How Solar Works

How solar panels work

Solar panels are made up of cells, with two layers of silicon – one positively charged and one negatively charged. Light causes the electrons to move between the layers, making a current which is captured by contact grids.

  • The colder it is – the better solar panels work!
  • NZ has one of the highest efficiencies for solar panel capture—w/m2
  • Solar panels can be used for any electrical load

This gives solar panels (PV) great versatility and efficiency as a choice for power generation.  Energy from the sun is captured with a very high efficiency ratio and can be used or stored for a wide variety of applications.

How solar panels work diagram

How solar hot water vacum tubes work

Solar vacum tube hot water systems are the latest direct hot water heating technology. They work by capturing solar heat in an optimised tube and transferring the heat via condensed gas to the hot water system. That said, they do not offer the same advantages and efficiency of solar PV panels.

  • Reduces 70% of your annual hot water bill
  • Less efficient in winter when colder and less direct sun
  • Less efficient the hotter the water – diminishing return
How solar panels work diagram

Optimising solar capture

Power produced by solar panels is not constant – it rises and falls with the sun and is greater in summer than in winter. Our computer technology assists in optimising the best array angles and positions for shade evasion, seasonal considerations and compensation.

A cost effective method of increasing solar panel production is over-subscription – installing more solar panels than the inverters output capacity. The extra generating capacity reaches the inverters maximum output earlier and remains at maximum for longer through the day. The result is more power gained in the morning and afternoon than potential lost during midday peak. Your system costs less because we use a smaller inverter.

Solar panel array angles

Although the north face of a site usually gets more sun, there are other factors to consider which affect the overall optimum capture of a solar panel array.  Often this can result in an East West positioning being the most effective.

How solar panels work diagram
How solar panels work diagram

Performance

Onboard software applications control and monitor your solar panel energy system, so you can see how it is performing.

Different systems

There are different kinds of solar panel power systems, each designed to suit different situations and different requirements.

The three main configurations are GRID-TIED, HYBRID and OFF-GRID. Within each of these, there are many variables, which Sunergy Solar configure as a custom installation particular to your site and needs.

GRID-TIED

Where you rely on the grid for when the solar panels are not producing, i.e. at night.

Power from the panels is used during the day when they are generating, in priority over grid power.  If there is not enough power generating from the solar panels, electricity from the grid is used to subsidise the load required.

Surplus electricity from the panels is not stored, but is directed back into the grid.

HYBRID

Hybrid systems are like the grid-tied system, but with the addition of batteries to store excess energy from your solar system for use in the evenings, with the grid as your backup.

This also allows for some emergency loads to be run in an off-grid way from solar and batteries during a power cut – like your lights and fridge.

Additional components are used to manage power.

OFF-GRID

An off-grid system has no connection to the electrical grid, and is the sole source of power.

A battery bank and backup generator are used in addition to the solar panels. Surplus electricity generated during the day is stored in the battery bank for use when panels are not generating—ie at night.

Off-grid houses require a more energy conscious design for water heating and space heating and are most common where connecting to the grid is cost prohibitive.

Return on investment (ROI)

As well as generating energy, solar power can effectively generate income—as a return on your investment through savings on power bills

Using NIWA’s historical data and today's average power prices, we’re able to give you an expected ROI.

These graphs show your expected return based on a 4.16kW system, saving $0.30c per kWh of grid supply.

The sooner you go solar, the greater the return ~ so why hold off on a good investment?
~ Ask us how solar energy can work for you.

Go solar ~ start saving with cleaner energy!

~Call us   0800 SUNERGY