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Electricity and solar glossary

Solar topic:

What the actual kilowatt? Brush up on your electricity and solar terms!


Kilowatt hours (kWh): A way of measuring power consumption, 1 kWh = 1,000 watts of electricity supplied over one hour.

Feed-in Tariff: A solar Feed-in Tariff (sometimes referred to as a solar rate or solar feed-in) is the money you get for the solar energy that your system exports to the electricity grid.

Photovoltaic (PV) Effect: A very long term for the very speedy phenomenon of converting light to electricity in a traditional solar panel.

PV System (photovoltaic system): Also known as a solar power system, a power system designed to supply usable solar power using photovoltaics.

Grid-Connected PV System: A grid-connected photovoltaic power system is an electricity-generating power system that is connected to the electricity grid, rather than a standalone “off-grid” system. Most people with solar will have their system connected to the grid.

Solar Cell: A solar cell (or “photovoltaic” or “PV” cell) is a device that converts photons from the sun (solar light) into electricity – a solar panel is made up of a group of cells.

Solar Panel Orientation: The cardinal direction that panels face. In Australia and New Zealand, the optimal direction for panels to face is usually north (but it depends on your property).

Solar panel tilt/pitch: The angle that the panels are facing in relation to the sky, for example on a flat roof, the tilt or pitch is 0 degrees.

Solar inverter: An electrical converter that changes the DC output of your solar panels into AC current that can be used by your home or fed into the electricity grid.

Solar battery: A storage device that allows your home or small business to store the excess solar energy generated by your system, instead of feeding it into the grid.

Meter: A device that measures the amount of electricity consumed by your home or small business. If you have solar, you most likely have a smart meter (which measures your usage and sends it to us remotely in half hourly increments), but you may also have an MRIM or a smart meter configured as an MRIM (Manually Read Interval Meter) – find out more about meters here.

Capacity: A measure of a solar system’s potential to generate power.

For other terms you’ll hear often at Powershop, check out our Jargon Buster.

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