Like any new technology, getting your head around new terms such as mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline and hybid moduels and knowing the difference between a kWh and kWp can be a challenge and that is where we come in.

What is solar PV?

Solar electricity is produced when the sun's energy is captured using photovoltaic (PV) cells.  This solar radiation energy is then converted into direct current (dc like your car battery if you have car).  This is then converted into alternating current (ac) which can be used to run heating, lighting and appliances in your home.

A system is made up of one or more solar modules, and can be typically found on roofs or on ground mounted installations all of which should ideally face South.  Due to the low voltage of an individual solar cell , several cells are wired in series in the manufacture of a "laminate". The laminate is assembled into a protective weatherproof enclosure, thus making a photovoltaic module or solar panel.  Modules may then be strung together into a photovoltaic array.

The electricity generated can be stored, used to charge batteries, used directly or fed into the electricity grid system in return for a Feed in Tariff (FiT) paid to the solar electricity system owners.

As of 2010, solar photovoltaics generate electricity in more than 100 countries and is the fastest growing power-generation technology in the world. Between 2004 and 2009, grid-connected PV capacity increased at an annual average rate of 60 percent, to some 21 GW.  Such installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or built into the roof or walls of a building. This is known as Building Integrated Photovoltaics or BIPV for short.  Off-grid PV accounts for an additional 3–4 GW.

Driven by advances in technology and increases in manufacturing scale and sophistication, the cost of photovoltaics has declined steadily since the first solar cells were manufactured.  Net metering and financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity, have supported solar PV installations in many countries.

In the UK, the introduction of the feed-in-tariff in 2010 caused a ten fold increase in installations in one year, jumping from 4.5MW to 45MWp in less than 12 months.  This rate is increasing as home and business owners and investors realise the profitability and effectiveness of the technology.

information provided by:http://www.decc.gov.uk