Solar Systems

How Solar Power (PV) Systems Work

Solar power panels generate electricity from sunlight. The roof mounted solar panels are made up of many photovoltaic (PV) cells. These cells collect the sun’s light and convert the energy into DC electricity. This is fed through an inverter and converted to 240V AC electricity to power your home.

The amount of electricity you can produce depends on the number and efficiency of the panels, the size of the inverter and the amount of sunlight in your location. Your home remains connected to the electricity grid so when you generate more electricity than you need you can feed it into the grid or purchase more from the grid when you are not producing enough to meet your requirements.

The Science Explained

The amount of energy from the sun that falls on Earth’s surface is enormous. All the energy stored in Earth’s reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas is matched by the energy from just 20 days of sunshine. Outside Earth’s atmosphere, the sun’s energy contains about 1,300 watts per square meter. About one-third of this light is reflected back into space, and some is absorbed by the atmosphere (in part causing winds to blow).

By the time it reaches Earth’s surface, the energy in sunlight has fallen to about 1,000 watts per square meter at noon on a cloudless day. Averaged over the entire surface of the planet, 24 hours per day for a year, each square meter collects the approximate energy equivalent of almost a barrel of oil, or 4.2 kilowatt-hours of energy every day. Deserts, with very dry air and little cloud cover, receive the most sun—more than six kilowatt-hours per day per square meter

Solar Power System Design

The Solahart Solar Power system is comprised of two main components; a string or array of photovoltaic panels and an inverter. The photovoltaic (PV) panels transform solar radiation into electrical energy in the form of direct current (DC). In order to utilise this energy and feed it back into the grid, the direct current is transformed into alternating current (AC) by the inverter. This conversion is also known as DC to AC inversion.

The alternating current generated by the inverter is fed into the main switchboard, which in turn is connected to the electricity grid. If the energy generated exceeds that required by property demands, your electrical network operator may allow the difference to be directly injected into the grid and become available to other users. Energy injected into the grid can be measured by electricity network operators as either gross (everything generated) or nett (excess generated). Injected energy may or may not be purchased by the local electrical network operator according to national and local standards, and regulations.

PV Panel Orientation & Inclination

To maximize system output, install panels at optimum orientation and inclination (tilt) angles. The specifics of this will depend on the installation location and must be calculated by a qualified system designer. The ideal angle for mounting a panel should result in the sun’s rays falling perpendicular (i.e. at a 90° angle) to the panel surface. Panels should be installed in a shade free position. Even minor or partial shading of the panels/array will reduce system output. A panel is considered shade free when it is both:

  • Free from shade or shadows all year round.
  • Exposed to several hours of direct sunlight, even during the shortest days
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