Solar photovoltaic or PV panels are designed to turn the sun’s energy into electricity. Layers of semi-conducting materials such as silicon form an electrical current when light shines on them. Each panel is made up of smaller modules which contain these materials, typically somewhere between 60 and 80 modules per panel. The panels are then wired together in series to form a string.
The current that comes from the panels is a direct current (DC). In order to utilise this in the home it needs to be changed to an alternating current (AC). This is the job of the inverter, which converts the DC from the panels into AC which flows into your consumer unit and then throughout your property. In general we will use a single inverter for your installation but for large or multi stringed installations more than one inverter might be necessary. We use manufacturer-specific design software to ensure that the electrical characteristics of the inverter match the electrical characteristics of the panels that we are installing.
The Mounting System
Mounting systems differ from installation to installation as every surface that we mount on is different. The component that changes most frequently is the fixing. For roofs this is usually a hook. Roof hooks are designed to sit underneath the roof tiles and screw directly into the timber of your roof, anchoring the system to your property. For flat roofs we can use specially designed hanger bolts, ballast or angled framework to anchor the solar array. Each fixing is designed specifically for the type of roof it is installed on and is manufactured to ensure that no weatherproofing is compromised. Mounting rail and clamps are used to attach the panels to the fixings, all of which are largely hidden by the panels for an aesthetically pleasing finish.
At SMC Solar Ltd we tailor each installation to your requirements and to your property’s characteristics. As well as central inverters and on-roof mounting systems we can use a number of other technologies to achieve the best installation for you. Such solar technologies include micro-inverters, voltage optimisers and, in-roof or ground mounting systems. These technologies are often more expensive but our expert design team can give you advice on the most cost effective solution for you.
The installation itself involves all these components working together. Our experienced electricians and roofers ensure that when a system is installed all components are fitted and connected to the highest regulatory standards and that any questions you have during your installation are addressed.