Wind Turbines

What it looks like

A photovoltaic (PV) system is made up of a number of components, both internally and externally. These components are common to all systems, whether it is a 1kWp domestic system or a 5MWp utility-sized system.

Below gives an overview of the main components you are likely to see.

Photovoltaic Module

The photovoltaic module, or panel, is located outside and converts the sun’s energy into electricity.

In order to gain maximum performance, it ideally needs to be positioned facing as near South as possible, pitched between 30 – 50 degrees, with minimum over-shadowing.

The photovoltaic modules are usually installed on a sloping roof or mounted on an “a-frame” in the case of flat roofs. However, it is also possible to install on a “stand-alone” structure which can be orientated and pitched to optimise performance.

Click here download module specifications (PDF)

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The electricity produced by photovoltaic panels is in direct current (DC). The energy used within your property is in alternative current (AC). As such the energy needs to be converted and this is done by using an inverter.

The inverter is sized according to the kWp site of the system. A 1kWp system will have a different sized inverter to a 10kWp system. For larger commercial installations, a number of inverters may be required.

The inverter is installed as close to the PV modules as possible to reduce the loss of energy. For domestic systems, this is usually within the loft space.

AC/DC Isolators

As a PV system produces electricity, the system may need to be isolated when maintenence work is required. This is achieved by the inclusion of isolators, normally 2 AC isolators (one by the inverter and one by the MCB board) and 1 DC isolator. These work on the same premise as a light switch and do not interfere with the overall running of a photovoltaic system.

Generation Meter

A Generation Meter is installed to measure the amount of electricity produced by a photovoltaic system. The Generation Meter enables you to understand how much energy you are saving locally and how much energy is being sent back to the National Grid. The meter is normally located near to the Consumer Board (Fuse box).

Visual Display

For larger commercial or community schemes, a visual display can be included. This graphically shows visitors the performance of the system and the amount of Carbon saved. TThis is a great way of promoting energy efficiency and educating others on sustainable matters.

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