In this post, we’re going to explain in plain, simple terms what the difference is between solar panels, solar inverters and solar batteries, and what you need for your unique needs.
If you’re thinking of installing solar power in your home or business, but are completely new to everything, then you might find yourself a little overwhelmed.
There are so many options out there, and as you drill down into those options, the technical jargon can get very complex.
You just want solar panels… so what is an inverter? And do you need a solar battery? Surely that’s all part of the system, right?
Solar panels are the foundation to build on
You can’t turn the sun’s energy into electricity by using happy thoughts and good intentions.
First of all, you need to collect the sunshine and then convert it into electricity, and this is exactly what solar panels do.
How do they do it?
Well, with no moving parts, no external power source, and no special chemicals, it seems like magic.
We’ve explained before how solar panels work, but as a quick reminder, one side of the panel is negatively charged and the other positively charged.
When sunlight hits the panel, this gives the electrons inside a little bump of energy, allowing them to move from the negative side across to the positive side.
This movement, or flow, of electrons, is also known as… electricity!
And voila! You’ve now converted the sun’s energy into electricity for your home.
But wait… it’s “raw”, DC electricity, and the appliances in your home run on AC electricity… sounds like you need an inverter.
Solar inverters make electricity usable and safe
If solar panels are the fuel tank, then solar inverters are the engine that makes everything go.
There’s no point having all this DC electricity if you can’t use it, and solar inverters do the essential job of transforming it into usable AC current.
Solar inverters play a critical role in how the overall system behaves, optimising the amount of power coming out of the panels, and more importantly, the quality and safety of the electricity generated.
Most systems come with a single solar inverter that is hooked up to your solar panels, but recent advancements in inverter technology have resulted in micro inverters.
These are smaller inverters that attach directly to each individual solar panel, allowing them to be monitored and optimised individually.
Not only does this generate more power for your home, but because they are all separate from each other, if one panel fails, the others carry on as normal, allowing you to keep the lights on and the fridge working!
Solar batteries store what you don’t use
Solar panels and inverters are essential to a PV system, but a battery is an optional piece of equipment.
There are two main issues with a home solar system; what do you do when the sun isn’t shining, and where does your electricity go if you’re not using it?
The answer both involves the national grid.
When you need more juice, you use the good old-fashioned power lines to top you up (and pay through the nose for it), and if you have surplus energy, then it is sent back into the grid and you’ll receive credits on your next bill.
A solar battery solves both these problems.
Fundamentally, a solar battery is no different than the batteries in your TV remote, your phone, or your car. They all do the same thing; store electricity.
Any electricity you generate that you don’t use is stored in your battery, ready for those rainy days. Nothing is sent back to the grid (unless the battery itself is full) and you don’t have to rely on the grid when it’s cloudy.
Solar batteries aren’t necessary, but we highly recommend them.
They can reduce your electricity bills by a further 75% – that’s on top of what you already save by generating your own energy!
If you’re installing a solar system, then you might as well do it right the first time and get the battery too.
Talk to us for free advice about solar panels
Researching solar power and PV systems can sometimes make things even more confusing.
When it comes to which brand to buy, how many panels you need, what inverter to choose, the answers aren’t always clear.
It’s always wise to get professional advice, especially with something as important (and costly) as this.
We have been in the solar business for decades, installing solar PV systems for both residential and commercial properties, and we would be happy to have a chat with you.
Our highly skilled engineers are fully accredited and licensed by the Clean Energy Council (CEC), so you can depend on us to know what we’re talking about.
Finding the right system for your home and budget is the first step in making the switch to solar, and we want to put your mind at rest giving you free, honest advice with no commitment to buy.
If you have any questions about buying solar panels or would like some advice about what you need, then please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
We’re here to help.
Bright Earth Solar offers a range of exceptional solar products, helping you save money while doing your bit to save the planet. We keep you up to date with new technology, innovation and trends in renewable energy.