Wondering how your solar system operates? Here's a look at it.
Receive, Flow and Repeat
Energy from the sun is captured by your solar panels
Electron from the sun interact with the electrons in the Solar Panels, creating DC Power.
DC Power flows through your inverters and becomes AC Power.
The inverters pass the energy through several transistors, changing the energy to AC Power which can be used to power your home.
Your property usese the generated AC Power
Your property can use all the energy your panels generate to power lights, appliances and anything else electrically dependant, or you can send unused power back into the common grid.
Energy passes back and forth through your energy meter
Unused Solar generated energy flows out into the grid, crediting your utility account for use at times of increased energy need, such as at night, when you pull electricity from the grid.
DOWN TO BASICS: HOW WILL A SOLAR POWER SYSTEM POWER MY PROPERTY?
The energy is all in the electrons
If you remember back to middle school science, all things are made of atoms, and atoms have electrons. Very basically, the sun’s rays travel to earth carrying charged electrons with it. These electrons then interact with the electrons contained within the solar panels, known as Photovoltaic Panels. During the interaction and transfer of electrons, energy is created.
All the energy flows to you for immediate use
Once this energy has been generated, it is in the form of Direct Current (DC) power. DC Power only flows in one direction, and it flows directly into your inverters. The inverters then pass the electrical current through several transistors which cause the electrons to change their pattern to Alternating Current (AC Power). Now, instead of only flowing in one direction, the electrons flow in wave-like patterns ready to power your home or business. This process is critical as buildings require AC Power to run electronics and other electricity dependent features.
Anything you don’t use is given out to others
As your Solar Panels are generating energy during the day, your property feeds off the results, powering air conditioners, lights, appliances, electronics and more. Your building will still be hooked up to the common electrical grid so if you need more energy than your panels can produce, you can still pull power from your utility provider. However, what if you’re generating more power than you actually need? If you’re not home all day and you don’t use any of that power you’re generating – does it all just go to waste? No; thanks to an agreement called net metering, every watt your panels generate is put to good use.
Your utility bill is determined by the Energy Meter installed on your home or business. This shows the amount of electricity you use and you are billed monthly. When you are utilizing a Solar Power System, this meter can also work to your advantage. Any energy your panels produce that you don’t use is passed through your Energy Meter and back out into the common grid where it is used to power other homes and businesses. Your utility company takes a tally of all the energy you provide back to the grid and will credit your account for that amount of electricity.
When considering a solar system, people tend to overlook the key element that enables solar power to make financial sense in California. We are talking about NET Metering (or Net Energy Metering).
When your solar power systems produces more energy than your home consumes, your energy meter spins backward and delivers this extra energy onto the common grid for use by other homes and businesses. Thanks to Net Metering, your home no longer just USES electricity, it can PRODUCE it as well! Contrary to popular belief, the utility does NOT write you a check for the excess energy produced by your home. Instead, with Net Metering, you will receive a credit on your utility bill, to be applied against future usage.
Bottom Line: even if you aren’t using your produced Solar Energy, you will still reap the financial benefits when you are credited for the electrical power you use at night or during high-demand days – equal to the amount of Solar generated energy you have fed back into the grid