Watts & Kilowatts (kW) – 1000 Watts = 1.0kW – If you were to install 5.0kW’s worth of solar panels, then the size of your solar power system is 5.0kW’s.
Kilowatt Hours (kWh) – 1.0 kWh = 1 kW of electricity per hour – This is how power is measured on your electricity bill. So if you install a 5.0kW solar system, and it produces 5.0kW’s of power every hour, then the system produces 5.0kWh.
STC’s or Small-scale Technology Certificates – STC’s are the certificates which are created when you install a renewable energy system such as solar panels or solar hot water system. In the past, the certificates were call REC’s (Renewable Energy Certificates)
PV System – PV stands for Photo-Voltaic. Photo meaning light and Voltaic meaning power. Most installers refer to your solar panels as a PV system.
Solar Module – This is another name for a solar panel
Cell – The Cell or the Solar Cells are the silicon wafers which are used to make the solar panel. In mono-crystalline solar panels, the cells are normally in the shape of a diamond. In poly-crystalline solar panels, the cells are normally in the shape of a rectangle.
Inverter – This is one of the components of your PV system. It is used to transfer the DC energy to AC energy. AC is a safer form of energy used in all homes and workplaces.
AC – Alternate Current. A safer form of electric current which is widely used around the world in homes and other commercial structures.
DC – Direct Current. This is the form of energy created from your solar panels. Its not very safe though, that’s why it needs to transfer to AC so that you can use it in your home.
Strings – Depending on the size of the PV system, you may have one or more strings of panels. Depending on the voltage of the panels, you can have around ten panels linked in a string. a 3.0kW system would normally have two strings of panels.
Transformer-less – Some inverters have transformers in them, others are transformers-less. In most cases, a transformer-less inverter is slightly more efficient than one which has a built in transformer. A transformer-less inverter is also considerably lighter.
PV Array – This is another term used when describing the solar panels on a structure or roof.
Feed-in Tariff – The Feed-in Tariff is used to measure the amount of energy you have fed back into the grid. You will need to have a bidirectional meter installed so that it can be measured though.
Mono-crystalline Cells – Mono-crystalline material is made from one large single crystal of silicon.
Poly-crystalline or Multi-crystalline Cells – Poly-crystalline or multi-crystalline material is made up of millions of small silicon crystals.
WEEB – Washer, Electrical Equipment Bond – This is a small plate which is fixed in between the solar panel and the rail. The WEEB has small teeth which bite into the metals to earth the system.
Duel MPPT – Maximum Power Point Tracking – This is a feature of the inverter. It allows 2 separate strings of panels to face different directions, or different angles. Its like having two inverters built into one. This feature is useful for roofs with minimal space to install panels.
UV – Ultra-violet. An Ultra-violet photon is a particle of light that emanates from the nuclear fusion of hydrogen in our sun.
Photon – A photon is a particle of light.
PPA – Power Purchase Agreement – A PPA is a legal document which binds a supplier of electricity to a buyer of electricity. For example, when you install solar panels and then connect them to the grid, you will be supplying green energy to your energy retailer. From there, your energy retailer will on sell the green energy. For large scale commercial solar farms, PPA’s are less common. It is up to the owner to contact the energy retailer and negotiate terms prior to construction of the solar farm.
PV – (Photovoltaic) – ‘Photo’ meaning light and ‘Voltaic’ meaning Energy. PV is method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a photovoltaic material. Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide/sulfide. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.
Boron – is a chemical element with chemical symbol B and atomic number 5. Because boron is produced entirely by cosmic ray spallation and not by stellar nucleosynthesis, it is a low-abundance element in both the solar system and the Earth’s crust. Boron is concentrated on Earth by the water-solubility of its more common naturally occurring compounds, the borate minerals.
Phosphorus – is a chemical element with symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidised state, as inorganic phosphate rocks. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms—white phosphorus and red phosphorus—but due to its high reactivity, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth.
Breakers & Isolators – PV Isolators and DC Breakers are designed to stop current and voltage being supplied to equipment so that installers or electricians can install, remove or service the equipment, or in the unlikely event of an emergency.