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Environmental answers - the truth!

February 20th, 2007

In the first of a series of environmental answers provided for us by the dynamic and ever-growing Bovey Climate Action, we take a look at the truth behind solar panels, and yes, there is a need to be so dramatic.

Solar panels, the truth part one:

First there are two types of panels you will see on people’s houses:

1)”Photo voltaic” [Convert sunlight into DC electricity] and (today’s offering)
2)”Solar Heating” [Capture sunlight and provide a means to heat water] (err, check us out tomorrow for more on solar heating.


Unless you are willing to invest some serious money (several thousand
pounds) into a large number of Photo Voltaic panels, storage batteries, inverter and a battery management system - one or two Photo Voltaic panels will not provide anything like enough energy to run your house!

Sadly, there is a misconception that you can stick a couple of PV panels on your roof and start selling your surplus electricity back to the power company. This is simply not the case.

To put things in perspective - on a sunny day a typical PV solar panel (costing £300-£500) might generate enough electricity to light a single 40 watt light bulb (While the sun is shining.) - If anyone has electricity to sell after this, I would suggest they get out more often!

What PV panels are great for is charging batteries. With a large capacity bank of batteries and a device called an “inverter” [converts battery DC voltage into household AC voltage] - it is possible to top up the battery bank with the PV solar panels and then use the energy stored in the batteries to provide a burst of energy to power household appliances and perhaps low energy lighting.

Unless you have a sizable array of PV Panels (say 12 or more) and a large battery bank, PV Solar Panels are not that practical for the average home user. Also they generate energy only during the day and work best when it is sunny (we do not live in Spain!).

These facts do not stop salesmen from selling very expensive PV panels to the unaware! If anyone is serious about installing PV Solar Panels - put them in touch and we will be happy to give them good advice on what to expect and the real cost of ownership.

This wonderfully informative column has been provided by Bovey Climate Action, check ‘em out.

Posted by Cptn

Entry Filed under: Society

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