What is a solar power system?
The main components of a solar power system are photovoltaic (PV) panels, a DC to AC power converter (called an inverter) and a rack system that holds the PV panels in place.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels are generally fitted on the roof. For good power generation panels should face in an easterly, northerly or westerly direction. South facing panels will work but generation is much reduced, especially in winter. Ideally panels should be tilted to a minimum of 10 degrees to ensure they are naturally cleaned by the rain.
Solar PV panels on the roofs of homes and businesses generate clean electricity when light energy hits them. This conversion takes place within the cells of solar panels which are specially fabricated, usually of silicon. Solar power generally has no moving parts with the exception of the inverter which sometimes comes with a small cooling fan.
Solar panels are different to solar hot water systems, which are also mounted on household roof-tops but use the heat from the sun to provide hot water for household uses, in a similar principle like a hose in summer contains hot water after a few hours in the sun.
The technology to convert sunlight into electricity was developed in the 19th century, but it was only in the second half of the 20th century that development accelerated behind the need to provide reliable supplies of electricity in remote locations, to satellites in space and to homes and businesses in Australia and around the world.
Solar power has evolved rapidly in recent years with pv panels both improving in efficiency and coming down in price. Solar power, together with wind, is now the cheapest electricity in the world. With quality panels like those from LG consumers can look forward to 25 years or more free power and at the same time know they are making a substantial contribution to reducing greenhouse gases and global warming.