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Jargon Buster

So, you’re taking your first steps into the solar battery or solar energy arena. There are many terms, abbreviations and phrases that you may not fully understand or have come across before.

We’d like to take this opportunity to clear up any uncertainty and give you some insight into the energy industry keywords. There terms are used so frequently when describing energy storage and solar solutions and can be a little confusing for some. We hope that our straight forward explanation helps customers to better understand the information begin presented.

Please read below our Solar battery jargon buster, or glossary if we’re being formal.


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W Refers to Watts, a measurement of power.

KW ie; 1000 watts.

Wp stands for Watts peak. This refers to the peak power of a panel. Typical panels for the UK/AUS market are between 275Wp and 400Wp.

Kwp kilowatt peak is the measure of how much power a photovoltaic system produces from the sun under test conditions. It measures the power produced under 1kW per m2 of light. The more efficient the system, the smaller the area of panels needed.

Ie; kilo Watts peak. 1kWp = 1000Wp. Domestic systems are usually 4kWp (6.6kWp in AUS), Commercial installations are normally up to 50kWp and industrial installations can reach 1000kWp (or 1MWp)

kWh stands for kilowatt hour, which is a unit used to measure energy. Electricity bills are charged in kilowatt hours, and it is the unit used to measure the energy generated by wind turbines or photovoltaic solar panels.

kWh/year refers to kilowatt hour per year. This can be used in terms of heat output, or the amount of energy needed to heat a house.

FIT – UK is the UK government scheme which ended on 31st March 2019 and was a subsidy designed to drive down the installation price of Solar PV systems.

FIT – Australia is the amount paid to you by your electricity retailer (generally as a credit on your electricity bill) for excess solar energy that you have exported to the grid.

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

Retro-fit refers to products that are installed to an existing house or system, rather than as part of a new build.

Low Carbon Energy this term refers to technologies which minimise the amount of carbon (or greenhouse gas) emitted into the atmosphere. For homes it includes air and ground source heat pumps and combined heat and power.

Microgeneration is the generation of heat or power by renewable or low carbon means, by individuals, businesses or communities for their own use.

Renewable energy or sustainable energy refers to energy that is generated from a power source that can be replenished naturally, for example sunlight, wind, water and biomass instead of fossil fuels like coal or natural gas. Renewable sources are not carbon-based, which means they don’t release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere making them safer for the environment.

Carbon footprint is defined as the impact of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a person, product, business or event on the environment. Greenhouse gases can be emitted through a number of sources including transport, land clearance and the production and consumption of food, fuels and manufactured goods.

Carbon offset Is best described as a way in which you can balance out your carbon footprint by sponsoring projects or schemes designed to reduce carbon emissions.

National Electricity Market (NEM) Australia is the Australian wholesale market for the supply of electricity to retailers and end users in the regions of QLD, NSW, ACT, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, which began operating in December 1998.

Renewable Energy Target (RET) Australia is a Federal Government target to ensure that a minimum of 33,000 Gigawatt-hour of the country’s electricity is generated from renewable sources by the year 2020. If successful, around 23.5% of Australia’s electricity generation will be from renewable sources. RET also offers incentives to deploy sustainable sources of energy as part of the response to climate change.

Distributor or Grid Is your energy distributor or company responsible for providing power or gas to your property. They own and maintain the distribution networks including the power lines, poles, wires and gas pipelines that carry the gas and electricity to your home or business.

NMI stands for the National Meter Identifier, which is a number used to identify the electricity meter at your property. Your bill will detail your NMI.

Tariff stands for the energy tariff refers to the pricing plan that your provider or distributor charges you for your energy consumption. It is generally made up of two components, the supply charge, which is a fixed cost, and the usage charge, which depends on the amount of energy you use. Tariffs can vary depending on your retailer, your distributor and if you are on a government regulated plan.

Time-of-use plans are also known as a flexible pricing plan which refers to tariff schemes where customers are charged different rates for using electricity at peak and off peak time slots. You may pay higher rates for using peak time electricity and lower rates during off-peak hours. This kind of a tariff plan is best suited to people who regularly use electricity in non-peak times, or have the option to change their energy usage to suit the lowest tariff.

Usage charge is a fee that gets charged per kilowatt hour of usage. The amount you pay depends on the type of meter that is installed at your home.

VPP or Virtual Power Plant is a network of decentralized, medium-scale power generating units. They are dispatched through the central control room of the Virtual Power Plant but nonetheless remain independent in their operation and ownership.

Community Energy is energy generated by a community for the use of that community. By pooling resources to create a sustainable community energy system with its energy requirements from renewable energy sources.

