Jargon Explained

What is a kW? Here's the maths!

kW represent Kilowatt
Power is measured in Watts
One Thousand Watts = One Kilowatt (1kW)
One Thousand Kilowatts = One Megawatt
One Thousand Megawatts = One Gigawatt

What is the difference between kW and kWh?

kW - represents the wattage power rating of an appliance. You will find this written on appliances. For example, A clothes dryer rated at 2kW element means the electricity it consumes at any moment of time is 2000watts. (2kW) kWh – Means Kilowatt/Hour – this is what is referred to on your electricity bill. If you were to run that clothes dryer for 1 hour then it will have consumed 2kWh's (two kilowatt hours). If you ran it for 30 minutes or half an hour, it will have consumed 1kw hour. (1 kWh) Interesting, so there's a myth right there! "Don't use the dryer its too expensive!"

Well, now you can work it out: dry a few small items for 15 minutes, and lets say your electricity costs you 28cents per kWh, voila! It only costs 14 cents, so you can see its not all that bad as people have been saying for years. I often use my dryer when I need something small dried quickly, and if solar is functioning then you made the power to run it.

What is DC Power?

DC stand for Direct Current – better known as battery power like in your torch from AA cell batteries or any other type. Your car battery is DC power.

What is AC Power?

AC stand for Alternating Current. It is the type of power we generally call "electricity". It where you plug your TV or toaster. These type of appliances need AC power (electricity) to operate. Sometimes in Caravans, you may find DC operating fridges and lights, but in your home all appliances that plug into your power points are AC.

What is a Photovoltaic Cell?

A photovoltaic cell is the technical name for a battery that operates from light absorption. And creates DC Power. Some calculators have mini photovoltaic cells and of course Solar Panels. Generally solar panels for your home or business come in two main forms – a bank of either 60 or 72 photovoltaic cells joined together to make one solar panel. Just like a lot of small batteries connected together, like in torch or other device.

What is an Inverter

An inverter is an electrical device that converts DC power (produced from your solar panels) to usable AC power (electricity) for you home. Sometimes people mistake the terminology with this and call them 'converters'. Which is another way to describe their function.

Hot Water Timer

This is a "loose term" for device which is simply a timer that allows electricity to flow through it during specified times to your hot water system. Like a pool timer. However it must be noted a "timer" alone is not well equipped to perform this function as they are not rated to handle hot water power levels for long period of time and will in time fail and then... you have cold water... yuk! To perform hot water power switching, you need an additional device (a high rated contactor or relay device) mounted in your switchboard that the timer operates, then this device switches power through to the Hot water system. Be aware.

What is Self Consumption?

Self consumption is the electricity that you have consumed from your own production of solar power.

What is exported electricity?

This is electricity you have produced from your solar power system that you have not self consumed or stored in a Battery, and exported back to the Electricity Grid. Some retailers pay up to 20 cents for exported electricity.

What STC's

STC stand for Small Scale Technology Certificate. The system devised by the Australian Government to subsidise the purchase of Solar power on your home or business. STC's are traded like stock and can never be worth more than $40. In September 2017 they dropped to $28 and vary in price depending on volumes in the market. You the customer sign these over to us after installation and we sell them in the STC market to claim the subsidy. There are no guarantees that the STC programme will continue with many instances of the Government threatening to remove them, and if they did it would add considerable cost to the purchase of a solar system.

What does FiT mean

FiT is an abbreviation of "Feed in Tariff" This was a Govt offer in QLD as 44 cents per kWh exported until 2028 if you applied before July 30 2012 and installed before July 30 2013. The offer is intended to last until 2028.

How does it work? Simply, unused electricity that you produce is sold back (exported) to the Govt Body for 44c per kWh. Can I still get this 44c Fit? – no . The best you can get at this point of time is 20c from an Electricity retailer. Of interest, many consumers who took this option have small systems installed and are in fact self consuming all their electricity and the 44 cents is of no consequence. Additionally it is interesting to note that if electricity prices rose by 15% per annum for 3 years, then electricity would cost 44c per kWh and would make the scheme defunct from a practical sense.

Can I upgrade my system to a larger system and still get Panel subsidies – YES you can still get full panel subsidies, but you will forgo the 44c FiT. However, there are attractive offers in the market right now offering up to 20c from electricity retailers.

If you would like any other terms explained please contact us on admin@iesmail.com.au and we will add them to this page.

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