Solar Panels – The Engine of your system
Solar Panels are sometimes referred to as PV Panels or modules, which as the name implies (photo meaning “light” and voltaic meaning “electricity”), convert sunlight directly into electricity. A panel is a group of cells connected electrically and packaged into a frame, which can then be grouped together to form a Solar PV system.
Photovoltaic cells are made of special materials called semiconductors. Basically, when light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. The energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely.
PV cells also all have one or more electric field that acts to force electrons freed by light absorption to flow in a certain direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by placing metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell, we can draw that current off for external use, say, to power a home or business. This current, together with the cell’s voltage (which is a result of its built-in electric field or fields), defines the power (or wattage) that the solar cell can produce.
That’s the basic process !! From here it gets a bit more technical as there are three primary technologies namely mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline and thin film.
We recognise the need to offer all three technologies so have tried to focus on two key drivers namely quality and value for money. Our first priority is to ensure we are dealing with reputable manufacturers that will be around to honour warranty commitments, this has and always will be the most important factor. There is a significant consolidation of manufacturers going on at present and a number of smaller players will struggle to stay above water as they are reliant on supply of poly silicon, wafers or cells from other companies. A number of key markets in Europe will determine the level of consolidation but it is happening regardless.
The second is to align ourselves with brands that offer value for money and a solid road map for reducing prices. This as we know will ensure the long sustainability of our industry and our individual businesses.