How Solar works

What Do I Need?

By tapping into the sun’s renewable energy, you can power your home while making big savings on your monthly bills. But how do you convert that sunlight into useful power?

Step 1: Installation

Panels made up on photovoltaic (PV) cells are arranged on your roof so they can capture as much sunlight as possible – in New Zealand that means, ideally, a north-facing or east-west configuration.

Step 2: Collection

The solar panels are made of silicon and are able to collect energy from the sun in all daylight conditions, so even on a cloudy day they will still generate power – albeit with lower production than on clear days. When sunlight hits the solar panels, the PV cells convert the sun’s rays into Direct Current (DC) electricity.

Step 3: Conversion

An inverter converts that DC power into Alternating Current (AC) electricity and feeds it straight into your home’s wiring where it will power your lights, appliances, or anything else that uses electricity in your home. This works in tandem with the grid supplied power where it supplements the grid supply.

Step 4: Credit

Whenever your solar system produces more electricity than you can use, the excess power flows back into the public grid. Most power companies will offer a small credit for this. Then at night, when your system isn’t producing electricity, you simply buy power back. To minimise this, consider adding a battery so you can store the excess power you generate for later use.

Flowchart of how solar works