Solar Panels harness the only renewable energy, that offer financial benefits for the homeowner and helps the environment.

Solar Energy, feed In Tariffs, grants and installations, it can all be confusing. In order to help answer any questions please call our Solar Power Helpline above

Company Information

Frequently Asked Questions/ Definitions/ Terminology

This list clarifies and explains a number of specific solar and electrical terms:

  • AC: Alternating current.
  • AC module: a solar panel with its own small inverter. Supplies AC per panel.
  • Amorphous: without a regular crystal structure.
  • Array: parallel switching of strings, i.e. a physical unit consisting of modules and any necessary support structure (sometimes divided into sub-arrays).
  • Autonomous PV system: a PV system that is directly coupled to the electrical equipment or to a battery in which the generated electricity can be stored for later use.
  • Balance of system (BOS): all components of the PV system, apart from the PV modules, i.e. the support construction, electrical cabling, inverters etc.
  • BIPV: Building integration of photovoltaics.
  • Connection box: a box containing the cabling for a number of PV arrays ready for coupling the arrays to the inverter.
  • Converter: see inverter.
  • DC: Direct current
    Grid-connected PV system: The entire system, including modules and inverters, which are responsible for electricity production, up to the connection to the national grid (also known as the PV generator).
  • Insolation: the solar energy received at a place over a given period. May be expressed as sun-hours per day, langleys per hour, watts per square meter per hour, or any number of other units.
  • Inverter: A unit that converts electricity from the solar cells (DC) to the voltage used by the national grid system (AC).
  • Irradiation: the capacity generated by the sun, expressed in Watts per square metre (W/m2).
  • Junction box: protection box for electrical cabling. Located at the back of the solar panel.
  • Maximum power point (MPP): the highest possible capacity of a PV system, for a particular irradiation level. Inverters are fitted with a control system to set the working voltage of the PV system so that the system works within the MPP.
  • Monocrystalline: consisting of a single crystal.
  • Peak watts (Wp): a unit for the calibrated capacity of a solar cell or solar panel. This calibration takes place under Standard Test Conditions (STC): an irradiation of 1000
  • W/m2 and a cell temperature of 25°C. In the Netherlands a Wp-installed PV capacity supplies up to 0.8 kWh of electrical energy per year.
  • Photovoltaic: everything that generates an electrical voltage and electricity under the influence of light (fotos in Greek).
  • Polycrystalline: consisting of many crystals.
  • Production unit: an individual unit consisting of modules and inverter, which can supply energy directly to the national grid. Units can be switched on/off independently
  • PV: an acronym for Photovoltaic(s), also used to describe photovoltaic material, usually solar cells.
    PV laminate: a solar panel without a frame.
  • (PV) module: another word for a solar panel, a solar cell (basic unit) that contains photovoltaic cells
  • PV roofing tile (solar roofing tile): a photovoltaic (PV) module and a connection box, laminated together and glued to the surface of a unit of roofing material, such as a slate made of concrete. see installing panels on your roof
  • Semi-conductor: material that only conducts electricity if it is influenced by light, e.g. silicon.
    Silicon (Si): a chemical element, atomic number 14, basic material used for most solar cells, manufactured from sand. Silicon is a semi-conductor.
    Solar cell: the smallest photovoltaic element (usually 10 x 10 cm, but may be larger), usually made of monocrystalline, polycrystalline or amorphous silicon.
  • Solar panel: an element (basic unit) consisting of series-connected solar cells between glazed or acrylic panels, sometimes mounted into a metal or plastic frame. Also known as a PV module.
  • Specific return: a specific number describing the functioning of a PV system. This number is expressed as kWh/kWp/year, and shows what an installed kilowatt-peak (kWp) generates in PV capacity as electrical energy (kWh) per year. An average optimally oriented system in the Netherlands produces a specific return of around 800 kWh/kWp/year.
  • String: a number of modules (solar panels) that are wired in series, to achieve minimum input voltage for the inverter. A string is an electrical unit.
    Sub-array: the smallest physical unit (see array).
Solar PV
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels generate free electricity for your home. This means lower electricity bills and a potential income from Feed in Tariff payments. Solar Photovoltaic is simply a long word for 'converting the heat from the sun into electricity' see benefits of fitting solar panels to your home


Feed In Tariffs (FITS)
Since April The Department of Energy and Climate Change introduced a scheme that compels energy suppliers to pay you for producing electricity via PV solar panels, it is referred to as Feed In Tariffs.


Solar Heating
Advice and help on Solar heating, solar heating panels, and solar compatible boilers and heating systems. Did you know that 70% of the average home's energy use is taken by heating water and rooms. see:, Can solar heating save you money and the environment?
Solar Grants
Although there are no official solar power grants from the government in terms of lump sum incentives, new feed-in tariffs reward homeowners for generating clean renewable electricity

Enviko Commitment - Free online home survey

No obligation, no annoying sales calls, just a straight forward home survey of your home to see if Solar Energy is right for your house. Click here for our free online survey to see how Solar panels could enhance your home and actually provide an income from the feed in tariffs. Have a 'solar question' then call 0800 678 5040 and Solar Courses will answer it straight away, without trying to sell you a thing.

A house can receive a significant contribution to its electricity requirements from a photovoltaic system installed on the roof. Such PV systems allow homeowners to generate electricity from a renewable and sustainable technology. The opportunity also exists for housing associations and commercial housing developers.

Home solar power pays – and the first 25 years are fully guaranteed


Common questions about Solar Energy:Common questions about renewable energy:

Key towns and cities which Solar Courses install solar panels at: Barnsley, Bradford, Bury, Dewsbury, Doncaster, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester, Oldham, Pontefract, Rochdale, Rotherham, Sheffield, Stockport, Wakefield. If you have any doubts about whether you are covered, please call us. +44 (0)208 541 1714 see installation areas or for solar panel installations click here.