Parts of a Solar PV System

Basic components of a Solar PV System will include:

Basic components of a Solar PV System

Solar Panels

Solar Panels are panels that are typically placed on a roof to receive sunlight. The panels generate this sunlight into Direct Current electricity (DC electricity). The quantity of panels needed may change depending on your energy needs. You can also add extra panels in the future (depending on your inverter size), should you require to generate more energy.

Inverter

The Inverter is the part of the system that converts the electricity generated from the solar panels; Direct Current electricity (DC electricity) to Alternating Current electricity (AC electricity).
AC electricity is the type of electricity our home appliances use to run. The size and type of inverter needed can change depending on your energy needs.
Find out more on different type of inverters here

Mounting System

Your mounting system is what physically connects your new solar panels to your existing roof. This is an integral component of your solar PV system, as not only is your system designed to stay on your roof for a minimum of 25 years, it will be subjected to major environmental stresses including hail, wind and heat waves during this time.

It’s important to invest in a good quality, corrosion resistant mounting system to ensure the longevity of your investment.

Switchboard

The Switchboard receives the AC electricity from the inverter and feeds it in to your home for use by your appliances.

Electricity Meter

The Electricity Meter calculates whether you have any excess electricity or if you require any extra electricity that your system has not been able to generate.

This will determine whether you need to export or import any energy/power.

Additional energy needed, or excess energy is either fed into the electricity grid or stored in a battery system depending on your system.

Electricity Grid (Grid)

The Electricity Grid is a public electricity source where your unused electricity can go, or you can receive additional energy from (the process of this is automatic if you are grid connected).

You will receive reimbursement from the grid for your excess energy. This is called a ‘Feed-in Tariff’ and will appear on your power bill. If you require energy from the grid you will be charged for this on your power bill. You need to have approval from your electricity distributor to connect your system to the grid, however your solar installer/provider should arrange this.

Battery System

A battery system is an optional component for your solar system. A battery system will charge a battery with your excess power and store the power for you to use when your solar panels are not generating energy.

It’s important to note that whilst batteries are gradually coming down in price, adding a battery won’t necessarily benefit your current financial situation like a solar system will. Today’s prices (if your State does not offer subsidies or incentives for battery) could have you looking at an expected payback period of 15 years. As technology advances and batteries become more accessible it is expected prices will drop, similar to how they have for solar systems.

View battery pricing here

 
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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.