Solar Photovoltaic (“Solar PV”) systems convert light into electricity. The technology is reliable and well established having been in use for decades and there is a large installed base across Europe. Solar PV systems can be installed on rooftops, ground mounted or integrated into building structures.
Once installed there are no moving parts and so ongoing maintenance and operational costs are low. Typical manufacturer guarantees will warrant that their solar panels will still operate at 80% of their maximum rated capacity after 25 years.
The empirical data available makes forecasting the output of a Solar PV system extremely reliable. The electricity and income generated over the lifetime of the system and from feed in tariffs plus export payments are predictable.
While the expected generation output of a solar panel is linked to the level of solar radiation for its location the panels will still produce electricity when there is cloud cover.
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(graphics courtesy of the Energy Savings Trust)