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Solar Terms Glossary

Plugs

Glossary of Solar Terms

Term

Definition

Alternating Current

An electric current that changes its direction numerous times in a second. Our houses are powered by Alternating current (AC).

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is an independent agency of the Federal Government. It aims to bring down the cost of using renewable energy solutions. It also works to increase renewable energy usage in Australia.

Capacity

The capacity of a solar system at 100% efficiency. We measure capacity in Watts (W) or Kilowatts (kW). A solar system with a 3000 W capacity will is a 3 kW system.

Direct Current (DC)

A current that flows consistently in the same direction is a direct current. Any appliance that works on batteries uses direct current as its power source.

Efficiency

The energy output ratio of a solar cell to input energy from the sunlight. It is denoted in percentage..

Electrical Current

A flow of electricity.

Electricity Grid

An electrical grid is an interconnected network for energy supply. It transfers electricity from a producing source to the consumer. A power grid contains transmission lines, towers, generator stations, and consumer distribution lines. An electrical grid can be of different sizes

Energy Distributor

Electricity distributors are owners of the substations, power lines, and cables. In case of power cuts, consumers have to contact the energy distributor. Distributors are assigned to areas; the public cannot choose their distributors.

Energy Retailer

Energy retailers are the wholesale buyers of the energy market. They are the middleman between energy distributors & consumers.

Feed-In Tariff (FiT)

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) is the payment made to an electric consumer for the extra energy they supplied back to the electricity grid. This extra energy is generated through solar power systems. The unused energy is fed back to the power grid for an agreed-upon rate.

Gigawatt (GW)

Gigawatts is the unit to measure the power output of large electrical power stations. 1GW = 1,000 megawatts (MW).

Gigawatt-Hour (gWh)

One million Kilowatt is equal to one Gigawatt. One Gigawatt can power approx 750,000 houses. The gigawatt-hour represents the measurement of power generation by a power station, which is equal to 1000000000-watt hours.

Grid-Connected PV System

A solar system that is connected to the electricity grid. Grid-Connected PV System includes solar panels, switchboards, an electricity meter, and solar panels.

Gross Metering

Gross metering measures the solar-generated energy fed back to the electricity grid. It is used to calculate the Feed-in Tarif to pay the Solar System owner.

Inverter

Solar panels produce Direct current. The inverter attached with solar panels converts the DC electricity into alternating current (AC).`Alternating currents power our household appliances.

Kilowatt (kW)

A measure of power. 1 KW = 1,000 watts.

Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)

The amount of energy used when you run 1 Kw appliances running for an hour.

Load

Load represents the electricity consumed by an electrical appliance or a portion of a circuit at any given time.

Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)

It is an algorithm included in charge controllers to extract maximum power from a solar panel. It tracks the flow of voltage & current from the solar module.

Megawatt (MW)

A measure of power. 1 MW = 1,000 kilowatts (KW).

Megawatt-Hour (mWh)

A megawatt-hour represents one megawatt of power used continually for one hour.

Meter

It is a device used to record electricity usage in a residential or commercial property.

Mounting Equipment

A collective term for frames, clamps, and brackets used to affix PV modules on any surface.

Net Metering

It is a system that allows commercial or residential solar system owners to send the excess generated energy to the electricity grid. The Solar system owners are given credits in exchange for the power. The credits are redeemed in the power bill amount.

Panel Strings

it is the term for PV panels that are connected via a string to make for a single input for the inverter. 8 solar panels per string are the minimal input.

Peak Demand / Load

The highest power demand in a specific period is peak demand/load.

Peak Sunlight

The hour of the day when the intensity of sunlight is an average of 1000 watts/meter², it is usually the noon hour.

Photovoltaic (PV) / Photovoltaic (PV) Effect

When sunlight falls on a particular material and electricity is generated, it is called the photovoltaic effect.

Photovoltaic (PV) Array

It's the collection of several connected solar panels to supply solar energy.

Photovoltaic (PV) Cell

It is a device that carries out the conversion of sunlight into electricity. The process is called the photovoltaic effect. The device is also known as a solar cell.

Photovoltaic (PV) System

It is the electrical supply system of usable solar power via the photovoltaic effect. It is also called a solar power system. PV systems can be of any size, from a small residential panel to massive utility-scale panels.

Power

The rate at which power is produced or used.

Renewable Energy

The energy generated from renewable natural resources. Natural energy sources are sunlight, wind, rain, and geothermal heat.

Renewable Energy Target (RET)

It is an Australian Government scheme that aims to minimise the emissions of greenhouse gases and encourage the use of renewable energy sources. This policy ensures that a minimum of 33,000 Gigawatt-hour is generated from renewable resources by the end of 2020.

Small-Scale Technology Certificate (STC)

These certificates are tokens of financial incentives to install solar appliances like solar water heaters, solar panels, and heat pumps. The small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme issues these certificates. The scheme details can vary from state to state.

Solar Battery

Solar batteries are rechargeable batteries connected to the solar system. They store the excess energy in cells to be consumed later. kWh is the measure of battery storage.

Solar Battery Bundle

It is the whole bundle containing solar panels, inverters, and solar panels. The bundle stores excess generated energy to be used later.

Solar Calculator

It is a device that estimates a solar system's size and cost. It calculates the sizes based on your energy requirements and lifestyle.

Solar Cell

These silicone cells absorb sunlight and convert it into Direct current. The types of solar cells are monocrystalline (diamond-shaped) and polycrystalline (rectangular-shaped)/

Solar Energy

Solar energy is created from sunlight.

Solar for Homes Program Victoria

It is a State Government initiative that helps Victoria state citizens save money and manage climate change by building a renewable and sustainable future. The scheme offers interest-free loans and rebates for eligible homes and businesses.

Solar Monitoring

Solar monitors map and display solar generation and home consumption. They also provide automatic fault and diagnostics alerts. Solar monitors help prolong the life of solar systems through real-time monitoring.

Solar Panel

Solar panels are made from silicone and absorb sunlight to make direct currents. They generate electricity via a process called the photovoltaic effect. Solar panels are generally installed on rooftops.

Solar Panel Orientation

Placing the solar panels so that they remain exposed to sunlight for the maximum time is called solar panel orientation. In Australia, solar panels should face north.

Solar Panel Tilt/Pitch

It is the angle at which solar panels are oriented on a roof or ground. The ideal sonar panel tilt is a 20-35° angle. Solar panels should be mounted to face the sun most of the hours.

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