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Solar PV (photovoltaic) uses energy from the sun to create electricity to run appliances and lighting. PV requires only daylight, not direct sunlight to generate electricity and so can still generate some power on a cloudy day. In order to understand completely how electricity works you would need years of education and training. I will try to explain the basics as simply as possible. Basically, electricity is a lot like water. It works on pressure and volume. Voltage equals pressure and amperage equals volume, the combination of the two equals power. (Wattage)

This being said, there are a few other factors involved. In order to keep the pressure from breaking out of the pipe (the wire) the pipe wall must be thick enough, (the insulation on the wire) and to ensure the volume doesn't break through, the pipe (conductor) must be large enough to accommodate the volume flowing through it. There are two types of electricity AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). There are six known ways to produce electricity; heat, pressure, friction, chemical, light and mechanical.

How does it work?

Photovoltaic systems use cells to convert sunlight into electricity. The PV cell consists of one or two layers of a semi conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers causing electricity to flow. The greater the intensity of the light, the greater the flow of electricity. PV cells are referred to in terms of the amount of energy they generate in full sunlight, know as kilowatt peak or kWp.

The benefits

Producing your own clean power to offset the cost of your electricity, whether you are on or off grid. Backup systems provide power when no grid power is available during outages. The money you save on power can go to other interests such as paying your mortgage down faster thus saving you even more in interest! For example on a $220,000.00 mortgage, if you are saving $150.00 per month by going solar, and you put that savings directly onto your mortgage, you can save over $10,000.00 in interest and cut over two years off your mortgage! The resale value of your home will increase!

PV systems produce no greenhouse gases and each kWp can save approximately 455kg of carbon dioxide emissions per year, adding up to about 11 tonnes over a system's lifetime.

Is it suitable for my home?

You can use PV systems for a building with a roof or wall that faces within 90 degrees of south, as long as no other buildings or large trees overshadow it. If the roof surface is in shadow for parts of the day, the output of the system decreases.