Solar energy is the energy generated from the sun’s rays. While the sun is free, solar energy is not. The conversion of solar radiation to solar energy comes at a cost. With constant advancement in the solar power technology, the effectiveness of solar panels has increased, while the cost has plummeted, making it an extremely popular and viable energy alternative.
Solar panels work on the photovoltaic effect, which is the process of generating an electric current in a photovoltaic cell, when exposed to sunlight. The basic steps are outlined below:
Solar panels convert light energy from the sun to electricity in the form of direct current (DC). Each solar panel constitutes of photovoltaic (PV) cells made of silicon, connected with a system of wiring that allows conversion of sunlight into electricity.
Inverter converts the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC). It is the most important part of the whole system as all the household appliances use the AC current to work.
The AC electricity from the inverter is connected to the switchboard on the property, which distributes the electricity throughout as needed.
Any unused electricity is fed back to the grid through the utility meter for which you may receive credits based on the current feed-in tariff from your power retailer.
A battery stores the excess unused electricity generated by the PV system for your household use at night or extremely cloudy days when the sun is not shining.
Solar power offers both economic and environmental benefits. Below are some advantages of having solar panels installed:
Solar has become an affordable choice for more and more home and business owners. The recent government rebate and incentives have helped to substantially reduce the upfront cost of a solar PV system. The solar system pays for itself and has a quick return on investment.
Using solar power will reduce the amount of electricity you buy from your electricity retailer as most of your energy needs will be met through your solar system during the day. On the other hand, if you generate more electricity than you consume, you may even receive credits for the surplus energy exported to the grid.
Solar systems generally don’t require much maintenance as there are no moving parts so there is no wear and tear. Also, most of the panels come with a manufacturer’s warranty of 20-25 years, making the maintenance and upkeep minimal.
Solar panels prove to be a worthful investment. While there is an initial upfront cost, solar energy will last forever and has no ongoing operational cost. Moreover, it protects you from the rising electricity costs, which are expected to go further up in the coming future.
With solar, your savings start from the day your system gets connected. You can use the free solar power generated from your solar system to run your household equipment and appliances or export the surplus to the energy grid and get paid a feed-in tariff.
Properties with solar are considered more valuable than the ones without it not only in terms of financial savings but as more people are getting environmentally conscious, having solar panels installed, certainly increases the value of your home or business.
Solar is a clean and renewable form of energy. Unlike fossil fuels, it creates no pollution or harmful emissions and does not harm the environment. By installing solar, you not only reap financial benefits but also contribute to save the planet.
Ultima Energy is an Australian based provider of high quality yet affordable solar solutions, specialising in design and installation of grid-connected solar systems for residential and commercial properties.