PV ABCs — Solar Simply Put

Updated: Sep 21, 2018

Often looking into solar can be confusing at even the most basic level.

What’s involved? How does it work?

These are questions for the intelligent consumer that should be at least as important as “how much.”

The Answers

A solar installation involves 2 core components — the panels themselves which sit atop your home and an inverter ordinarily put somewhere near the main switchboard.

A photovoltaic (PV) power system is a source of electrical production that makes the electricity from solar cells. Sunlight hits the cell-surface and a percentage of that is converted into Direct Current (DC) electricity.

That DC electricity is then fed down directly to an inverter, which will convert it into Alternating Current (AC) electricity.

That AC electricity will then be distributed via the mains to power the appliances throughout the home during the day while the PV array is operative.

Additionally, there is cabling and conduit to connect the core components up to each other and into the home.

Then there are circuit-breakers to allow for the safe shut down of the system should the need arise.

Sometimes a successful install will require mounting, tilt-kits or klip-lok on account of the nature of the roof-surface to be installed on.

Solar Glossary

To take a little of the confusion out of looking into solar, we’ve put together a brief glossary of key terms to help you navigate sorting your solar solution.

Don’t see something the meaning of which you’re burning to know? Let us know!

Alternating CurrentAC — Multidirectional electrical flow

Circuit Breaker — Automatic (as well as manually operable) device to safely stop the flow of an electrical current if required

Consumption — The electricity used by your appliances

Direct CurrentDC — Unidirectional electrical flow

Inverter — An electrical converter that changes the DC current produced by the panels into a utility frequency AC current to power the appliances throughout the home or export to the grid

KilowattKW — 1,000 watts of electrical of power

Kilowatt HourkWh — Amount of power consumed by a 1KW electrical appliance for one hour

PhotovoltaicPV — The photovoltaic effect is a phenomenon whereby light exposure on an appropriate medium (a solar cell, as an example) creates voltage and electrical current

PV Array — Standard solar system consisting of panels plus inverter

Rebate — A payback sum for the purchase of a product, in this case you PV array

Smart Meter — Device to digitally measure your consumption

Switchboard — Where you home’s electrical circuit-breakers and fuses live

Tariff — A fixed monetary amount to be paid for a class of imports or exports, in the case of your solar system: a fixed monetary amount paid by the energy retailer for each kWh exported from your solar system to the grid

WattW — A unit of power measured per unit of time; see Kilowatt Hour

To sort your solar solution out be in touch today with a friendly, informative and helpful Astra Solar consultant.

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