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.

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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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