PV Solar Photovoltaic Systems

How does solar pv work diagram

How Does Solar PV Work?

A solar photovoltaic (PV) panel is made up of several silicon cell wafers, connected to each other in series. When a photon of light from the sun makes contact with the silicon cell a photovoltaic effect occurs, generating electricity. The most efficient solar panels can convert more than 20% of sunlight into electricity.

The renewable energy generated by PV solar panels is in DC 'direct current', whereas, the "mains" electricity we all use is AC - 'alternating current'. In order to utilise the electricity from the panels it must be converted from DC to AC. An additional device called an Inverter undertakes this role along with constantly monitoring the electricity coming in from the national grid, and then modifying the DC electricity generated by the solar panels to match it perfectly.

The electricity generated by the solar PV system is automatically used to supply a property with any excess being automatically sold straight back to the supplier or used to charge a Solar PV Battery. 

Any shortfall of power, such as peak use times or at night, is topped up by the supplier or discharged from the solar battery storage system.

Solar PV operates on light intensity, not heat, so even if the day seems cold, if there is light, the system will be generating electricity, PV systems will therefore generate electricity all year round. 

Cost and Benefits - The Feed in Tariff (FIT)

Over the course of a year, a solar photovoltaic system will save you money by reducing your electricity bill, and will earn you an income for every unit of electricity that you generate. 

This revenue is known as the Feed in Tariff (FIT). Under the FIT scheme energy suppliers make regular payments to consumers who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources. This means the initial capital outlay of purchasing a solar PV system is reclaimed quicker. 

The feed-in tariff only pays this increased rate for a set number of years, which for photovoltaic's (PV) has been set at 20 years and is index linked. 

In addition, any excess electricity is exported back to the grid earning an extra "Export" payment. This is a 'deemed' payment based on 50% of the electricity generated and is paid at this level whether the home has used 0% or 100%. It is therefore more advantageous to use as much of the free electricity as possible. This is where smart energy products and solar battery storage can make a difference to payback times.

The property will need to have an Energy Performance Certificate with a rating of D or higher in order to achieve the the high FIT rate levels.

Solar Panel Manufacturers


Panasonic Solar panel range

For more than 30 years Panasonic has been setting standards for the development of new, innovative and high performance photovoltaic products. Panasonic photovoltaic modules are highly efficient and produce more power per square meter than traditional products and therefore you will need fewer modules on your roof to accomplish very high performance.


LG solar pv photovoltaic mono x panels

With more than 50 years of experience as a global pioneer in electronics technology, LG Electronics stands ready to harness the power of the sun for you. Backed by 25 years of intense research and development far surpassing industry standards, LG Solar's photovoltaic modules are uniquely designed to offer the superior quality, field tested performance, durability and reliability customers over the world have come to expect from LG.

JA Solar

JA Solar percium solar panels

JA Solar, the world’s top cell producer since 2010, has firmly established itself as a leading module supplier. Capitalising on its strength in solar cell technology, it is committed to provide modules with unparalleled conversion efficiency, yield efficiency, and reliability to enable customers to maximise the returns of their PV projects.

Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar panels

Canadian Solar Inc. is one of the leading solar manufacturers in the world, delivering industry leading high efficiency solar cells, solar modules, solar power systems and off grid solar power application solutions. Canadian Solar was founded in 2001 in Toronto, Canada by Dr. Shawn Qu, President and CEO of Canadian Solar.

Tesla Solar Roof Tiles

Tesla Textured Finish Glass Solar Roof Tiles

Solar Roof complements your home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. With an integrated Powerwall battery, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning your home into a personal utility. Glass solar tiles are so durable they are warrantied for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.

Solar Inverter Manufacturers


Solaredge optimised solar pv inverter systems

SolarEdge invented an intelligent inverter solution that revolutionized the way power is harvested and managed in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The SolarEdge direct current (DC) optimized inverter system maximizes power generation at the individual PV module level while lowering the cost of energy produced by the solar PV system.



As a leading global specialist for photovoltaic system technology, SMA is setting the standards today for the decentralized and renewable energy supply of tomorrow. 3,000 SMA employees in 19 countries have devoted themselves to this task. Our innovative solutions for all photovoltaic applications and our unsurpassed service offer our customers worldwide greater independence in meeting their energy needs.