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How Solar works

Flowchart of how solar works

10 Things every solar buyer must consider with Peter Wolfkamp

Step 1: Install the solar panels and inverter

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: The panels collect the sun

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: The Inverter converts the DC sunlight to AC power for your home

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: Get paid for your extra power generation

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 of around 7-8c. Harrison's deal with Trustpower means you get 16c per unit (max 500 units) on a 24 month plan.

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.

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