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General Solar Power FAQs - 1

What is PV?
 PV is short for photovoltaics (photo=light, voltaics=electricity). PV is a semiconductor-based technology used to convert light energy into direct current (DC) electricity, using no moving parts, consuming no conventional fuels, and creating no pollution.

How long has PV been around?
 The photovoltaic effect was first recognized by Edmund Bacquerel, in France, in 1839. Scientists made solar cells of selenium in the 1880s. And, modern PV technologies were developed at Bell Labs and RCA Labs in the mid 1950s.

Will solar panels heat my hot water?
 No - these solar panels provide electricity. If you are interested in a thermal solar system to heat water, you'll need a special type of collector unit - for more information, try our solar hot water section.

How does electricity get stored for use after sun goes down?
 Generally, grid connect systems direct excess electricity produced during the day back into the local electricity grid; so there is no on-site storage as such. You then receive credit for any power that you put back into the grid. At night time, you automatically use electricity straight from the grid. Off-grid systems store energy produced during the day in deep cycle batteries for use as required.

What happens with grid connect systems during a blackout?
 The grid connect inverter will automatically shut itself off within a few milliseconds of a blackout, to avoid the potential of a dangerous "brown-out" in your home and to prevent back feeding the grid; which can pose a threat to workers rectifying a blackout.

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