt for the most efficient product you can afford.

Solar panels can be installed on any south-facing roof or, with an appropriate frame, on a flat roof. The roof has to be strong enough to support the weight of the panel and care is needed with fixings and routing for pipes and cables to ensure that the weather protection of the roof is not compromised. However, the roof covering itself does not have to be replaced – an important benefit for installation on listed buildings.

Most solar photovoltaic systems are installed as panels standing proud of the roof, however one way of reducing the visual impact is to integrate them into the roof finish itself. This can be achieved with Heritage solar slates which are designed specifically for traditional buildings as a replacement for traditional slates. They remain, however, an expensive option and the rather shiny solar slates still look different to a slate roof, and will inevitably have an impact on the historic fabric of a building if its roof currently has original slates in place. They can be integrated into a section of an existing roof or replace all the existing slates. They are designed to be installed in the same way as ordinary slates but must of course be wired up to an inverter as well.