Learning Photovoltaics

When first looking into Solar, we know that it can be daunting understanding how solar works, the meaning of different words, and what in the world is an Inverter? You're in luck. We've gone through and made a bunch of content around helping you understand solar and the basics of how it works! Enjoy.

solar panel module cells how do solar panels work

The 4 Simple Steps of Solar.

Firstly, let's simplify it as best as possible, and then we can expand on this.

1. Sunlight shines on the Solar Panels

When light hits a solar panel, the photovoltaic (PV) cells within the panel absorb the energy from the sunlight.

Solar panel cell

Solar array installation

2. Photovoltaic Effect Happens

The energy from the light excites the electrons within the PV cells, causing them to flow in a certain direction, which generates an electric current. This process is known as the photovoltaic effect.

3. The Inverter

The electricity generated by the solar panels is in the form of direct current (DC), which is not suitable for powering most household appliances. Therefore, an inverter is used to convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is the type of electricity that is used in buildings.

Solar inverter installation

Solar panels installed on roof

4. Where does Excess Electricity go?

After the energy goes through your home, there may be an excess of energy that you aren't using. If the solar panels generate more electricity than the building needs, the excess electricity can be stored in batteries for later use or sent back to the grid.

This is known as net metering, which allows homeowners with solar panels to receive credit for the excess electricity they generate, which deducts from your energy bill.

Solar System Diagram - How does it work?

Once you understand the basic steps of how solar is converted to electricity for properties, you can then understand a solar system diagram which involves each part; panels, inverter, switchboard, batteries, appliances, and the grid.

how solar works diagram solar system

What are the Benefits of Solar Power?

So you now understand how the magic works, but what's the end goal? What is the point of installing solar in the first place? Here are a couple of benefits you get from installations;

Environmental benefits

Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy, which means it does not produce harmful emissions or contribute to climate change. Over a period of time panels pay off the emissions used in manufacturing.

Increased property value

Homes and buildings with solar panels installed are often more attractive to buyers, as they offer a unique and environmentally friendly feature and energy independence.

Energy independence

By generating your own electricity, you can reduce your reliance on utility companies and take control of your energy needs.

Cost savings

Once installed, solar panels can save you money on your energy bills by reducing your reliance on traditional electricity sources.

Elements of a Solar System

Solar Inverter Icon


The inverter is an essential component of a solar power system.

It converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used to power household appliances and other electrical devices. Inverters can be either central or micro, depending on the size and complexity of the solar power system.

Solar controller icon

Solar Controller

A solar charge controller is an optional component of a solar power system with batteries, which regulates the flow of electricity between the solar panels, the battery, and the inverter.

However, most modern batteries like the Tesla Powerwall 2, and BYD Battery-box have built-in Battery Management Systems (BMS).

Solar Panel diagram icon

Solar Panels

Solar panels are the main component of a solar power system, which are installed on the roof or ground, and convert light into direct current (DC) electricity.

Solar panels are made of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which are typically made of silicon and capture light and generate a flow of electrons to produce electricity.

Battery Diagram icon


A battery is an optional component of a solar power system, which stores excess energy produced by the solar panels during the day and releases it during the night or during power outages.

The battery is typically connected to an inverter to convert the DC electricity stored in the battery into AC electricity that can be used to power the home.

Is Solar Power Right for You?

So you have a better idea of how solar works, but how do you know if solar is right for you? Is it something you should consider getting?

Upfront Costs

Solar panel installations can be expensive, although there are many financing options available to help offset the costs. You should consider the upfront costs and the long-term savings to determine if solar power is a good investment for you. We can provide a free quote!

Energy Needs

Your energy needs will depend on the size of your household, the appliances you use, and your overall energy usage.

You will need to calculate your energy needs to determine the size of the solar panel system required to meet your energy needs.

Expand Your Knowledge.

Below are some additional topics surrounding solar that can greatly benefit you and your grasp around the solar industry and its features.

Alternating vs. Direct Current

AC is used in appliances like fridges, washing machines, lighting, and fans, whilst DC is used in electronics like phones, and it's also used in every type of battery.

On vs. Off Peak Electricity

Peak and Off-Peak periods are when the grid electrical demand is high or low. Off-peak is cheaper than On-peak electricity. When does the on-peak period start?

Single vs. Three Phase Power

The difference between single and three phase power in its simplest, is how each phase distributes an electrical load, with 3-phase being higher capacity.


The NEM or otherwise known as the National Electricity Market, looks after interconnecting the 5 states, as it is difficult to store and distribute electricity.

Solar Install Process

Learn the solar installation step-by-step process of how solar panels are installed, and easily understand each step of installation, so you can keep track.

How to choose an installer

Having trouble finding the best solar installer in your area? Explore some tips and tricks on picking the right solar or battery installer and avoid making mistakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

That's it!

That's all there is to Solar systems! Now you can flex to your friends about intellectual you are.
If you still have questions, we would love to hear from you and answer any more questions you may have.

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Elite Power Group specialise in Solar Power installation and maintenance for commercial and residential properties.

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Want to store your solar energy for blackout protection and to use solar power at night? View our storage solutions.

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Want to be less grid-dependent, or want to go completely off-grid with your energy? Check out our off-grid solutions.

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