PV (Photo Voltaic) solar panels convert sunlight into electricity.
To encourage the use of solar panels the UK Government legislates that electricity companies, for instance EDF, nPower and E.ON, must:
- Pay householders for each KWh (‘Kilo-Watt hour’) of electricity the solar panel installation produces
- If the householder does not use the electricity the panels produce it is ‘exported’ (or ‘fed in’) to the National Grid.
The payments to the householder have become known as FITs (Feed In Tariffs) payments.
To get FITs payments an MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) approved installer must install MCS approved solar panels.
Householders with solar panels also benefit from a cut in their electricity bill when they use the free electricity instead of electricity from the National Grid.
Solar panels use the ‘photovoltaic’ effect to convert sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic materials produce electricity when exposed to light – this is the photovoltaic effect. Solar panels use photovoltaic material to convert light into electricity.