Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels are generally ﬁtted on
the roof in a northerly direction and at an angle to
maximise the amount of sunlight that hits the panels.
Solar PV panels on the roofs of homes and
businesses generate clean electricity by converting
the energy in sunlight. This conversion takes place
within modules of specially fabricated materials that
make up the solar panels. It is a relatively simple
process that requires no moving parts. In most
cases solar panels are connected to the mains
power supply through a device called an inverter.
Solar panels are different to solar hot water systems,
which are also mounted on household roof-tops but
use the heat from the sun to provide hot water for
The technology to convert sunlight into electricity
was developed in the 19th century, but it was only in
the second half of the 20th century that develop-
ment accelerated behind the need to provide reli-
able supplies of electricity in remote locations – from
satellites in space to outback Australia.
Solar panels have been installed on the rooftops
of houses and other buildings in Australia since the
1970s. Currently there are more than 100,000 solar
panel systems safely and reliably delivering clean
electricity across Australia.