How Solar Panel Systems Work ?
How much Solar Power a Solar PV System will generate?
The output of a solar PV system depends on its size. The most common household systems are either 1 kilowatt (kW) or 1.5 kilowatts, although some property owners have installed systems of up to 10 kilowatts. The table below shows the average daily production of some common grid-connected systems throughout Australia.
Avergae Daily Solar Power Production
|City||1.5kW system||2kW system||3kW system||4kW system||5kW system|
Data Source: PV-GC spreadsheet based on the CEC GC Design Guidelines
The rated output is that achieved in perfect laboratory conditions. The CEC design summary software takes these deratings into account when predicting average for any given system.
A typical Australian house consumes around 18 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day so a 1-2kW system displaces an average of 25-40% of your average electricity bill. Solar panels produce more energy in summer than they do in winter.
How does solar PV work?
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels are generally fitted on the roof in a northerly direction and at an angle to maximise the amount of sunlight that hits the panels.
Solar PV panels on the roofs of homes and businesses generate clean electricity by converting the energy in sunlight. This conversion takes place within modules of specially fabricated materials that make up the solar panels. It is a relatively simple process that requires no moving parts. In most cases solar panels are connected to the mains power supply through a device called an inverter.
Solar panels are different to solar hot water systems, which are also mounted on household roof-tops but use the heat from the sun to provide hot water for household uses.
The technology to convert sunlight into electricity was developed in the 19th century, but it was only in the second half of the 20th century that development accelerated behind the need to provide reliable supplies of electricity in remote locations – from satellites in space to outback Australia.
Solar panels have been installed on the rooftops of houses and other buildings in Australia since the 1970s. Currently there are more than 100,000 solar panel systems safely and reliably delivering clean electricity across Australia.
Grid-connected solar PV systems
Most suburban homes in Australia are connected to the electricity grid, which uses alternating current electricity (AC). But the electricity generated by solar panels is direct current (DC). That means grid-connected (GC) solar PV systems need an inverter to transform the DC electricity into AC electricity suitable for ordinary household needs. Houses with solar systems use solar power first before sourcing electricity from the grid.
When the panels are not producing electricity at night, electricity is supplied from the existing electricity grid. For systems with a battery backup (optional), the inverter regulates the charge of batteries. The electricity stored in the batteries can be used at night or during blackouts.
How much do solar panels cost?
The cost of solar panels has continued to change over the past decade behind different government incentive schemes and increased diversity in the panels, inverters and suppliers on the market.
Being an informed consumer is increasingly important. Similar to buying a car or a computer, you’ll want to be sure that your system is a sound investment that best meets your needs at a reasonable price.
It is important to be clear on what you want from your solar PV system. Are you after a system that will partially offset your energy consumption for 5-10 years before requiring a system upgrade? Or do you want a system that will completely offset your household’s electricity use for the next 25 years? Like buying a second-hand car as opposed to a brand-new sports car, these two solar PV systems are both sound investments depending on your needs, but will vary significantly in price.
What is photovoltaic system ?
A photovoltaic system (or PV system) is a system which uses one or more solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. It consists of multiple components, including the photovoltaic modules, mechanical and electrical connections and mountings and means of regulating and/or modifying the electrical output.
How Solar Panels work ?
Solar panels collect solar radiation from the sun and actively convert that energy to electricity. Solar panels are comprised of several individual solar cells. These solar cells function similarly to large semiconductors and utilize a large-area p-n junction diode. When the solar cells are exposed to sunlight, the p-n junction diodes convert the energy from sunlight into usable electrical energy. The energy generated from photons striking the surface of the solar panel allows electrons to be knocked out of their orbits and released, and electric fields in the solar cells pull these free electrons in a directional current, from which metal contacts in the solar cell can generate electricity.
How Solar Inverters Work ?
A solar inverter or PV inverter is a type of electrical inverter that is made to change the direct current (DC) electricity from a photovoltaic array into alternating current (AC) for use with home appliances and possibly a utility grid.
See Some Solar Installation Photographs below. ( CLICK TO ENLARGE )
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