Solar Photovoltaics

More energy comes to the Earth from the Sun in one hour than we use in a whole year. Some of this solar energy can be captured and converted into electricity using photovoltaics (PV). Albert Einstein was the first to explain the physics behind the phenomenon in 1904, for which he won a Nobel peace prize. It took until the 1950’s for solar PV cells to become commercially available, and they were so expensive to make, their use was restricted to space satellites.

Today PV cells are normally made from the same materials that are found in microchips: semi-conducting silicon wafers. Like microchips the cost of producing PV cells has been steadily falling. Meanwhile, the climate has been changing and the cost of fossil fuels used to generate most of our electricity has been rising. We are now at a point when it makes economic and social sense to switch to solar power. Oxbridge Solar uses cost effective energy efficient systems to enable you make use of technology advances and benefit the environment.

Photovoltaic Modules and Grid Connection

PV cells are normally 15cm x 15cm in size. Usually they are combined together and sandwiched between a glass/ laminate frame and a backing sheet to from a PV module. A collection of PV modules at the same site is known as a PV array. PV arrays produce direct current (DC) which is converted using an inverter into the alternating current (AC) used in most household appliances.

A grid-connected PV array is connected from the inverter to the mains electricity supply, enabling any spare electricity (not used on site) to be ‘exported’ to the national grid. Oxbridge Solar offers high quality PV systems enabling you to make use of this free energy and benefit from a guaranteed income from the Government guaranteed Feed-in Tariffs whilst helping to reduce your carbon footprint.

 

PV requires only daylight - not direct sunlight - to generate electricity. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers, causing electricity to flow. The stronger the light, the more electricity is generated. The most efficient PV arrays are on unshaded south-facing pitched roofs, although arrays are still economical when laid horizontally or vertically - the chart on the left shows how position affects efficiency. To maintain efficiency, panels should be kept clean - arrays angled at more than 10 degrees are normally self-cleansed by the rain -  other than that, there’s very little maintenance required. The solar panels we use are warranted by their manufacturers for up to 25 years, and whilst there is an estimated degradation in performance by 20% over 25 years, they should continue to provide you with free power for many years after that with estimates of 50 years common throughout the industry.

 

The strength of a PV array is measured in kilowatt peak (kWp) - that's the amount of energy the cell generates in full sunlight.

Oxbridge Solar will conduct a free, no obligation and no hard sell, site survey to determine the best position for your PV array and the number of panels required to meet your needs. We will provide you with an accurate estimate of costs and benefits.