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Solar Power Systems FAQ

What is the difference between solar panels (power) and solar hot water?

Solar panels take light from the sun and make electricity. Solar hot water systems take heat from the sun and heat water.

It’s easy to remember : Heat from the sun heats the water and light from the sun turns on the lights.

How do solar power systems work?

Solar power systems convert the energy from sunlight into direct current (d.c.) electricity. An inverter then converts this direct current to alternating current (a.c.), to make it compatible with grid electricity. Solar power systems should be oriented to the North and tilted in order to generate as much electricity from the sun as possible.

How reflective are solar panels?

Solar panels are designed to absorb as much light as possible to generate the maximum amount of electricity. Therefore the materials typically have no or low reflectivity.

Do I need permission from the electricity supplier before I install solar panels?

Yes. Electricity suppliers are not obliged to connect your system to the grid. Before you purchase a grid-connected solar power system, make sure you check with your local electricity supplier about connection and metering arrangements.

How long will the panels last?

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV moudles, are built to last more than 25 years. In fact, many solar panels installed as early as the 1980s are still working at expected capacity. Not only are solar panels very reliable, solar panel longevity has increased hugely over the past 20 years.

Why use solar power?

• It is quiet, clean and reduces electricity bills. (especially as electricity prices increase)

• It avoids the impacts of fossil fuel power stations such as greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution.

• It can add value to your house, and make an interesting and unique architectural feature.

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