Use the sun to power your home
Thinking about choosing solar power? Here you’ll learn more about how solar power works and how it can benefit your home, budget and the environment.
The many bright sides
Solar power is clean and it reduces your reliance on traditional sources of electricity. Coupled with a battery storage system, you can still power your home even when the sun is behind the clouds.
How does solar power work?
It’s an amazing process, and it all starts with the sun.
Solar power systems are made up of panels and an inverter to generate electricity for your home.
During the day, the solar panels on your roof capture photons from sunlight. (In case you’re wondering, a photon is the basic unit that transmits light. It’s a bundle of electromagnetic energy.)
The silicon and conductors in the panels then turn this into energy, which is sent to an inverter to convert into electricity for your home.
If your home doesn’t use all the power generated, it’s sent to the electricity grid, or can be stored in a battery system to be saved for you to use later.
Types of inverters vary, but two common ones are micro-inverters and string inverters.
These are a commonly used for both residential and commercial systems. The inverter is made up of a string that connects rows of solar panels to a box, usually mounted on an outside wall. Inside the inverter box, total generated electricity from your solar panels is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), so the power can be used in your home.
Micro-inverters sit under each individual solar panel, converting generated direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) at the panel itself, so there’s no need for an inverter box on the side of your house.
Battery storage systems
Battery storage gives you more benefits from your solar power system. Excess energy generated by your solar power system during the day can be used to charge the battery, which means you can use it in the evening or whenever it’s needed.
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.
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.
This is the rate at which you are paid for exporting excess electricity generation back to the grid and is retailer dependant.
It will exported to the electricity grid where, depending on your retailer and tariff, you may be given a credit towards your electricity bill.
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.