Watts & Kilowatts (kW) – 1000 Watts = 1.0kW – If you were to install 5.0kWs worth of solar panels, then the size of your solar power system is 5.0kWs.
Kilowatt Hours (kWh) – 1.0 kWh = 1 kW of electricity per hour – This is how power is measured on your electricity bill. So if you install a 5.0kW solar system and it produces 5.0kWs of power every hour, then the system produces 5.0kWh.
STCs or Small-scale Technology Certificates – STCs are the certificates which are created when you install a renewable energy system such as solar panels or a solar hot water system. In the past, the certificates were called RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates)
PV System – PV stands for Photovoltaic. Photo meaning light and voltaic meaning power. Most installers refer to your solar panels as a PV system.
Solar Module – This is another name for a solar panel
Cell – The Cell or the Solar Cells are the silicon wafers which are used to make the solar panel. In monocrystalline solar panels, the cells are normally in the shape of a diamond. In polycrystalline solar panels, the cells are normally in the shape of a rectangle.
Inverter – This is one of the components of your PV system. It is used to convert the DC energy into AC energy. AC is a safer form of energy used in all homes and workplaces.
AC – Alternate Current. A safer form of electric current which is widely used throughout the world in homes and other commercial structures.
DC – Direct Current. This is the form of energy created from your solar panels. It’s not very safe though, and needs to be transferred to AC so that you can use it in your home.
Strings – Depending on the size of the PV system, you may have one or more strings of panels. Depending on the voltage of the panels, you can have around ten panels linked in a string. A 3.0kW system would normally have two strings of panels.
Transformerless – Some inverters have transformers in them, others are transformersless. In most cases, a transformerless inverter is slightly more efficient than one which has a built in transformer. A transformerless inverter is also considerably lighter.
PV Array – This is another term used when describing the solar panels on a structure or roof.
Feed-in Tariff – The Feed-in Tariff is used to measure the amount of energy you have fed back into the grid. However, you will need to have a bidirectional meter installed for it to be measured.
Monocrystalline Cells – Monocrystalline material is made from one large single crystal of silicon.
Polycrystalline or Multicrystalline Cells – Polycrystalline or multicrystalline material is made up of millions of small silicon crystals.
WEEB – Washer, Electrical Equipment Bond – This is a small plate which is fixed in-between the solar panel and the rail. The WEEB has small teeth which bite into the metal to earth the system.
Dual MPPT – Dual Maximum Power Point Tracking – This is a feature of the inverter. It allows two separate strings of panels to face different directions, or different angles. It’s like having two inverters built into one. This feature is useful for roofs with minimal space to install panels.
UV – Ultraviolet. An ultraviolet photon is a particle of light that emanates from the nuclear fusion of hydrogen in our sun.
Photon – A photon is a particle of light.
PPA – Power Purchase Agreement – A PPA is a legal document which binds a supplier of electricity to a buyer of electricity. For example, when you install solar panels and then connect them to the grid, you will be supplying green energy to your energy retailer. From there, your energy retailer will on sell the green energy. For large scale commercial solar farms, PPAs are less common. It is up to the owner to contact the energy retailer and negotiate terms prior to construction of the solar farm.
PV – (Photovoltaic) – ‘Photo’ meaning light and ‘Voltaic’ meaning energy. PV is method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a photovoltaic material. Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide/sulphide. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.
Boron – Is a chemical element with the chemical symbol B and atomic number 5. Because boron is produced entirely by cosmic ray spallation and not by stellar nucleosynthesis, it is a low-abundance element in both the solar system and the Earth’s crust. Boron is concentrated on Earth by the water solubility of its more common naturally occurring compounds, the borate minerals.
Phosphorus – Is a chemical element with the chemical symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidised state, as inorganic phosphate rocks. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms—white phosphorus and red phosphorus—but due to its high reactivity, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth.
Breakers & Isolators – PV Isolators and DC Breakers are designed to stop current and voltage being supplied to equipment in the unlikely event of an emergency, or so that installers or electricians can install, remove or service the equipment.