What is Solar Power and How Does it Work?

Solar power is a great and proven way to reduce your energy bills, but have you ever wondered how it works? In this article, we will explore:

  • How solar power works in providing electricity to your household;
  • Why choosing solar power makes sense; and
  • How you can store excess solar power for later use

How solar power works

Solar power converts the light of the sun into electricity via solar panels and an inverter. Solar panels absorb energy from the sunlight to create direct current (DC), and the inverter turns this into alternating current (AC), which is usable electricity for your home.

To absorb energy from sunlight, solar panels use photovoltaic (PV) cells to create an electric field that causes electricity to flow into the inverter.

The inverter is considered to be the ‘brains’ or engine room to your solar power system. It converts the DC output created by your solar panels into AC, which is the standard 240-volt electricity used by your home.

Why solar power makes sense

Australia has the world’s highest solar radiation at 58m petajoules per year, approximately 10,000 times larger than its total energy consumption. So, you have the opportunity to use Australia’s abundant sunshine to power your home with energy free from the sun, while doing your bit for the environment.

Choosing solar power will help you offset your electricity costs because it minimises the amount of power you consume from the grid, and delivers savings for you and your family. How much you save depends on a few key factors, including:

  • Number of panels and their efficiency: The more solar panels, the more electricity that will be generated from the sun. How much energy your household produces is a key factor in determining how many panels are required on your roof.
  • Size and quality of the inverter: Your inverter needs to provide efficiency and reliability so you can get the most power out of your PV system. Solahart thoroughly checks certifications and performance data from the manufacturer and performs field tests to ensure quality and reliability.
  • Orientation of your roof: Panels facing north provide optimum performance. East or west orientation may also be suitable. South-facing panels are not recommended in Australia as they don’t get enough direct sunlight.
  • Amount of sunlight available in your location: The more sunlight available, the more energy your solar power system can produce.
  • How you use your solar energy: Adjusting your major energy usage to when the sun is shining can help you maximise the use of your solar energy and further reduce your energy costs.

Store excess captured energy for use later with a home battery system

In most Australian homes, a large proportion of the energy produced by solar power panels is sent back to the grid because it’s generated when it’s not needed such as the middle of the day.

Adding home battery storage to a solar power system future proofs your investment by allowing you to store your unused energy and use it at a later time, rather than send it back to the grid. With a battery, you can use your stored energy:

  • At night;
  • On low sunlight days;
  • When utility rates are more expensive; and
  • During blackouts

Another way to store your excess solar power is through a solar-smart electric water heater like Solahart PowerStore, an Australian designed and built product that converts excess solar power into hot water.

Find out more about energy storage here

For more information


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