Using The Australian Sun To Power Your Home
Many homeowners in Australia take advantage of the sun for heating their homes without even thinking about it. When you pull back those curtains on a cool morning to let the warm sunlight in, you are actually using the sun the warm your home as well as for lighting.
Of course, the sun can be used to power your home more effectively when you install photovoltaic or PV panels. When the sun’s rays hit these panels they are absorbed by certain materials that are semi-conductors such as silicone. This separates the electrons from the atoms so that they can flow through this material and electricity is produced. Converting light to electricity is known as the photovoltaic effect.
Solar panels convert light to direct current (DC) electricity. This must then be converted to alternating current (AC) before it can be used to run household appliances. This is done by passing it through an inverter before it enters the home’s utility panel for further distribution to lights and appliances.
Solar power is also stored as DC electricity in batteries to supply the home with power during the night or if there is a blackout during the day. Or maybe for when you get a spell of wet or cloudy weather that reduces the amount of solar power available for conversion.
If more electricity is produced than can be used or stored, then this can be transferred to the power grid with a utility meter to keep track of the amount of electricity that goes in or out of the house. The inflow and outflow of electricity are offset so that you only pay for the amount of electricity that is used. In some cases you would not pay anything because what is used from the grid is paid for by what is put back from your PV panels.