Large amounts of solar panels are grouped together to form solar farms. In the UK, solar farms are titled in a Southerly direction, to maximise the sunlight captured by the panels. Solar panels are constructed out of photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells within the panel are held between layers of semi conductive materials like silicon. Each layer of silicon has different electrical conductivity.
When packets of energy from sunlight, called photons, hit the panels they knock off electrons from the silicon and create an electrical field, known as the photoelectric effect creating the current necessary to produce electricity. This current is then passed into an inverter, where it is changed from direct current to alternating current. The electrical energy is sent to a transformer that raises the voltage coming from the inverter, from 400V to between 11-33kV. This minimises energy losses as energy is distributed to the users. The transformer then directs the electrical current through underground cables to the solar farm control building and substation where the voltage can be further increased to 66kV for export to the grid.
The output of the solar farm is measured at this point and the electricity is sent into the grid via infrastructure such as cables and overhead lines. The current is then sent into the national grid, to power homes, hospitals, schools, offices and more. Our Barnsdale Solar project will generate a capacity of up to 50MW, enough to meet c12,000 homes with their electricity needs every year.
Find out more about solar PV by looking at the projects page on our website: www.banksgroup.co.uk/renewablesprojects/