Solar energy is an environmentally friendly strategy for creating renewable energy. Currently, approximately 25% of Australian households have a solar system installed, generating their own electricity and significantly reducing their power bills.
As technology continues to advance, the cost of these installations continues to reduce, making solar energy increasingly accessible to everyone. If you really want to go off-the-grid however, you need to install a solar battery system as well as panels, the cost of which is also reducing over time.
How do solar panels generate electricity?
The photovoltaic cells located inside the solar panels that are installed on your roof absorb light (photons) which is converted into DC electricity. Unfortunately, you can’t use DC current in your home, so this is converted into AC current by an inverter that is installed near your power panel and can be used to power your home (appliances, TV, computer etc.).
If you generate more electricity than you use in your home during the day time, this excess electricity is fed into the power grid and you receive money from the power company for this electricity. This is mitigated however, by the cost of the electricity you draw from the grid at night when your system is not generating electricity.
On the other hand, if you install a solar battery storage system, this battery will store excess electricity so that you can use it at night and not have to draw from the main grid.
How much electricity can you generate?
The amount of electricity you can generate at home depends on the size of your solar installation with most homeowners installing 3kW or 5kW systems, although larger 10kW systems are growing in popularity.
Given that an average household requires 21kW hours (kWh) each day to run everything, if you install a 3kW system in Sydney you can expect to generate 11.7kW, which is less than you need over 24 hours, so you will also draw from the grid. A 5kW system in Sydney will generate around 19.5kW, which is still slightly less than you need, whilst a 10kW system might generate around 39kW – more than you need.
If you add a solar battery to your system, you can store this excess electricity and never need to access the grid ever again!