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Photovoltaic (PV) Applications for Northern Ireland (NI)

Posted on March 14, 2012 @ 11:20 pm
Photovoltaic PV Northern Ireland

Photovoltaic PV Northern Ireland

Photovoltaic Applications for Homes & Businesses in Northern Ireland

With energy demands increasing globally (and expected to triple by 2050) there has never been a greater need to find an energy source that is environmentally friendly and meets Northern Ireland’s renewable energy needs, photovoltaic cells (PV) have the potential to do so.

Photovoltaic cells work by converting sunlight into electricity without producing harmful pollution and emissions. PV cells have many applications however the two most common ones are; Utility Interactive and Stand alone.

Utility Interactive Photovoltaic PV Installations

Utility Interactive PV have the back-up of the local power supply in the event that the PV system cannot provide all the energy required and would be the most common type of installation in the northern hemisphere (Northern Ireland)

Utility interactive systems are often used in homes or commercial buildings to offset electricity costs when the PV system is not large enough to satisfy all the energy demands. These systems are especially attractive in displacing power bought from Power NI, or other ESCOs during peak demand hours. Since Northern Ireland’s incumbent power suppliers incorporate a peak demand surcharge in their billing process for commercial customers, PV systems can significantly reduce electrical bills. A properly designed PV system with battery storage can be used to provide power during peak load periods, potentially leading to greater savings.

Solar Panels PV installed by Amber Green Energy help companies who what to substitute their energy demands with stored electricity at peak times.

Standalone systems

Standalone PV systems are ones that do not have a utility connection;

Solar powered Street Lighting

Solar powered Street Lighting

The simplest stand-alone systems are direct systems, which use electricity as it is produced. Often, however, demand for electricity exists when the sun is not shining. In that case, a battery storage system is used. In these systems, the PV array charges the system’s batteries during sunlight hours, and the batteries supply electricity at night and during cloudy periods. If necessary, stand-alone systems also may use conventional generators as backup systems. Both direct and battery storage systems can provide DC and AC power.

Standalone PV applications are:  Lighting – as Standalone systems can store electricity for later use they have become popular for lighting billboards and advertising space, road safety signs, information signs and car park lighting.

Standalone PV systems also provide energy needs for remote site electrification i.e. providing a power supply for areas that do not have access to a grid connection e.g. building sites. Standalone PV systems can often provide un-interrupted power availability.

All Photovoltaic systems can also offer a dual purpose as they can provide water heating further reducing energy waste. PV systems are getting cheaper and will continue to do so as they continually challenge conventional forms of electricity generation.