When installed on your roof, solar panels – also known as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, capture the suns energy to generate electricity cleanly and quietly. Light energy is converted directly into electricity by transferring sunlight photon energy into electrical energy. This conversion takes place within cells of specially fabricated semiconductor crystals. The energy produced is DC electricity. This is subsequently converted by an Inverter to AC 240v for use in your home.
Solar panel arrays are best mounted at a fixed angle facing North. If you do not have adequate roof space on the North, then Eastern or Western aspects provide an alternative option, albeit at a slightly lower efficiency. Systems can be connected to the electricity grid (grid-connected), or they can stand alone with a battery storage system.
Homes with grid-connected solar power systems receive back-up power from the utility company when the solar power system is not producing enough energy (e.g. night-time). When your solar power system produces excess power, the utility provider is required to purchase the power from you through a metering and rate arrangement (Feed-In Tariff). Under this arrangement, the utility provider is required to pay you a premium retail price in the form of energy credits for the electricity you export to the grid. This significantly increases the overall benefit you receive from your solar power system.