Solar PV explained

How the system works

Solar panels capture radiation from the sun and transfer the energy in the form of DC electricity; this is then converted into AC electricity using an inverter. At this point your household appliances can use the AC electricity or the excess can be fed back into the national grid.

Types of solar PV panels

They are four basic types of PV panel: monocrystalline, polycrystalline (or multicrystalline), hybrid and amorphous silicon. All are made from silicon, but differ in the way the silicon is cut and treated. 

PV panels will differ in efficiency (how much of the sun's energy is used by the system per unit area) and in price. Monocrystalline cells tend to be more efficient than polycrystalline cells (13-17% efficiency compared with 11-15% efficiency), but polycrystalline cells can be cheaper. 

Hybrid cells combine crystalline cells with another cell type, thin film. This makes them even more efficient (17%+), but they cost more. 

So in deciding which type of solar cells to go for, it's best to look at cost per Watt (£/W) of power output. And when comparing quotes, make sure you know what type of solar PV cells you are being quoted for.

How long does it take to install?

It depends on the size of the system and there can be quite a lot of other factors which dictate the length of time it takes to install. But generally speaking an installation can be installed, commissioned and handed over in as little as 2-3 days. 


Warranty's and guarantees on solar panels are extensive, most manufacturers will offer a 25 year guarantee on the performance of the panel and is not to be confused with a warranty which covers for any defects such as cracked glass etc. In truth a solar panel is quite a robust product and has no working parts therefore giving it huge life expectancy and the reason that the manufacturers have the confidence to offer 25 year performance guarantee's. 

21st Century install a wide variety of brands but once again prefer the larger branded products such as Panasonic, Hyundai, Canadian and Suntellite. 

This is a typical inverter for a domestic installation. standard warranties are only 5 years on an inverter but we do install some which come with a 10 year warranty. It is important that we make sure the inverter will work in harmony with the panels and things such as pitch, orientation and shading all have to be taken into account when choosing the correct inverter. There are optional extra's available such as bluetooth display units. 

21st Century only use the best inverter's on the market such as SMA, Power One and Samil.

Contact Andy 

Phone: 01664 812225

Mobile: 07791 583498


16 Saxelby Road, 


Melton Mowbray, 


LE14 3TU

Company No: 07742151

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