Solar Panels Explained
Solar photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the roofs of homes and businesses use energy from the sun to generate electricity cleanly and quietly. Solar systems work best when the sun is shining. As the strength and angle of the sun varies throughout the day and seasons, so too does the strength of the sun’s radiation and this affects the amount of electricity your solar power system will generate. The highest solar generation during the day is usually from 10am to 3pm.
Electricity can be produced directly from photovoltaic cells (PV Cells). (Photovoltaic literally means “light” and “electric.”) These cells are made from materials which exhibit the “photovoltaic effect” i.e. when sunshine hits the PV cell, the photons of light excite the electrons in the cell and cause them to flow, generating electricity. The PV solar panels generate DC electricity which then flows to your inverter which “inverts” the power into more usable AC electricity to be used within your household or business.
Any excess energy generated by your solar panels can be fed back to the electricity grid, for which you may be paid an agreed feed-in tariff, or it could be fed into a battery storage system so you can use the stored power later (at night, for instance).
Days are longer in summer and shorter in winter, this variation in the amount of sunshine per day affects the electricity generation capacity of your solar panels. This means that some solar systems can generate twice the electricity in summer, than in the shorter days of winter.
Solar Panels in Perth
PV panels are being used increasingly in Perth, both in the city and in remote locations, to produce electricity for households, schools and communities, and to supply power for equipment such as telecommunication and water pumps.
There are 2 different phrases used to describe how a solar panel system interacts with the electricity grid, these are “grid-connected” and “off-grid” systems. Grid connected systems are able to export energy produced back to the grid and may be eligible for a feed-in tariff. Off grid system are not connected to the grid and are usually connected up to a battery in order to store the excess energy generated. The majority of solar panel installations in Perth are grid-connected systems.
Australia almost certainly has the highest proportion of households with PV solar panel systems on their roof of any country in the world. Australia is one of the sunniest continents in the world. Given a stable policy environment, there is massive potential for solar PV to make a significant contribution to electricity generation in Perth and Australia over the coming decades.