Many people have the misconception that solar energy will not work in certain parts of the U.S. Solar energy technology has improved significantly over the past several decades; its a fairly simple technology with no moving parts. Solar is very safe (when installed properly by a licensed contractor), and reliable. SunVest Solar actively monitors hundreds of installations throughout the United States and has verified the reliability and production estimates of the systems we installed.
Below is a graphic depicting the basics of how solar works – a solar electric (photovoltaic) system:
* image courtesy of NYSERDA
- The Sun’s energy hits the solar panels creating DC energy.
- The DC energy flows through wires from panels to an Inverter where it is connverted to usable AC electricity.
- The AC electricity is first consumed on site.
- Excess energy not consumed onsite is sold back to the utility grid. This process is called “Net Metering” (more detailed description below).
- When the sun isn’t shining or your system isn’t producing enough electricity, your home or building electrical system automatically pulls electricity from the utility company. Your lights won’t dim if a cloud covers the sun and you’ll still have power after the sun goes down!
Click on photo to see larger image
What is Net Metering?
Net metering is a policy that allows grid tied customers to receive full retail value for any excess solar generated electricity. The term “net metering” refers to the method of accounting for a facility’s overall electrical production compared to its consumption.
As the facility (either business or home, school, church) produces electricity, kilowatt hours (kWhs) are first used onsite to offset the current loads (e.g., appliances, lights). If more kWhs are produced then what the facility consumes, extra kWhs are fed back to the utility grid, generating a credit for the facility. Net metering enables grid tied customers to receive value for their solar generated electricity without having to install batteries. Essentially, the power grid acts as the customer’s battery, making the system more effiecient, less costly and maintanance free.