Decoding Solar Jargon: 12 Important Solar Power Terms You Need to Know

Decoding Solar Jargon: 12 Important Solar Power Terms You Need to Know

Renewables like solar energy panels are set to dominate power for the next half a century at least. Starting your conversion to cheap, clean, and inexpensive power now will set you up for the future.

There is, however, one thing that keeps people at bay with solar power.

For people interested in converting to solar, one of the primary hindrances is learning the language. People in the industry are not gatekeeping information, but the industry jargon is something you can’t evade.

Decoding Solar Jargon: 12 Important Solar Power Terms You Need to Know - Solar Power

We’re here to decode that for you.

In this guide, we will help you decipher the most important terms in the solar industry. Understanding these can give you a good edge when picking the right solar panel for your needs.

Here are some of them.

1. Alternating Current (AC)

Alternating current or AC is the electric current that reverses its electric flow at random intervals. This is the type of electricity that most household appliances and grids use.

2. Direct Current (DC)

Direct current or DC is the electricity that solar panels produce and moves to batteries. DC needs to be converted into AC for most appliances to be able to use it.

3. Inverter

Inverters are the go-between for your solar panel batteries and your grid. They convert DC to usable AC power for your appliances. High-quality inverters vary depending on their uses.

Residential inverters should be small, lightweight, easy to install, and have superior efficiency. Large-scale commercial businesses need a dedicated industrial solar inverter with a wide input range.

4. Photovoltaic

One of the most common words you’ll hear. Photovoltaic is any technology that converts light to electricity, happening through a chemical reaction. Sunlight is the source of solar power technology.

5. Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)

Kilowatt-hour is the standard unit of measurement for grid electricity. The average daily consumption in a 2-person household varies, with Newcastle averaging at 14 kWh.

Decoding Solar Jargon: 12 Important Solar Power Terms You Need to Know - Solar Power

6. Solar Battery

Solar batteries are the rechargeable power cells that store the power that a solar panel produces. It creates a rationing setup as the electrical charge is accumulated for use at night or during peak hours.

7. Power Capacity

Power capacity is the optimal output of a solar power system. Capacity uses Watts (W) or kilowatts (kW) and refers to the size of the system itself. (e.g. 3kW, 4kW)

8. Ampere-hour (Ah)

Ampere-hour (Ah) is the current of energy that produces 1 ampere per hour. Solar batteries use Ah as a measure of the capacity of energy that solar batteries can store at a time.

If you want to convert this into kWh, you divide the ampere-hour by its voltage, then multiply it by 1000. For instance, a 12-volt, 100aH solar battery has a total output of 1.2 kWh until it runs dry.

9. (Solar) Efficiency

Efficiency is the ratio of output energy compared to input energy. Most solar panels have an efficiency of between ~17% solar efficiency and ~19% solar efficiency, depending on the brand.

10. Feed-In Tariff

Feed-In Tariff is an amount paid to customers if there is any unused power that their solar panel creates and gives back to the grid. Such is an incentive for solar panel users, as they can earn some money if they have extra energy they don’t use.

11. Grid-Connected Photovoltaic System

Grid-connected Photovoltaic Systems (Grid-tied PV) are solar energy systems that work within your home and connect to utilities, too.

The system has a number of advantages. First, it allows you to use normal electricity during periods where energy is scarce, usually at night. And you can send back excess electricity into the grid.

12. Off-Grid

An off-grid solar panel system is the opposite of grid-tied. This kind of home is 100% dependent on solar power and alternative energy. As such, you pay zero electricity bills and don’t rely on anything that your utility company brings.

Decoding Solar Jargon: 12 Important Solar Power Terms You Need to Know - Solar Power

Why decoding solar jargon is crucial

Decoding solar jargon is crucial in giving you the edge. When choosing your solar panels and other solar products, a good knowledge of these solar industry terms can help. These will help you make informed decisions for your next solar power project.

If you’re looking for the best solar products in the market, check out your trusted local Newcastle solar experts at Aztech today.


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