If you’re considering installing a solar power system in your home, you might be wondering – how does solar power actually work? Photo-voltaic systems harness the sun’s rays as a direct source of energy, and convert it into electricity that can be used in the home. Not only does this result in big savings in home power bills over the year, it’s also very eco-friendly, producing no waste products or harmful emissions.
HOW SOLAR WORKS?
Here’s how the solar energy process works in more detail:
An export / import meter is installed by the power company to monitor how much is being imported or exported during the day so they know how much to charge you at the end of the month.
Don’t want to export electricity? Check out our Hybrid options
Step 1 – Installation of PV Panels
Photovoltaic (PV) panels are placed on your roof. If possible, the panels will be north facing, or north-east or north-west facing, so that they are able to capture the most energy possible.
Step 2 – Collection of Sun’s Rays
The solar panels on your roof collect the sun’s radiance during the day. They are made of silicon and only need the sun’s radiance to work, so even on a cloudy day they will still generate power – albeit with lower production than on clear days.
Step 3 – Conversion to DC Power (Panels)
As the PV panels collect the sun’s rays, they convert them into Direct Current (DC) electricity.
Step 4 – Conversion to AC Power (Inverter)
This DC power is then sent to an inverter which converts that DC power into 240V 50Hz Alternating Current (AC) electricity.
Step 5 – Power Is Sent into The Home
The converted AC power is then fed into your home’s wiring system, where it will power your lights, appliances, or anything else that uses electricity in your home. (At night, the solar panels aren’t able to produce power, so you switch back to drawing power directly from the grid).
Step 6 – Credit for Unused Electricity
If you produce more power from your PV system than you are actually end up using in your home, the excess power is automatically fed back into the public grid, and you will be given a credit for that contributed electricity by your power company.
Installing a grid connect solar system
Most customers choose a roof mounted solar system. For most of Australia, the modules should be installed facing north in order to take full advantage of the sun; however, a west facing installation may also be desirable.
Our accredited grid connect installers will aim to install the modules at an angle which ensures that the glass face of the modules is positioned at 90 degrees to the sun for most of the day. As an example, in Sydney this angle would be approximately 30-40 degrees to the horizontal. Standard Australian roofs usually have an angle of elevation of ~22 degrees, which is acceptable. This provides a close approximation to the position in which a solar array produces its maximum output. For installations on flat roofs an elevated array frame allows the solar modules to be installed at an angle of elevation of approximately 30 degrees from the horizontal.
What’s the right size system? How much will it cost?
As everyone’s needs are different and the generation potential of solar power differs from place to place, a quick way is to use our free solar quote system to determine the cost and estimated benefit of an installation.