Ch 3. What is solar power and how does it work?

An on-grid solar power system is made up of panels, and an inverter (or multiple micro inverters, see below links for details). The panels generate solar power (DC), and the inverter converts that power into useable electricity for your home (AC). In this simple setup energy is not stored, it is either used in your home to power your appliances, or exported to the grid where your electricity retailer will pay you for the power exported. This payment is called a “feed-in tariff (FIT)” and varies considerably from state to state and electricity provider.


The above information should be enough to get you started. However, if you would like more information at this stage you can read the detailed articles linked below:

You may install battery storage alongside a solar power system, or battery storage can be installed without a solar system. Given battery storage is somewhat independent of a solar system and can get quite complex, this guide will focus on on-grid solar (without batteries). Read the “Should I get batteries” section of this guide if you are interested, and visit CER’s Energy Storage section for detailed information on energy storage.

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