Generating electricity from solar
The term ‘solar panel’ is often used interchangeably to describe the panels that generate electricity and those that generate hot water.
- Solar panels that produce hot water are known as solar thermal collectors or solar hot water collectors.
- Solar panels that produce electricity are known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. These panels generate DC electricity when exposed to light.
- Solar PV is the rooftop solar you see on homes and businesses. PV or photovoltaic solar panels turn daylight into electricity and provide you with energy and electricity to power your TV, kettle, toaster, phone charger, radio, oven and so on.
Installation of domestic solar PV system
A domestic solar PV system consists of a number of solar panels mounted to your roof (or in your garden) and connected into the electrical loads within your building. The solar panels generate DC (direct current – like a battery) electricity, which is then converted in an inverter to AC (alternating current – like the electricity in your domestic socket). Solar PV systems are rated in kilowatts (kW). A 1kW solar PV system would require 3 or 4 solar panels on your roof.
Any excess electricity produced can be stored in a battery, or other storage solution like your hot water immersion tank. It can also be exported from your house into the electrical network on your street.
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