Solar PV cells are nestled between layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on them, electrons are knocked loose, and this creates a flow of electricity.
When solar cells are combined they form solar panels, while multiple solar panels connected together form a solar array.
To ensure solar panels are exposed to as much light as possible it is best to have them installed on a south-facing roof, although east- and west-facing roofs are also suitable.
Solar panels should be pitched at an angle of between 10 and 50 degrees, with the optimum angle sitting between 30 and 40 degrees. You should also ensure there are no buildings or trees close by that could leave the panels in shade.
Most solar panels are installed on rooftops, but it is also possible to have them installed on walls or the ground, or to have solar tiles fitted. Be aware, however, that solar tile systems are less cost-effective and typically cost around twice as much as a panel system.
When solar panels are fitted, an inverter will be installed as well to convert the electricity generated from a direct current (DC) to an alternating current (AC), which is used by most home appliances.