Solar electricity is produced when photovoltaic panels turn energy in the form of light into a flow of electrons - electricity. You can use this energy in your property, and the electricity you don't use is exported back to the grid. Simple! Alternatively you can feed your excess electricity into a battery bank, and use it to power your house when the sun isn't shining.
If you've considered solar pv panels before and thought that it was a waste of time and too expensive... think again. The price of PV panels has dropped in the past few years, and you can still get the government-backed Feed-in-Tariff. This means you get cash back (via an energy company) for every unit of electricity that your system produces, plus you save money for every unit you use and get a further payment for every unit that you export to the grid. It's a triple win situation. Added to this, the income is tax free for domestic properties. Has that whet your appetite?
Once your system is up and running, your generation meter records how much energy you are making. This is measured in kilowatt hours. The more you make the more you get paid. You register your installation with one of the big six energy providers and they pay you quarterly. You also get paid for any electricity you export to the grid. Right now this is estimated at 50% of your generated amount because the energy companies have not yet installed smart meters which estimates the exact total. All this income is tax free for domestic users!
You save money when you use electricity while you are generating it. So you don't have to import it from the grid. This means if its a sunny day put your washing machine on! If you have a battery storage system, this will provide free electricity even when the sun isn't shining.