Solar photovoltaics technology (PV) works by capturing the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells. The cells convert the light into electricity, used to power household appliances and lighting. The cells do not need direct sunlight to generate electricity, they will still produce a little electricity on a cloudy day.
The PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light hits the cell, it is absorbed and creates an electric field across the layers. The more intense the light, the more electricity is produced. Individual cells only provide a small amount of electricity, so they are generally grouped together.
Solar cells produce Direct Current (DC) electricity. Direct Current is converted into Alternating Current (AC) using an inverter for use within the home or exported to the grid. The solar array is usually mounted on a roof but also can be mounted on the ground. The other option for mounting solar arrays is roof integrated PV in the form of solar tiles or slates.
Case Study: Northleaze Primary School, North Somerset
Northleaze solar PV system is North Somerset’s first community-owned school solar PV system. The project was funded and is owned by Low Carbon Gordano, a co-operative in North Somerset who help local communities to reduce their energy costs and become more sustainable.
Northleaze Primary school buys their electricity from Low Carbon Gordano at a discounted rate which reduce their energy bills. The school is also reducing their carbon footprint.