How Solar Works

As shown in the diagram below, solar panels use sunlight to generate DC (Direct Current) electricity that is then fed into your inverter. Your inverter then converts this DC electricity to AC (Alternating Current) electricity that can then be used in your home with any excess electricity generated going back to the grid.
how does solar work australia
solar management australia

The Technical Process

The sun has powered the ecosystem of our planet for millions of years and we’re finally harnessing this limitless source of energy to help our everyday power needs.

The technology exists to convert this UV energy into power via Photo Voltaic Cells or PV Cells. A solar panel is made up of linking these cells together.
Group a batch of solar panels and you have a way of utilising the sun’s limitless power into your house.

The energy converted from the sun’s rays by your solar panels isn’t the same as what we use to power the devices in our houses. The energy produced is DC, or Direct Current, measured in Watts (1000 watts is a kilowatt, kW). Our houses and the grid network use what’s called AC, Alternating Current, which is normally set at 240 Volts. We take that DC and send it into an INVERTER, which changes the current from DC or AC.

We take that AC power and give as much of that to your SWB which will use it up as ‘FREE POWER’ instead of using the networks energy source, which costs you money. This is how you save money on your electricity bill when installing solar.

It is important to note that the best savings come from your solar system when you use your solar during the day. In other words, running as many appliances as possible when it’s the sunniest.

How does my electrical system work?

As stated above, in Australia our voltage for a normal house is 240V between active and neutral. Each appliance that’s being powered, depending on how it’s designed, will use a certain amount of Amps.

For example:
Your kettle runs at 240V. This is consistent and with small variances controlled by your network provider, shouldn’t change.
When turned on, your kettles rating is 2400 watts, or 2.4 kW (kilowatts).
To work out its AMPS you simply divide your watts by your volts, so your kettle would be drawing 10 amps. This is quite a lot on a 16-amp or 20-amp power circuit as that’s at least half its allowable amps you can safely use on that cable feeding the kettle.

If you were to run that kettle boiling for 1 hour the kettle would use up 240v at 10 amps but would be measured as 2.4 kWh or 2400 Wh (watts per hour).

Back to Solar

This understanding is where solar comes into play as your solar system will only produce energy (in watts) for the hours of sunlight it receives.

Hence, you may only get 8 hours of sunlight on your solar PV system. If it’s a standard-sized residential install it’ll be 6.6 kW or 6600W with a maximum inverter capacity of 5 kW (we’ll get into why shortly). If you’re producing 6.6kW worth of energy for that period you’re going to make 6.6kW x 8 hours which equals 52.8kW. However, we have to use our energy during those 8 hours, outside of that and we’re back onto using the expensive network’s power.

The news gets worse, that 52.8 accumulative kilowatts of energy that’s produced that day is reduced due to efficiency of panels, animal droppings, dirt, shading, low sunlight, and a max feed in at the inverter of 5kW. So, all you’ll ever be able to use from that production is 8 hours x 5kW which equals 40 kW for that day. We oversize out panels where we can to help maximise our time we can generate that 5kW and to combat all those inefficiencies.

Each of those 5kW’s that your inverter ‘gives’ you from your PV solar panels will be measured as 5kWh’s. Or 5 kWs for 1 whole hour.

So, when using that kettle during the day for a whole hour, you’re using 2.4kWh of that 5kW total you’re allowed.
Which is quite a lot. Lucky a kettle boils in a couple of minutes so that figure is a lot lower. As a note, only boil the water you need to heat, it’ll cost you A LOT over the course of a year boiling full jugs of water as the kWh’s will drastically increase many times for that one appliance.

How do we extend our PV solar yield?

Well, we now have great BATTERY technology with great warranties and affordable prices. Lithium-Ion is a very safe, efficient and affordable option that tens of thousands of Aussies have already been utilising around the country. The South Australian government released a battery rebate recently, stating that installing batteries would increase the efficiency of a home’s PV System by a whopping 60%-90%.

How? Well, remember our 5kW for 8 hours? Well, outside of the 8 hours of PV yield we’re limited to the network’s power. But if you’ve ever heard of a battery before, then you probably know that they can store the power that’s charged into it. This increases your kWh for the day in a huge way.

solar yield

If you were to take your 40kW produced in a day from 5kW/hr for 8 hours and transfer that to a full 24-hour daily gauge then you’re down to only 1.66kWh over 24 hours.

Your lifestyle would depend then on what TYPE of PV coupled with BATTERIES you would choose. You may work from 8 am – 6 pm like many Aussies so you don’t have the chance to get much use out of your PV system. This is where batteries are a great option as they store the power generated from your solar during the day whilst you’re not using it. This leaves you with a large bank of energy that you can use to cook, clean and run your air-cons at night without needing to rely on any power from the grid. Above we mentioned that a 5kWh for that 8 hours may be enough to charge your Lithium-Ion batteries as you’re not drawing any energy during the day. As long as your 24-hour power usage is lower than 1.66kWh collectively, your PV system will be able to charge your battery fully a lot of the time.

Alternatively, you could be a shift worker, work from home, or consistently have someone at home during the day (perfect for businesses). In this case, you’re at home using your PV system. That’s great, but you’re also probably using all the energy and not leaving much to charge your batteries. Hence, the 1.66kWh/day solar feed in to your usage + battery charge probably won’t be enough. In this case, we would increase the size of your PV system up to a higher inverter kW rating and PV Panels to suit (depending on available roof space).

To Conclude

If you decide to purchase a PV SYSTEM coupled with BATTERIES (which is the best bang for your buck for the 24 hours of usage reasons), get in contact with AusPac Solar today so that our qualified technicians can adequately size your system according to your budget and energy needs.

AusPac Solar takes a unique approach to selling affordable, quality and comprehensive Solar Installations in that we do a full digital analysis of your property before attending site, which includes; solar yield, sun tracking, and a proposed panel layout.

We then equip our vetted, high-experienced local solar technicians with that data who will do a site visit to assess your property and energy usage in person so that we can give a comprehensive quote and make the install as smooth as possible.

We handle all pre and post approvals from the Network provider and offer full customer support. We will also provide you with live updates and ongoing maintenance and servicing support for years to come.

We have full finance options to assist you as well if needed.

Submit an enquiry today and let our accomplished and friendly staff assist you in handling all of your solar needs.