Photovoltaic Panels

    Photovoltaic panels are becoming a more common sight on the rooftops of our towns and cities.

    Photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of a Birmingham Church

    The technology was first developed in the 1950’s for use in space, but over the last decade it has increasingly been installed back on Earth as we realise we must find answers to the growing energy crisis that is resulting from peak oil and climate change.

    There is lots of information available on the internet about how photovoltaic panels work, as any quick search will reveal.  Here are a couple of paragraphs from the Energy Saving Trust’s website:

    How do solar panels (PV) cells work?

    PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced.  Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can be mounted on your roof.

    The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That's the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles.

    By converting energy from the sun into electricity, we are able to continue making use of it without adding to the
    amount of carbon that is in the atmosphere – clearly it is a great bonus that we can carry on enjoying all the benefits
    that electricity brings to us with much less environmental cost.