about solar power
enter your postcode below to find a better deal on your power & gas
Solar power is a form of renewable energy that is produced from the sun. The sun produces two forms of energy - heat and light - and both can be utilised to provide energy to homes. Although the sun's energy has been used for centuries in a few different ways, it wasn't until 1954 that American scientists were able to utilise its power.
how solar power works
There are two main forms of solar power:
solar photovoltaic energy
This is the most common method of collecting solar energy and involves using solar panels to trap the sun's energy. In simple terms, sunlight charges electrons in the solar panels, which then move through a wire to create an electric current.
solar thermal energy
This method uses the sun's thermal energy to heat other substances such as water which turns into steam that is used to drive turbines and generate electricity. This method is still being developed.
advantages of solar power
There are many advantages from using solar power to generate electricity:
- Once the equipment is installed, there is no need for fuel or ongoing maintenance other than ensuring the solar panels are kept clean
- Once manufactured, solar cells do not produce greenhouse gases, noise, unpleasant emissions or smells
- Solar panels are cheap to run (sunlight is free!)
- The sun's energy is sustainable - the sun won't stop shining because we are capturing its energy
- Solar powered lights and other products are generally easy to install and a wide variety of items can be powered
- Solar cells can last a lifetime
- There are a number of government rebates for people wanting to switch to solar power - learn more.
disadvantages of solar power
However, solar power does have some disadvantages:
- Cloudy days significantly reduce the amount of electricity that can be generated
- Energy can only be generated during daylight hours
- Costs to purchase and install solar panels can be significant
- Excess electricity needs to be stored, resulting in energy losses, or fed back into the power grid