We try to make solar as simple as we can but sometimes we can’t help but use the technical terms. That’s why we have created a Jargon Buster to help demystify the solar terminology we use.  

 

Terminology

Explanation

PV

Photovoltaics – Photo = light; Volt = electrical potential, basically electricity from light.

 

kW

Kilowatt is a measure of power meaning 1000 watts. The size of a solar PV system is defined by its peak power efficiency. Therefore a 3kW system could produce 3kW of power on a sunny day.

kWh

kWh: Kilowatt-hour is a unit of energy (not power). If your solar panels output 3kW of power continuously for an hour you would have made 3kWh of energy.

 

An average TV uses 1 kW of power an hour = 1 kWh

 

mWh

mWh: Megawatt-hour is a unit of energy: 1 mWh =1,000 kWh

 

STC’s

Small-scale Technology Certificates are an electronic form of currency. 1 STC is equivalent to one megawatt-hour of electricity generated by your solar PV system. Households and small businesses across Australia may be eligible to receive STC’s from the government after installing solar. In other words a rebate. 

 

Tier 1 Product

Top 2% of solar manufactures that invest heavily in research and development. They are only made through robotics to avoid human error.

 

DC

Direct current is the type of electricity created by your panels through absorbing sunlight.

 

AC

Alternating current is type of power that everything in your house runs off.

 

Inverter

An inverter changes the DC from the panels into AC so your house can use the energy.

 

String System

All the panels are connected meaning that all the panels will generate the same amount of power.

 

Micro inverter system

Each panel has a micro inverter beneath it. This means that all the panels work individually allowing less more energy to be generated. 

 

FIT

Feed in Tariff is a rate paid for electricity fed back to the grid.

 

Solar meter

Solar meters display in real time PV energy production data.

Smart meter

A smart meter records consumption of electric energy and communicates this information to your energy supplier.

Polycrystalline Solar Panel

Polycrystalline panels are made from melting down multiple cells. They tend to be lighter in colour, less space efficient and less expensive than Monocrystalline.

Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Monocrystalline panels are made from slicing one silicon cell. They are darker in colour, more space efficient and usually more expensive than Polycrystalline.

NMI

National Metering Identifier is a unique number used to identify every electricity network connection point in Australia.