Heating Ideas

How does solar power work?

If you’re considering installing a solar power system in your home, you might be wondering – how does solar power actually work? Photovoltaic systems harness the sun’s rays as a direct source of energy, and convert it into electricity that can be used in the home. Not only does this result in big savings in home power bills over the year, it’s also very eco-friendly, producing no waste products or harmful emissions. Here’s how the solar energy process works in more detail:

Step 1 – Installation of PV panels
Photovoltaic (PV) panels are placed on your roof. If possible, the panels will be north facing, or north-east or north-west facing, so that they are able to capture the most energy possible.

Step 2 – Collection of sun’s rays
The solar panels on your roof collect the sun’s radiance during the day. They are made of silicon and only need the sun’s radiance to work, so even on a cloudy day they will still generate power – albeit with lower production than on clear days.

Step 3 – Conversion to DC power (panels)
As the PV panels collect the sun’s rays, they convert them into Direct Current (DC) electricity.

Step 4 – Conversion to AC power (inverter)
This DC power is then sent to an inverter which converts that DC power into Alternating Current (AC) electricity. The inverters we use are made by leading manufacturer Enasolar.

Step 5 – Power is sent into the home
The converted AC power is then fed into your home’s wiring system, where it will power your lights, appliances, or anything else that uses electricity in your home. (At night, the solar panels aren’t able to produce power, so you switch back to drawing power directly from the grid).

Step 6 – Credit for unused electricity
If you produce more power from your PV system than you are actually end up using in your home, the excess power is automatically fed back into the public grid, and you will be given a credit for that contributed electricity by your power company (not all power companies provide credit so it pays to shop around).

An export / import meter is installed by the power company to monitor how much is being imported or exported during the day so they know how much to charge you at the end of the month.