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Origins of Solar Panels
The effect of producing electricity by capturing solar radiation is called photoelectric effect. The first one that discovered that certain materials can produce a small electric current was the French physicist Edmund Bequerel. Solar Panels initially were very expensive and were only used for space crafts. However, as later the technology improved and solar panels became smaller and cheaper, they were also suitable for domestic use.
What Is A Solar Cell?
Solar cells are small devices able to capture sunlight and turn it into electricity. A single cell cannot produce enough electricity but when many are connected together and fixed in a frame, they can produce more electrical energy. Several panels connected together create a solar array.
The Photoelectric Effect
Solar thermal panels or Photovoltaic Solar Panels convert light directly into electrical energy. As the name suggests, Photovoltaic has to with Photo, which means light and voltaic which has to do with electricity.
How Do Roof Solar Panels Work
PV solar panels are made from cells that contain liquid that heats up when it absorbs solar radiation. The cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can be placed on the roof. The energy produced by each cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp), which is the energy that can be generated by each cell at peak performance in a fully sunny day during the summer. Solar PV panels are available from different manufactureurs in a variety of shapes and types.
Pros of Solar Thermal
- As solar panels gather energy from the sun, the only expenses are these of the initial installation and maintenance.
- With solar panels you can reduce your energy bills significantly as you get to rely less on gas and electricity.
- A key benefit is that they are environmental friendly as they have fewer emissions. This is also why they are favoured by the Government.
Cons of Solar Thermal
- Solar thermal energy relies on the sun so it will not be sufficient for the whole year. You will also need a boiler or an immersion-heater to ensure that you have water through the winter.
- Even though the installation cost is high, over the last couple of years the cost has dropped significantly. According to Energy Saving Trust the installation costs around £5,000, while the price of the system varies depending on the size.
Do Solar Panels Work In the UK
If you are considering installing solar panels and you are puzzled about whether it worth the investment or not, you should definitely move on with your decision. Despite the weather not being very sunny in the United Kingdom, solar panels still get to their magic as they rely mostly on light, which can be found even at a cloudy day. Of course, the more light there is the more energy they produce. Also, please keep in mind that PV solar panels use light to produce electricity, not heat.
Even though Britain is not as sunny as Spain, Greece or Africa, the southern part of the UK receives the same amount of sunlight as Germany, which is known for investing heavily in solar power. So far 450.000 households have installed solar panels in the UK. Also, the government introduced the feed-in traffic in 2010 in order to encourage solar power.
image credit: gogreena.co.uk, solarpanelscostuk.org.uk