The UK government has made a commitment to generate 15% of electricity from renewables by 2020 echoing a similar target from the EU. The European Union Committee of the House of Lords believe that micro-generation has the potential to contribute significantly to the UK’s long-term emission reduction goals.
Solar photovoltaic panels convert sunlight to electricity, at an efficiency of up to 20% with the latest 250w panels made by Sanyo . An inverter is needed to convert the electricity generated to 240v so that it can be fed into the household system. We have chosen solar photovoltaic because it is the main renewable technology suitable for an urban as well as a rural environment. Solar installations do not present the same planning problems as wind and planning permission for installation on urban roofs outside conservation areas is usually a formality.
The climate in the UK, to many people’s surprise, is well suited for solar panels. Germany, also located in Northern Europe, has similar amounts of annual sunshine and intensity of solar radiation to Southern England and is the world leader in solar pv installations. It is a misconception that solar is all about sunlight – it is in fact all about daylight. Although the largest volume of electricity is generated during hours of sunshine, PV panels continue to generate at lower levels, even under overcast skies.
According to Andrew Lee, UK General Manager of Sharp Solar, “some of the biggest markets in the world for solar are Benelux and Sweden, where the temperatures are lower – and lower temperatures do mean your solar panels will work more energy efficiently. The higher the temperature the less efficient it becomes”.