Load Shedding is aimed at removing load from the power system when there is an imbalance between the electricity available and the demand for electricity. Load shedding is therefore done to protect the national power system from collapsing.

Off Grid is when your home isn’t connected to a mains power supply and you must rely on alternative methods to provide power to your home.

Inverter is a box or unit that sits in the building changing the DC electric from the panels to AC electric that is acceptable for your appliances and the national grid. Inverter position is extremely important.

Single phase is an electrical connection used to transmit and distribute the electricity in your home. Your home location, size and usage will dictate whether you require a single phase or 3 phase grid connection. Most household appliances run on single phase.

3 Phase is an electrical connection typically used in larger domestic homes, or in commercial and industrial settings. This means that your electricity is being used across 3 different “phases” coming from your distributor, which are all separate from each other.

AC Coupled Battery is when your Battery has a dedicated inverter to charge/discharge, without having PV connected directly to it. To charge this Battery from solar power, you will need to install a separate PV inverter, which will allow the Battery to charge using the excess energy. The Battery will then charge using it’s AC connection.

DC Coupled is when the Solar is connected on the DC side of the inverter. This can be done with a separate charge controller that charges the battery directly, or by using a Hybrid Inverter. This method does not require any other PV inverters for solar charging, but can still make use of excess energy from other sources.

Hybrid Inverter is an Inverter that incorporates PV and Battery inputs in one unit. This means that it can generate power from the PV Panels, AND charge/discharge your battery when suitable.

Charging Cycle or charge cycle is the process of charging a rechargeable battery to full and discharging it to the manufacturers specified maximum DOD as required for a load. Typically used to describe a battery’s expected lifespan as the number of cycles affect lifespan more than time.

DOD often referred to as Depth of Discharge. This indicates the percentage of the battery that has been discharged in relation to the overall capacity.

LiFeP04 also referred to as Lithium Iron Phosphate or LFP is the chemical composition for battery storage. It is classed as the safest and most cost effective form of lithium battery. Other battery storage types are Lead Acid, Lithium Ion, Lead Carbon and Sodium Ion.

ESS stands for ‘Energy Storage System’. This is a term used to describe Solar Battery Storage systems for home or business use.

All in One or AIO is a combined hybrid battery and inverter housed within a single unit.

Payback is length of time estimated for your system to pay for itself taking into consideration system size, solar size, location and lifestyle elements.

PV or photovoltaic deifinition is simply the transfer of light (photo) in to electricity (voltaic).

Photovoltaic cell is a cell that converts solar energy into electrical energy. The most prominent of these is a renewable energy source, primarily photovoltaic cells or use of powered by solar energy.

Solar power is energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy.(Typically known as Kilowatts KW)

Solar energy is energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy as a product of time. (Typically
represented as Kilowatt hours KWhr)

Solar panel are electrical devices in the form of a panel comprised of connected solar cells. They can be roof or ground mounted.

PV Array or photovoltaic array is the complete power-generating unit, consisting of any number of PV modules and panels

Polycrystalline Solar Panels are made from melting down multiple cells. They tend to be lighter in colour, less space efficient and less expensive than Monocrystalline.

Monocrystalline Solar Panel are made from slicing one silicon cell. They are darker in colour, more space efficient and usually more expensive than Polycrystalline.

Passive solar design is design that works to most effectively use the sun’s energy for heating. In passive solar heated buildings, the suns energy is brought into the building during the day (for example through South facing windows in the Northern Hemisphere, North facing windows in the Southern Hemisphere) and is stored by building fabric and released back into the building in the evening.

Mounting system refers to the frame, brackets, hooks etc required to hold the panels in place. Various solutions are available to deal with the many situations that Solar PV panels can be mounted in.

String System are named when the panels are connected in series meaning that all the panels will generate the same amount of power.

Micro Inverter Systems are when each solar panel has a micro inverter beneath it. This means that all the panels work individually allowing more energy to be generated in shady situations.

STC’s – Australia stands for Small-scale Technology Certificates are an electronic form of currency. 1 STC is equivalent to one megawatt-hour of electricity generated by your solar PV system. Households and small businesses across Australia may be eligible to receive STC’s from the government after installing solar. To put it plainly, a rebate.

DC stands for Direct current, which is is the type of electricity created by your panels through absorbing sunlight. This is also the type of electricity that is stored in your batteries.

AC stands for Alternating current, which is the type of electricity that runs everything in your house.

Solar Meter displays in real time PV energy production data.

Smart Meter Is a device that records consumption of electrical energy and communicates this information to your energy supplier.

it's not all batteries

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