Your roof-mounted solar panels contain photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells. When sunlight falls on the cells they convert the sun’s energy into DC (direct current) power.
Connected by a cable to the solar panels, the inverter converts the DC power to 240V AC (alternating current), the type of electricity used in your home. On some inverters, the digital display provides statistics on how much power is being generated throughout the day.
This is a measurement device calculating the power you use and the power sent back to the grid. The power you don’t use can sometimes be sold back to the grid. This is called the feed-in tariff, a rebate depending on your electricity retailer and state.
The poles and wires that connect residential and commercial properties, to traditional, centralised generation (power stations) are sometimes referred to as the “electricity grid”. Any surplus energy your home generates is fed back into the electricity grid. When you need additional power, the electricity grid provides this, too.
A solar system can only produce electricity if there is sunlight. That means solar can produce electricity on cloudy days when small amounts of sunlight are still shining down onto a rooftop. However, at night time, when there is no sun light, your solar system will not generate any electricity.
It will exported to the electricity grid where, depending on your retailer and tariff, you may be given a credit towards your electricity bill.
This is the rate at which you are paid for exporting excess electricity generation back to the grid and is retailer dependent.
Small Scale Technology Certificates (STC) are still available for most households. These certificates help reduce the cost of solar to you. Most solar providers, including EnergyAustralia, advertise solar pricing with the STCs already removed from the price. This is because you can sign over the STC rebates to the solar provider and therefore reduce the cost of the system.
That depends on what meter you currently have. A bi-directional smart meter is needed to support solar. These are very common in Victoria but less common in other states and therefore a new meter will need to be installed as part of your solar installation. In most cases, EnergyAustralia can organise this for you.