How Solar Home Energy Systems Work by sadmin

Posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2011

The vast majority of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed today are “grid-tied” systems. Instead of storing excess electricity in batteries, which can be expensive and require maintenance, grid-tied systems pipe any extra power back into the utility grid. In most states, homeowners receive credit for this excess power from their utility.

Here’s a cool diagram of how grid-tied solar home energy systems work, courtesy of GetSolar.

As you can see, the solar panels generate DC power, which is then converted by the inverter into AC power for use in the home. Any excess electricity — sometimes called “net excess generation,” or NEG, by industry folks — is credited to the homeowners next electric bill. In the states that are best for solar power — like California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland and Arizona — homeowners receive credit at the prevailing retail rate. That means if you buy electricity for $0.14/kWh, you’re entitled to “sell” your excess solar power at $0.14/kWh. Sometimes called “net metering,” this arrangement ensures that you, the homeowner, is fully compensated for all the energy your solar panels produce.

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