Photovoltaic generation

One approach that can help in the reduction of CO2 production and also reduce losses through regional delivery methods is the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. Sunlight is an abundant resource, effectively inexhaustible, and gathering it locally, even in a climate like our own is an efficient way to maximise its benefits.

How does it work?
The principal is simple, when light-energy hits a PV cell, electrons are knocked from the material that part of the cell is made from. If electrical conductors are connected to the positive and negative sides of the panel, the electrons displaced can be captured in the form of an electric current.

Individual PV cells only produce a small amount of electricity, but if you link them together into a panel, their output increases, and the same happens again when those panels are joined together to form an array. All that’s needed to make them effective is sunlight, and a place to put them where they receive maximum exposure to it. The types of PV cells we use will last from 20 to 40 years before they need to be replaced. Any power that is generated that exceeds the requirements of the site can be fed back into the National Grid. Please see our glossary and other pages for more information.

Of course, there’s a little more to it than that, as the arrays need telemetry information, which feeds back data to a central location, letting the operators know about the output, efficiency and maintenance status of individual panels in an installation. We can also use information from these arrays to calculate their environmental impact.

A side benefit of local power generation is that the losses incurred during delivery over the national grid, which can be as high as 10 percent, are practically eliminated.

ThamesWey has more than 60 PV arrays in and around the borough, and during their life to date, they have been responsible for a reduction in over 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 produced when compared to conventional generation methods. We also operate on sites outside of the borough, with more coming online as part of redevelopment projects underway and in the future.

In an ideal world, we’d be able to generate all the power we needed from renewable sources, but that is not yet a reality for much of the planet. At ThamesWey, we are proud to be leading innovation in solar power, and we’ll continue to champion this technology.