Solar Power For Your Home: The Absolute Basics

Back to absolute basics today on the SolarQuotes blog!

Here’s an infographic I got drawn up that explains the fundamental concepts you need to understand before buying solar for your home.

Yes, yes – I know for many of you dear readers this is completely obvious! But trust me, many folks out there starting on their solar journey do not realise that solar hot water panels don’t produce electricity.

Feel free to reproduce, republish and share to your heart’s content. The more knowledge out there the better for everybody!

an infographic describing solar power fundamentals

Solar Power For Your Home: The Basics


About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and the founder and CEO of I started SolarQuotes in 2009 and the SolarQuotes blog in 2013 with the belief that it’s more important to be truthful and objective than popular. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division. Since 2009, I’ve helped over 700,000 Aussies get quotes for solar from installers I trust. Read my full bio.


  1. “East or West facing panels will produce about 15% to 20% less power than North facing panels”.

    SEZ WHO? Show us the figures. Without convincing proofs from some independent authority with nothing to gain I won’t accept that ‘ambient light’ can produce 85% of the power that direct sunlight can. And if that WERE the case you’d get the same output if your panels faced south; the ambient light diffused by the atmosphere/environment is no less in the South than the ambient sunlight in any other direction.

    Why’s it so hard to grasp the fact that by facing panels West (or East) the panels get NO direct sunlight for HALF the time? Again I draw the parallel with aiming your car headlights at the other side of the road instead of ahead of the vehicle. They too would throw ambient light in front of and behind the vehicle ~ but CERTAINLY NOT 80%-85% of the light of forward-facing headlights. Nor anything like it.

    Test it yourself: You can easily establish the difference in power-producing photons by looking across a sunlit landscape and then ~ to get the comparison ~ looking directly into the sun. I’ll look forward to getting your independent conclusions.

    People will say anything if the price is right ~ and sometimes even believe what they’re saying, (get any godbotherer going and you’ll see what I mean);
    but I’ll bet the self-interested sellers/installers of solar systems wouldn’t be prepared to take a price-cut of 15%-20% based on even their own claims

  2. Finn Peacock says

    It’s called physics and geometry Dabbles. Also have a look on and google “Desert Knowledge Australia” for empirical proof. There are hundreds of west facing systems with real time and historical power data that you can look at.

  3. Yes Minister says

    Whilst I haven’t had the time to follow up those leads as yet, my impression is that east or west facing systems would be far less efficient than suggested. A few years ago I built a new abode with careful attention given to maximizing PV productivity. That worked just as I expected, certainly a quantum improvement on my previous place with an east facing system. That said, non-visible spectrum radiation seems to be very significant since my PV system output only drops to around 50% during prolonged periods of heavy overcast whereas I’d expect it to be somewhat less if the system relied wholly on visible light. I’ll certainly read the material suggested although I tend to be a bit sceptical about ‘experts’, especially if I’m unsure about who is providing financial backing.

  4. Janet Redbond says

    My advice – BE VERY CAREFUL OF “TRUE VALUE SOLAR” I got the panels put up by them last year and was very happy with the price and the guys that set it up were great. HOWEVER – before EASTER my system crashed – and I have rung them several times, emailed them as well. They COULD NOT CARE LESS and just say they have major problems here in West Australia. In the meantime I have received my second “big” electricity bill. Their AFTER SALES SERVICE IS OUTRAGEOUS. Thank you. I am genuine. My mobile number is 0415832036. Janet

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