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Solar Technology

How Does Solar Energy Work?

Solar energy is energy generated by sunlight hitting solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on the roof of your property. This energy is then converted from a direct current (DC) to an alternating current (AC), which runs through your switchboard to power appliances in your home. They need to be switched on at the time the solar energy is being generated in order to use solar power.

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Solar PV – Solar photovoltaic panels – usually installed on the roof of your home. There are three main types of panels (monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film) with different efficiencies, installation requirements and costs.

kWh – kilowatt-hour – energy consumed. So if you use 2kW for 3 hours, you will have consumed 6kWh. Electricity costs are calculated by multiplying this figure by the relevant tariff.

Inverter – equipment used to convert the solar energy from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) for use in your home. You can choose to install either a ‘string-converter’ or a ‘micro-converter’. You will need to decide on the type of inverter and/or size, depending on whether you want a scalable system.

kW – kilowatt – a unit of electric power.

DG – Distributed Generation – this is when your solar system is connected to the distribution network, enabling you to sell excess generation to your electricity retailer. Tell me more about DG.

Tariff – this is the rate a retailer charges you for electricity imported from the grid. There are many different tariffs, and they vary based on the type of energy consumption you have, and the retailer you are with. Tell me more about tariffs.

Buy Back Rate – this is the rate your retailer pays you for the generation you export to the grid from your solar energy system. Tell me more about buy back rates.