Frequently Asked Questions

 

Photovoltaics in detail

What is photovoltaic electricity?

The term photovoltaic comes from the Greek term "photo" meaning "light" and the term "voltaic" (volts) representing the electrical unit.

Photovoltaics is a solar technology by which light energy is converted into electrical energy by the silicon cells of photovoltaic panels. This does not produce noise, pollution, or CO2.

 

What is a solar cell?

The solar cell or photovoltaic cell absorbs solar energy and transform it into electrical energy. For the manufacture of cells, semi conductor materials capable of carrying electricity are used.

 

What is a solar module?

A solar module is a set or series of solar cells connected together and integrated in a protective envelope.

 

What is the "Silicon"?

Silicon is a derivative of silica, the second most common element in the earth's crust. It is also a main component of sand.

Silicon is one of the components of a photovoltaic cell.

 

What is a solar panel?

The photovoltaic panel consists of several solar modules.These are connected to each other and placed on the structure of a building. The panel installed and connected generates electricity.

Solar panels are mostly mounted on roofs and terraces of buildings and can also be installed in front or embedded into the ground for high power systems.

 

What are the components of a solar power system?

  • Solar modules
  • Mounting systems that hold the solar modules to the frame
  • An inverter, which converts the direct current into alternating current
  • Charge regulator which protects the battery from overload or excessive discharges.
  • Batteries which store the energy produced.
 

What is an inverter?

The current produced by the solar panel is converted into alternative current by an inverter. It allows solar electricity to be"usable"on the electrical distribution grid.

 

What does Watt-peak (Wp) mean?

"Watt-peak" defines the photovoltaic output of a module at temperatures under 25°C and solar radiation of 1 kW/m².

 

Are there different types of solar panels?

There are three types of panels on the market. They are distinguished according to their energy performance:

  • Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest rate of return. Their manufacture is quite complex and makes them more expensive than their performance.
  • Poly or multicrystalline solar panels are the most used today. They offer the most interesting cost/performance rate.
  • The amorphous solar panels or micro-amorphous have a lower rate of return than crystalline panels. They are more effective in low brightness (cloudy, shade).
 

What is the difference between thermal and photovoltaic solar panels?

The thermal solar panel does not generate electricity. It recovers energy from the sun to produce hot water (heating, hot water tank).

 

What is the equipment life span?

A solar panel has a 30 year life span. We ensure productivity for 25 years.
The inverter is guaranteed for 5 years. It is possible to extend it for 20 years.

 

Are panels or photovoltaic tiles fragile, can they easily break?

The photovoltaic modules are designed to withstand and endure severe weather conditions (frost, abrasion, temperature changes, hail...). During storms, the solar panels do not attract lightning.

Their outer surface is composed of a tempered glass which protects the cells connected to each other.

 

Installation and maintenance

What does "BIPV" mean?

To ensure a perfect seal, photovoltaic panels should not be superimposed onthe roof or the facade (rooftop solutions). They replace part of the building and are well integrated into its structure. This is known as BIPV (Building-integrated photovoltaics).

 

Is the installation of photovoltaic panels possible on all types of roof?

Indeed, some roofs do not accept photovoltaics. Either their seal would no longer be maintained, or the roof material does not accept such a facility.

  • Sensitive sealing: Thatch, Lauzes, Zinc
  • Sensitive material: Thatch, green roof, zinc, shingle, tiletar.

Also be aware that the roofs of small area do not permit a photovoltaic system. It is the same for roofs which atticsare insulated by a multi layer coating.

 

Performance

What is the best roof slope for maximum efficiency?

The panels store the more light and provide maximum performance with a southern exposure and an inclination of 30 degrees.

 

What to do to get the best performance of a solar system?

Several conditions apply:

  • The orientation of the roof or solar system.
  • Its inclination.
  • The presence or absence of shadows.
  • Local data of radiation.
  • Weather conditions.
 

How do clouds impact the output of a photovoltaic panel?

The photovoltaic system is working in the daylight. Even if it is cloudy, the sunlight gets through the clouds and can be absorbed by the photovoltaic cells. The performance of the panel is of course proportional to the brightness outside.

 

Can we walk on a photovoltaic system?

The panels are designed to withstand significant weight. Keep in mind that the panels produce electricity continuously. It is therefore necessary to be empowered to work on the system.

 

Ecological footprint

Are Photovoltaic panels recyclable?

The photovoltaic panels can be recycled by specialized manufacturers. When the panels are recycled, they are melted down to separate the different components. The silicon cells are then purified and reintegrated in new solar modules.

 

What does renewable energy mean?

Renewable energy sources are energy sources that come from nature (sun, wind, waves, tides, wood...) and that can be exploited and transformed without increased risk of pollution, unlike fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal, uranium) that develop very impactful pollutions.

 

Is Photovoltaic coherent ecologically?

One of the problems related to electricity production is the energy loss during transport between major production units and the final consumer. Small units can reduce these losses by providing sources of energy on site.

Proof by the numbers:

  • For 1 kWh consumed, 2.6kWh were produced by nuclear power plants.
  • In order to get 1kWh available to the consumer, the photovoltaic system produces 1.2kWh.

Moreover, small photovoltaic installations based in private homes favor the balance of power grid.

 

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