How Solar Electricity Works
To understand the basics of Solar for your home is fairly simple. The main components are the panels on your roof, the racking to hold them in place, the inverter to make solar power compatible with your home and the wires & isolators which connect it all together.
PHOTOVOLTAICS (PV) or PANELS
Solar Panels contain a number of cells which are made of Silicon Wafer. When sunlight strikes the solar cells, the solar radiation is absorbed by the semiconducting materials, which generate electrons which flow as a current - electricity! Each individual cell (that diamond/square/check layout you can see) produces a tiny current, but when many are used they add to each others production. Cells are wired together in series with solder (called Bus Bars) and assembled into a long-lasting weatherproof frame, called a solar panel.
Panels are connected together (called an Array) to produce enough electricity to power an electrical load. This makes Panels modular, meaning that they are able to be custom designed and installed in arrays to suit different needs.
Nearly every panel sold in Australia has a 25-year performance warranty. However, some warranties are not worth the paper they are written on. Can you tell the difference between quality and rubbish?
We can! To see the Panels we recommend and install go to our Solar Panels Page.
The electricity produced by solar panels is DC (Direct Current). This electricity must be converted to match the type of electricity that it is intended to power. This function is performed by a device called an inverter. There are a huge number of inverter brands, types and sizes being sold in Australia today.
For a brief outline of the main types of inverters you should consider when deciding on a new system please go to our Inverters Page.
To power a building in Australia the panels DC power must be converted to 240 Volts AC (Alternating Current) to match the Grid supplying all properties. This function is performed by a device called a Grid Tie Inverter. The output of the Inverter is connected to the buildings Main Switch, meaning that the electricity will now power the loads in that building.
When you produce more electricity than you are using, the excess is sent back on to the grid. A new Bi-Directional Meter is required so that the excess electricity can be counted. This excess (Feed-In) appears as a credit on your power bill, earning you a healthy return! This system will reduce the amount of electricity you bring in (Import) from the Grid during daylight hours and it will also contribute towards the reduction of your total bill. If you have enough solar generation, you can have a $0 Electricity bill.
If you have enough solar generation, you can have a $0 Electricity bill. More
Published on Nov 11, 2016
One in seven households in Australia have solar panels on their roof - more than anywhere else in the world. But what's actually going on in the shiny structures and how could Buddhist singing bowls and South American butterflies make them more efficient? Niraj Lal examines the science of solar and the future of sunshine. Niraj Lal is a Research Fellow at Monash University and the CSIRO working on using nanophotonics for high-efficiency solar cells. In 2012 he graduated as a Gates Scholar with a PhD in physics from the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge.