Solar PowerFrequently Asked Questions
Are government incentives available for Solar Power?
What is a standard installation
A standard installation for a solar power system is defined as:
- Single story dwelling with a tin or tile pitched roof (Kliplok or similar roofs are not defined as tin)
- No split arrays i.e. all the solar panels are installed on the same area of roof
- No cathedral or raked ceilings
- Inverter mounted inside garage or other location with 15 metres or meter box or sub-board
Can solar panels be damaged by hail?
Yes – solar panels can be damaged by hail however all solar panels we sell are tested against hail damage and will therefore survive most hail storms.
If however the hail stones are exceptionally large then they can irreparably damage a solar panel and in the unlikely event of that happening you should
a) Turn off your solar power system by following the shutdown procedure which will be shown on or near your solar inverter, and
b) Contact us immediately – we can make the system electrically safe and organise replacement solar panel(s) for you as soon as possible. The cost of the new solar panels should be covered by your household insurance but please check with them to ensure coverage.
What happens if there is a power failure?
For safety reasons your inverter will instantly shut down in the event of a power failure – if this happens the inverter will display an error message similar to “Grid Failure”. You do not need to do anything as the inverter will restart as soon as the power is restored and there is sufficient light.
If you have a battery storage system with EPS (Emergency Power Supply) functionality your battery will provide you with power after a few seconds.
Will my solar power system produce power on overcast or rainy days?
Since the amount of electricity generated depends on light intensity and not irradiation or direct sunlight, your solar power system will work In cloudy and rainy conditions. However the greater the intensity of light, the greater the flow of electricity therefore more electricity is produced on sunny days.
What is the difference between Mono and Poly solar panels
All solar panels are made from silicon and there are 2 main types of silicon used in the construction:
As you can see from the image Mono-crystalline solar panels are mainly black in colour and have diamond shaped sections between the solar cells. Mono-crystalline silicon, as the name suggests, is grown from a single seed of silicon and forms a round, single cell piece of silicon. The edges are then trimmed to make the square solar cells with rounded corners.
Mono-crystalline solar panels were very popular a few years ago but have now mainly be replaced with Poly-crystalline solar panels.
Poly-crystalline solar panels are more blue in colour and there are no diamond shapes between the cells. Poly-crystalline solar is made up of small pieces of silicon which is melted at very high temperatures and slowly cooled to make large, square ingots from which cells are cut. Poly-crystalline is less energy intensive to manufacture and has become the most popular form of solar panel today.
There is no discernible difference between a quality poly and a quality mono solar panel. There are however large differences between good quality and poor quality solar panels.
Glossary of terms
ENERGY PAYBACK TIME: The time it takes for a solar module to generate the same amount of energy required for its manufacture. A modern photovoltaic module’s energy payback time is typically from 1 to 4 years, depending on the module type and location. REC Solar Panels have an energy payback time of 1 year.
GRID-CONNECTED OR GRID-TIED SYSTEM: Solar power system connected to the electric grid.
GRID PARITY: Grid parity is when solar cells can produce electricity at the same price as the electrical energy you can buy off the grid, (or less) without subsidies or feed-in tariffs.
INVERTER: A unit that converts the electricity from the solar system (DC – Direct Current) to electricity that is compatible with the grid (AC – Alternating Current).
HYBRID SOLAR POWER: A solar power system that is grid-connected and has a battery
kW (KILOWATT): Unit of power equivalent to 1,000 watts.
kWh (KILOWATT HOUR): A Unit of energy equal to that produced or consumed by one kilowatt in one hour.
MONOCRYSTALLINE SILICON: Processed silicon where all the material consists of only one crystal.
MULTICRYSTALLINE SILICON: Processed silicon where the material consists of several small (typically 1–20 mm diameter) crystal grains. Sometimes also called Polycrsystalline.
mW (MEGAWATT): Unit of power equivalent to 1,000 kW.
OFF-GRID SYSTEM: Solar power system not connected to the electric grid. Normally used in areas where grid-connected electricity is unavailable or available only at a high cost.
PHOTOVOLTAICS (photo=light, voltaic=electricity): Solar cells are made of silicon. When a photon (particle of sunlight) strikes a molecule within the solar cell, an electron is knocked free. An electrical field causes this free electron to move to one side of the cell. The accumulated effect of millions of this interaction generates electricity
SOLAR CELL: Semiconductor device that creates electricity when exposed to sunlight. Normally made from silicon wafers.
SOLAR MODULE (SOLAR PANEL): Interconnected solar cells encapsulated and protected behind transparent materials that protect against humidity, air and mechanical damage. Normally solar modules are made with a glass front, a polymer back sheet and aluminium frame. The photovoltaic module, more commonly known as the solar panel or solar module, is then used as a component in a larger photovoltaic system to offer electricity for commercial and residential applications.
Wp (WATT PEAK): Power from solar cells is normally measured in watts when the solar cell is exposed to a standard sunlight irradiation (1,000 W/sqm).