As not everyone really understands how solar panels work here is a brief and somewhat simplified explanation. In essence sunlight hits a solar panel and creates a reaction, in turn this reaction generates DC (direct current) power much like the power you get from batteries.
With the free solar panels set up many installers are offering you also get an extra bit of kit called an inverter that turns this DC electricity into useable AC electricity that is then feed into the mains system of your house. The sunnier it is the more energy the panels will generate and so provide you with free electricity. Solar panels depend on light to produce electricity and so will work whether or not it is cloudy.
On cloudy days when the panels may not produce enough to cover your needs and of course at night your power needs are topped up by the grid. On sunny days when your panels are producing more electricity than you need the excess is fed back into the grid. Your electricity provider pays for the excess that is sold back to the grid.
Enough sunlight falls on the earth over a year to provide enough energy for every human on the planet plus enough left over to power the equivalent of 2,500 Earths with the same population. In effect the sun provides all the energy we will ever need. The trick is to capture and convert this energy into useable electricity.
Firms in the UK such as Sharp are constantly developing more efficient solar panels with their latest technology performing at just over 14 percent efficiency. As these panels become more efficient they will be able to turn more of the suns energy into useable electricity.
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The 100 percent renewable energy supplier Good Energy claims the UK could be generating all of its electricity using renewables by 2050.
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