How Does A Grid-Tied Solar System Work?
When many people think of switching to solar energy, they picture going “off the grid.” For many homeowners using solar power, that’s not the case at all. In fact, a grid-tied solar system can be a great option. It comes with many benefits the majority of homeowners can enjoy. You don’t have to worry about the extra expense of a solar backup battery or the headache of breaking ties with your local power company.
What is a grid-tied solar system?
A grid-tied solar system uses solar energy to power a home while still being connected to the homeowner’s electrical power company. This is possible through “metering.” Basically, energy from the sun is absorbed into the solar panels. Then, when the solar energy is sent to the inverter to be turned into electricity, only as much as is necessary goes into powering the house itself. Leftover energy is sent to the meter, then to the grid.
Oftentimes, the standard meter provided by default is not made for net metering, so the only extra cost is replacing it with one that is compatible. A net meter is capable of monitoring power sent both ways, not just the power sent to your home from the utility company.
What are the benefits of a grid-tied solar system?
Homeowners enjoy being compensated by power companies. Especially during the summer, when a lot of power is sent back to the grid through metering, homeowners often find they don’t owe the company anything on their next utility bill. In fact, because solar energy is so effective, the homeowners often get reimbursed. Being paid through metering is one big way solar panels pay off financially in the long run.
What if it’s dark outside or cloudy?
Sometimes, homeowners may go through a period of time where their solar panels are not producing enough electricity due to prolonged darkness (during rainy seasons, for example). In this case, staying connected to the grid can be a good thing because when necessary, you can continue to occasionally draw power from the utility company. When this happens, homeowners simply pay their electricity bill as normal, but often heavily discounted compared to what it was before switching to solar energy.
How is it different?
Grid-tied solar solar power systems are different from off-grid systems that use backup batteries. Off-grid systems use batteries as energy storage instead of using net metering to send the power back to the grid. Homeowners will not be reimbursed for the energy they store in their solar batteries, but they can use the batteries as backup generators.
Homeowners who have any other questions about the difference between grid-tied and off-grid solar energy systems can ask us at Fafco Solar. We offer free quotes for homeowners interested in making the switch. Part of that quote can involve a consultation about which type of solar energy system best suits your needs.
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