General Solar Power FAQs

Solar Power FAQs

Getting solar energy can be a challenging journey, with many new technological concepts to understand. Review our solar power FAQs below to achieve a greater understanding of what is involved.

Solar power faqs about solar panel installation
Fast uptake of renewable energy could create nearly 60,000 new jobs annually.

What is PV solar power?

PV is short for photovoltaics (photo=light, voltaics=electricity). PV is a semiconductor-based technology used to convert light energy into direct current (DC) electricity, using no moving parts, consuming no conventional fuels, and creating no pollution.

How long has PV been around?

The photovoltaic effect was first recognized by Edmund Bacquerel, in France, in 1839. Scientists made solar cells of selenium in the 1880s. Modern PV technologies came out of Bell Labs and RCA Labs in the mid 1950s.

Will solar panels  heat my hot water?

No. These solar panels provide electricity. If you are interested in a thermal solar system to heat water, you’ll need a special type of collector unit – for more information, try our solar hot water section.

How can we store electricity for use after sun goes down?

Generally, grid connect solar power systems direct excess electricity produced during the day back into the local electricity grid. So there is no on-site storage as such unless you have a solar battery. You then receive credit for any power that you put back into the grid. At night time, you automatically use electricity straight from the grid. Off-grid systems store energy produced during the day in deep cycle batteries for use as required.

What happens with grid connect systems during a blackout?

The grid connect inverter will automatically shut itself off within a few milliseconds of a blackout, to avoid the potential of a dangerous “brown-out” in your home and to prevent back feeding the grid; which can pose a threat to workers rectifying a blackout.

With grid connect systems, what can I do to keep power during a blackout?

You will need battery back-up.

Can you retro-fit battery backup into a grid connect system?

Yes. Battery backup systems require additional components similar to RAPS such as a solar regulator, batteries, and inverter.

What sized system will I need?

Any size grid connect solar system will help slash your power bills. To determine how large a system you’ll need to gain the savings you wish, try our online solar quotes tool.

Will I need to re-roof my house?

In most situations, we can install PV panels, with minimal, if any, changes to your roof.

What is a solar ready roof?

A solar ready roof is one that the builder made in such a way to allow easy installation and is also angled to promote adequate efficiency and the panels self-cleaning attributes. Learn more about solar ready roofs.

Building suitability for solar power system?

We will need to evaluate several aspects to determine if your home is a good solar site, such as orientation, space available, shadows on the space available and your current electricity usage. The best site is one with adequate northerly facing roofing that is not in the shade. Variations on that will cut into the productivity of the system.

What is the cost of solar power?

To determine pricing for a system, use our online solar quotes tool. It will ask you a series of questions and then calculate a system to suit your needs. It will also give a rough estimate on pricing.

Can solar panels work in the shade?

The output of any panel will be reduced or cut off if it is in shadow. However, some solar panels do work better than others in the shade.

All solar panels sold by Energy Matters have “bypass diodes”, which send output from the remaining cells around that dead cell. However, you have lost the output of that cell, so the total panel voltage will drop by about 0.48 volts per cell. Most panels are in the 16 to 18 volt range, and most batteries need at least 13.5 volts to charge completely. So, if 2 or more cells are shaded, the output voltage of the panel may drop too low to charge the battery.

Dirt, dust, leaves, bird droppings, shadows from trees, vent pipes, etc can all cause reduced output due to shading. Wash panels down occasionally, especially if mounted flat on a roof, eg. caravan installations. A quick wash with a soapy brush or mop and then rinse. However, you may need to clean off some tree waste with a solvent such as turpentine.

If our solar power FAQs haven’t addressed your questions, then contact us and we will be glad to assist you.

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