Before you can join the solar revolution, it’s helpful to know what all these new terms mean. We’re adding to this list all the time, so get in touch if you want us to add a new definition!
AC: An electric current that moves in one direction then changes its mind and moves in the other direction, over and over again. The one that comes out of your plugs at home, because it’s more efficient and travels better over long distances.
DC: An electric current that knows what it wants. It only moves in one direction – forwards – but is less efficient and doesn’t travel as well over long distances.
Feed-in tariff: A payment made to people who generate their own electricity through the use of solar, comparable to the amount of power created.
Grid: The electrical power system network made up of generating plants, transmission lines, substations, transformers (not the cool kind), distribution lines and the consumer.
Inverter: A machine that changes the non-efficient DC into a useful AC.
Joule: A standard unit of energy used in electronics and other scientific applications. One joule is equal to the electricity it takes to light a 1 watt LED lightbulb for one second, or the energy required to lift a medium-sized tomato up by one metre (how’s that for a random fact?!).
kilowatt/KW: A kilowatt is 1000 watts, which is a measure of power. Using a laptop all day (for example) uses about 50 watts which is 0.05KW.
kW hour: A kilowatt hour is a measure of how much energy you’re using. 1 kW hour is equal to 1 kW of power sustained for 1 hour.
Peak sun hours: A unit of solar energy, which tells you how much energy is available for your solar system to turn into electricity each day.
Photovoltaic: Able to produce electricity from light, or relating to the process of doing this.
Racking systems: A system used to fix solar panels securely to your roof.
Solar battery: A handy device that converts solar energy into electricity.
Solar energy: Radiant energy released by the sun.
Solar panel: An ingenious panel designed to suck up the sun’s rays as a source of energy for making electricity or heating.
Solar power: Power gained by channeling the energy of the sun’s rays.