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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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