How does commercial solar energy work?
Solar panels are primarily made from silicon, with other materials added, to enable an electrical reaction when in contact with sun derived light. This reaction creates an electrical charge, in the form of DC (direct current) power. This is why solar power systems are also known as PV – photovoltaic, which essentially means ‘sunlight-generated electricity’.
Panels are typically fixed to the roof using rails and clamps, which predominantly make use of existing screw or nail holes and are fully sealed for waterproofing.
This power is channeled via cables to an inverter typically located in the building but can be on the roof, which converts the electricity to AC (alternating current) which is what appliances within the building are powered by. The AC power is fed from the inverter to the main switchboard and out into the building. The inverter is the brains of the system and records all solar generation.
All systems come with optional monitoring software that allows you to check generation at a particular time or across periods, and from inception.
The switchboard prioritises solar-generated power to grid power. If the amount of solar electricity being generated exceeds the level of consumption (usage) in the building at that moment, it is fed back into the network (‘the grid’) and the power retailer pays a fixed amount for this (in New Zealand most power companies pay 8c/kWh but you’d need to check with your retailer first or confirm with us).
How commercial rooftop solar works