HOW SOLAR WORKS
How Does Solar Electricity Work?
Most people understand the general concept that solar lets us draw energy from the sun that is converted into power for the electricity grid, but you’re not alone if you feel a little in the dark about how it actually works.
Understanding Home Electricity With Solar
Direct current electricity flows in one direction via a wire, whereas alternating current can go back and forth. Alternating current is the type of electricity powering most homes and businesses around the world.
Solar panels generate direct current electricity when they capture light from the sun. The direct current electricity is converted to alternating current electricity by a piece of equipment called an inverter. The inverter will also ensure that the home uses the electricity it has produced first before drawing from the power grid. If your property produces more power than it uses, the inverter is what feeds your excess electricity back into the energy company supply.
When solar has been installed at a premises, the panels generally go on the roof and the inverter will be installed somewhere like the garage. Your electricity meter will also be changed or upgraded but your usual household switchboard won’t be impacted.
When you receive your electricity bill, it records the number of kilowatt-hours the household has used during the billing period. A kilowatt-hour is 1000 watt hours so for example, if you run a 4000 watt air conditioner for an hour you’ll use 4kW of power.
The kilowatt-hour is also how solar systems are named – 1kW is known as “1 unit” of power for solar. So if you have a 2kW system, your solar system is generating 2000 watts per hour during sunlight hours, or “2 units” of power; a 10kW system is “10 units” per hour and so on.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are actually made up of a number of silicon cells called “photovoltaic cells”. Photovoltaic means “the direct conversion of light into electricity at an atomic level”.
The sun produces tiny little particles of light called photons. When the photons hit the cells on a solar panel, atoms are freed to generate a flow of electricity which is where solar power comes from.
The more solar panels you have, the more energy you will generate. However, not all solar panels are created equal, and their placement is important. Solar systems come in a variety of sizes and when considering recommendations for your property, OTI Power will look at things like how much sunshine is available, your roof surface area and the home’s general power consumption.
Will My Solar Still Work If It’s Cloudy?
The good news is that solar panels are still capable of producing energy on cloudy or rainy days. Direct sunlight is always going to produce the most power but indirect sunlight will still generate power for your property.
Solar panels don’t generally need ongoing cleaning or maintenance because the rain actually does it for you. Dust and debris can impact the performance of your panels but in most locations, the natural elements like wind and rain are enough to keep them clean.
Clouds can even be beneficial – think about how overcast weather sometimes elevates the lighting for photo shoots. Clouds can reflect and even magnify sunlight so bad weather isn’t always bad news for your solar efficiency.
Save Money Now
One of the biggest misconceptions that we hear when talking to people about solar is that the upfront costs take too long to recoup or that it’s too complicated for landlords to handle power with tenants at investment properties. A PV Power Purchase Agreement can help you and your tenants lower energy costs now with a solar system installed with no cash outlay or ongoing repayments.
OTI Power offer obligation free consultations with owner occupier and landlord property owners of residential and commercial premises. We can make recommendations and give advice tailored to your property and will even do the sums to help you calculate your financial benefits from the system.
While the technology behind solar energy may seem complex, when broken down, how solar power works is easy to understand – particularly in a grid connect scenario as it only requires a few components installed in your property or business.
STEP 1 The sun shines on the solar panels generating DC electricity
STEP 2 The DC electricity is fed into a solar inverter that converts it to 240V 50Hz AC electricity.
STEP 3 The 240V AC electricity is used to power appliances in your property.
STEP 4 Surplus electricity is fed back into the main grid.
Book a consultation with one of our technicians today and we’ll call you to perform a detailed assessment of your situation. We’ll discuss your property and show you the calculations on how much money you stand to save every year.
Remember, this service is completely free and you’re under no obligation to take up any of our services.