Solar power harnesses the power of the sun to convert sunlight into electricity which can then be used to power you home or exported to the grid when it’s not needed. The light is collected by solar panels on your roof which generate DC (Direct Current) electricity which is then fed into a solar inverter which converts the DC electricity from your solar panels into AC (Alternating Current) electricity. Watch a video version of this below.
Here’s the step-by-step process of how it works in New Zealand.
- Solar panels are made up of silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells and when sunlight hits the solar panels on your roof, the solar PV cells absorb the sunlight’s rays and electricity is produced via the Photovoltaic Effect. The electricity that is produced by your panels is called Direct Current (DC) electricity which is not suitable to be used by your home so it is directed to an inverter or micro-inverter, depending on your system set up.
- The inverter converts DC electricity into Alternating Current (AC) electricity, which is suitable for your home’s appliances, so the 230V AC electricity is directed to your home’s switchboard.
- The switchboard directs your usable AC electricity through your existing electrical wiring to the appliances in your home. The solar energy will be used first to power your home and any additional energy generated will be sent to the grid. And with a smart meter onsite you’ll earn a credit on your power bill for this.
- If you choose to install a battery with your solar system any unused energy can be stored there so that you still have power when the sun goes down of if there’s a power cut.
- The import/export smart meter on your solar system will measure your excess solar being exported back to the grid as well as any additional power you import from the grid. You don’t need to do anything for this process, it all happens automatically and you can enjoy solar energy in your home all year round.