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.
BENEFITS OF SOLAR POWER
While solar technology has been present for over the last decade, it has only become an economically viable option in the last 5 years. Whether it is a single family home, an apartment building, or a business facility, everyone can access solar power. It enables you to have huge energy savings and also has the least environmental impact possible. The key benefits of using solar power are:
Generating your own solar energy allows you a high level of independence from traditional power sources. Solar power taps into heat power of sunlight, giving you access to a virtually limitless and renewable power source.
Solar power reduces your usage of on-grid power and dependence of fossil-fuel-consuming portable power generators, resulting in significantly reduced power bills. The average household utilizes 17kWh and a 3kW system could reduce your power bill by 60-65%.
73% of the Australia’s electricity is produced by burning coal. By lowering your usage of this electricity, you reduce the environmental impact your home or business creates. The environmental impact of solar panels is almost negligible. Zero emission of greenhouse gases such as CO2, SO2 and NO2 from solar power systems prevents damage to the environment and reduces your carbon footprint.
Permanent Energy Solution
A one-time installation of solar panels ensures you have a lifetime supply of solar power for all your energy needs. Once installed, you now have access to an efficient, eco-friendly, and cost effective energy that can be accessed anytime during the day due to the advancement of battery technology.
Tax benefits for business owners
Business owners stand to benefit the most from solar panel installations for their energy needs as they can save a huge amount on energy bills by switching to solar power. Small businesses with an annual turnover of under $2 million could claim immediate tax deductions on all purchases up to $20,000 up until June 30, 2017; rather than those deductions needing to be spread over several years. Solar power also entitles business owners to feed-in tariffs for the excess energy generated by their system that is supplied to the grid. Since businesses have large energy consumption, the savings from utilizing solar power for their energy needs are also significantly higher.
If your installed solar system generates excess energy than required for your consumption, the surplus is fed into the grid. This surplus is paid for by the electricity companies and is called the feed-in tariff and is applicable to homeowners as well as commercial establishments. The government establishes the amount based on each Kilo Watt per hour (kWh) a homeowner’s solar system feeds back into the electricity grid and the amount varies according to the energy provider and the state. This tariff is calculated using net metering.
Through net metering, the owner receives an amount equivalent to the difference between the owner’s usage and the solar electricity produced.
Small-scale technology certificates
Installing an eligible solar or electric heat pump water heater entitles you to small-scale technology certificates (STCs), which can be sold to registered agents or traded individually.
Each STC represents an amount of renewable energy generated, so the more renewable energy your solar system can produce, the more STCs you will get.
You can either receive a point of sale discount by assigning your STCs to the retailer or installer when you buy your solar PV system, or register your STCs and sell them through the STC market or STC clearing house yourself. The dollar value of the STC offered by retailers and installers varies day to day. If you choose to trade your STCs yourself through the STC clearing house the price is fixed at $40 per certificate.
For more information specific to your state and requirements, check out the following links,