There are three different solar power systems you can choose from, but all work on the same basic principle:
Solar panels convert sunlight into DC power using the photovoltaic (PV) effect.
The DC power can be converted by a solar inverter into AC power, or stored in a battery.
The AC power is then used to power electrical appliances in your property.
HOW EXACTLY DOES EACH SYSTEM WORK?
THE THREE SOLAR POWER SYSTEMS ARE:
ON-GRID: solar panels + electricity grid.
On-grid systems are the simplest and cheapest option, where you take power from solar panels during sunlight/daylight hours and from the electricity grid during darkness/night time hours.
HYBRID: solar panels, batteries + electricity grid.
Hybrid systems are when you take power from solar during the day. This power is used for both daytime power requirements and charging the batteries. The battery power is then used during darkness hours and the electricity grid is used as a back up.
OFF-GRID: solar panels + batteries only.
Off-grid systems are used when there is no electricity grid connection either available or required. Solar panels are used to provide daytime power and to charge the batteries for power during darkness hours.
The sun shines on the solar panels generating DC electricity.
The DC electricity is fed into a solar inverter that converts it to AC electricity.
The 240V AC electricity is used to power appliances in your home.
Surplus electricity is fed back into the main grid.
When the sun shines on solar panels (even on cloudy days), they generate electricity.
The solar inverter converts the DC electricity produced by solar panels into 240V AC electricity, which can then be used to power all electrical appliances in the property.
When the solar cells are not producing power, for example at night, power comes from the mains power grid as usual. The energy retailer charges the usual rate for the power used.
The hybrid solar power system is a combination of solar and energy storage but it is also connected to the electricity grid.
The hybrid system generates power in the same way as the on-grid system, but it uses a special hybrid inverter and batteries to store energy for later use.
The ability to store energy enables hybrid systems to operate as a backup power supply during power cuts.
The advantage of a hybrid system is that it provides energy independence and reduces power consumption from the grid.
Off-grid solar power systems are not connected to the electricity grid and so require battery storage.
An off-grid system needs to generate enough power and have enough battery capacity to meet the property’s energy requirements.
The cost of batteries and inverters means that off-grid systems are more expensive than on-grid systems, and we generally recommend this system for remote areas that are far from the electricity grid.
That being said, battery costs have reduced rapidly over the last few years, which has led to an increase in demand for off grid systems even in urban areas.