Gloved hand adjusting solar panel

Solar Jargon Buster

Introduction

If you're learning about solar electricity for the first time, the jargon can be pretty confusing. That's why we created this page to help you cut through all the jargon and find out exactly what you need to know. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us...

Array

A group of solar panels also known as solar modules that work together to generate electricity which then feeds into an inverter.

Diverter

The power or hot water diverter is a device that captures the surplus electricity that your property is producing. It then sends this energy to your hot water tank, rather than allowing it to be sent back to the grid for export.

Export

The electricity that is generated but not used in the property. Exporting will happen when the property is using less electricity than is being generated by the solar array. Therefore, this excess electricity spills over and is exported to the grid.

Inverter

The inverter is a box that sits in the buildin. It changes the DC electricity that is produced by the solar array into AC electricity that is acceptable for your appliances and the national grid. Inverter position is extremely important. We always advise on the optimum place to put your inverter. Inverters are sized according to their maximum output power, expressed in kW (kilowatts). It is normal practice to undersize the inverter for the array, e.g. a 4kWp array may be paired with a 3.68kW inverter.

Kilowatts (kW)

A unit of power, equal to 1000 Watts.

kWh (kilowatt-hours)

This is the same as one unit of electricity. We buy electricity in units or kWh. If you use 1 kW (kiloWatt) for one hour, then you will have used a single unit of electricity i.e. a kWh.

kWp (kilowatts peak)

1kWp is equal to 1000 Watts peak. If refers to the power output of a system. For example, domestic arrays are usually between 3kWp and 6kWp. This means when a 3kWp system is working at its maximimun capacity for one hour will produce 3kWh. Commercial arrays average between 20kWp and 500kWp and industrial rooftop arrays can be 1000kWp (or 1MWp) or more.

Mounting system

This is the frame, brackets, hooks etc required to hold the panels in place. Various solutions are available to deal with the many situations in which solar PV panels can be mounted. We have experience in all types of mounting and can discuss every option with you.

Panel

Also known as solar panels or modules. These are the units which are actually installed on your roof, typically measuring around 1 meter wide and up to 2 meters long. It is a collection of silicon cells that generate electric current when photons (light particles) hit the silicon.

PV

PV stands for photovoltaic. This is the conversion of light energy (photo) to electric energy (voltaic).

Watts

A measurement of power. All your electrical devices use power to function, but some use more power than others.

Wp (Watts peak)

Watts peak refers to the peak power of a panel and is measured under STC (Standard Test Conditions) which are similar to a bright sunny day. This is considered to be the 'peak' because this is likely to be the highest output you'll see from the panel. Typical panels for the Irish market are between 350Wp to 450Wp.

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