Skip to content
Tradesmen installing solar panels

How do solar panels work?

Do you love the Australian sun? You will love it even more when it helps to power your home.

30 November 2020

Solar panels convert sunlight into DC (direct current) electricity. A solar inverter will convert this electricity into AC (alternative current) power for use in your home, in turn powering your appliances.

Check out our glossary of terms.

Grid connected solar system

The average Sydney household can save up to $900 a year by installing a 4-kilowatt solar system on their roof (Energy saver).

Due to the flexibility provided by a grid-connected system, they are the most popular system installed. As a homeowner, you have the benefit of generating your own energy and utilising the grid connection when and if required.

What makes a solar system effective?

  • Firstly, position is everything: A north facing roof is optimal. While it’s not essential, you may need more solar panels placed on the roof to follow the sun throughout the day.
  • Limit shade: Tree’s, power lines, the shade from other homes can all impact performance.
  • Check out more tips to optimise your solar system.

Feed-in tariffs, what do they mean?

Depending on your system size, location and household, your solar system can produce excess energy, in this instance, your energy retailer may pay you a feed-in-tariff (Clean Energy Council)

If you are using more energy than your system generates, the additional requirements will be pulled from the grid to which your energy retailer will charge you, consumption and generation is tracked through a smart meter.

Grid-connect with battery back-up

As batteries become more affordable, including a battery in your system is a great idea to store the excess energy you have created, to be used at night or at times when your generated energy is depleted.

Brighte tip: Find out if your energy provider will be including a feed-in tariff to your plan, then weigh up which would be better for your family, exporting energy back into the grid and using the grid for requirements at night, or storing your own energy and using it when required.

Stand-alone solar systems

Stand-alone systems are not connected to the electricity grid and typically are installed in remote areas where there is limited connection to the grid or areas of low electricity demand. These systems must have batteries or a back-up generator (or both) to supply all energy requirements.

The information provided in this article is general in nature and does not constitute advice. Please consider your own personal circumstances prior to making any decisions