Solar doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve designed this handy jargon buster to help you understand terminology used by solar energy providers.

Terminology Definition
Alternating Current (AC) Alternating Current is the type of electricity that household devices and appliances run on.
Direct Current (DC) Direct Current is the type of electricity that is created when your solar panels absorb sunlight.  
Feed in Tariff (FIT) Credit paid for electricity fed back to the grid.
Inverter An inverter is responsible for changing DC electricity into AC electricity so that you can use it to power your home.  
Kilowatt (kW) A kilowatt is a measure of power. 1 kW = 1000 watts. We use kW to define the size of a solar system and its peak power efficiency. For example, a 3kW system could produce 3kW of power on a sunny day.  
Kilowatt-hour (kWh) kWh is a unit of energy that measures how much electricity your home has used. For example, if your system outputs 3kW of power continuously for an hour you would have made 3kWh of energy. The average television uses 1kW of power per hour = 1kWh.  
Megawatt-hour (mWh) Megawatt-hour is a unit of energy. 1 mWh = 1000 kWh.
Micro inverter system On a micro inverter system, each panel has a micro inverter beneath it. This means that each panel works individually.  
Monocrystalline solar panel Monocrystalline is a type of material used to make solar panels. It’s made by slicing one silicon cell. They are darker in colour, more space efficient and usually more expensive than Polycrystalline.  
National Metering Identifier (NMI) A unique number used to identify every electricity network connection point in Australia.  
Payback period The amount of time it takes to breakeven on a solar energy investment.
Photovoltaics (PV) PV refers to the conversion of light into electricity. Your solar PV panels are what help make this happen.  
Polycrystalline solar panel Polycrystalline is a type of material used to make solar panels. It’s made by melting down multiple cells. They are usually lighter in colour, less space efficient and less expensive than Monocrystalline.  
Small-scale Technology Certificates (STC’s) STC’s are an electronic form of currency. For every mWh of electricity generated by your solar system, 1 STC applies. You can receive this credit from the government after installing solar (a rebate).  
Smart meter A smart meter records the consumption of electricity and communicates this to your energy supplier.  
Solar meter Solar meters display PV energy production data in real time.
String system String system is when all the panels are connected. This means all panels will generate the same amount of power.  
Tier 1 Product The top 2% of solar manufactures that invest heavily in research and development. Products are only made through robotics to avoid human error.  
Virtual Power Plant (VPP) A VPP is a system of solar powered households working together as a whole to generate and store energy.