Photovoltaic solar electricity

photovoltaic solar roof at CATPhotovoltaic (PV) panels, also known as solar electric panels, convert sunlight directly into electricity. If you are looking for information on solar panels for producing hot water, please see our solar water heating section.

While the UK is not one of the sunniest countries in the world, there is still a lot of solar energy available for us to use: Over the course of a year, a surface of just one square metre receives around 800 kWh (units) in the form of solar energy - that's a quarter of the annual electricity bill of a typical UK household.

Currently, photovoltaic solar electricity is an expensive technology with high up-front capital costs, and often other investments - particulary energy conservation measures - offer better environmental benefits per pound spent. However, the Feed-in tariff (FIT) incentive scheme means that PV can be financially viable in good locations.

You can use our Solar Calculator to find out how well PV panels would perform on your roof.

It is an unobtrusive technology that can be integrated into buildings (and therefore takes up no additional space), makes no noise or pollution, requires almost no maintenance and can generate renewable electricity for a very long time.

Learn more about photovoltaic solar electricity from our Questions and Answers below.

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