Anyone connected to mains power can have a solar power system installed to produce their own electricity. These systems are different from solar hot water systems that directly heat water.
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity(DC), the Inverter then converts DC voltage into 240V AC for your house to consume or export depending on the metering system available by your energy supplier. Net Metering supplies your home with power first, then if your solar array is producing more than you are using the excess will be exported to the grid and you will be credited by your energy supplier. Gross Metering exports all power generated to the grid at a higher price and then the household imports electricity at a cheaper price.
With electricity now costing $0.34/kWhr, and the cost of solar systems significantly less than that of a few years ago, solar power is still very viable even without a feed-in tariff (most energy providers are only offering a wholesale price of $0.06-$0.08/kWhr).
If the system is sized correctly, providing the power requirements for daytime usage only, customers can still see savings from $130.00 per quarter upwards. This all depends on how much power is being consumed during the daytime.
MICRO INVERTER TECHNOLOGY
As we all know, technology moves at a huge pace, this has translated into a new direction for grid connect solar.
Microinverters are connected to one or two panels only and then connected to more micro inverters (mounted underneath the panels).
This has four main advantages over traditional string type inverter systems.
1. Very low DC voltages on the roof, 50V or less. So no dangerous high voltage DC on the roof.
2. Each panel is an individual array, so if there is a shading issue, only the panel that is shaded is affected. Unlike a string system, where the whole array is affected until the shading moves off the panels. A microinverter system can produce up to 20% more power than a string system of the same size.
3. Flexibility. Microinverter systems are easily expanded, they don’t even need the same panels. So if the panels you have are no longer available (this is happening more and more), it doesn’t matter.
4. Redundancy. If there is a failure in a panel or a micro-inverter, the rest of the system keeps running.
With a 25 year warranty as standard, micro inverters are an excellent choice if you are thinking of installing a solar power system.
There are a few battery back-up systems available but are still quite costly. With the advances being made with batteries, systems will be more economically viable soon.