Solar panels, also called photovoltaics (PV), use the energy from the sun to create electricity for your home. These panels are made up of many cells that are made of silicon or another semi-conducting material. When light hits these cells, it creates an electrical current. You can generate your own renewable electricity by installing solar panels on your home. Solar panels can work even on cloudy days, but they will produce more electricity when there is stronger sunshine. Each panel generates about 355 watts of energy in strong sunlight. A typical solar PV system has 10 panels and produces direct current (DC) electricity. To use this electricity in your home, an inverter is needed to convert it to alternating current (AC). This electricity can be used in your home or sent back to the grid.
Space is an important factor to consider when installing solar panels. On average, a solar panel system with a capacity of 3.5 kWp will take up about 20 square meters of roof space. To get the maximum amount of electricity, it is best to have the panels facing south on an unshaded roof. East or west facing roofs can also work, but they may produce 15-20% less electricity than a south-facing roof.
If there are any nearby buildings, trees, or chimneys that could cast shadows on your roof, this could reduce the performance of your solar panels. In some cases, it may be possible to use special devices called "optimisers" to minimize the effects of shading. However, these optimisers will not produce more electricity and are only useful if you have shading issues. If your roof is not shaded, you do not need to use optimisers.
In most cases, you do not need to get planning permission to install solar panels (also called photovoltaic or PV panels) on your property. These types of panels are generally considered "permitted developments." However, there are some exceptions, so it is always a good idea to check with your local planning office before starting any installation work. If you live in a listed building, conservation area, or national park, there may be additional restrictions that you need to consider.
If you plan to install solar PV panels on your home, you must register the system with your Distribution Network Operator (DNO). This is the company that is responsible for providing electricity to your home. Your installer should be able to handle this registration process for you.
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