You may have heard the term “off the grid,” as in, “If I get a solar panel system, I’ll produce my own electricity and live off the grid.” While that’s certainly possible, the fact is that most people with solar panel systems still rely on their local power company for electricity. In other words, they remain tied to the grid. If that’s the case, you may ask, what is the point of a solar energy system? To answer this question, let’s consider how solar panels generate electricity.
When sunlight hits solar panels, they convert solar energy to DC current, which then flows to an inverter. The inverter then converts the DC current into AC electricity, the kind of energy supplied by local power grids. Of course, solar panels need sunlight in order to produce electricity, so at night or on cloudy days, there needs to be a way for a home with a solar energy system to remain supplied with power.
As a solar incentive, an agreement called net metering allows homeowners to send any excess electricity generated by their panels to the power grid. In exchange, homeowners can pull electricity from it when necessary. That is why about 99 percent of all solar power systems in the United States are tied to the grid. With a grid-tied system, a homeowner can cancel out the costs of using electricity from the power company.
An off-grid system, on the other hand, maintains a home’s power supply by storing excess electricity in batteries. Off-grid systems are self-reliant and spare owners from power outages as well as electricity bills. However, these systems are not as cost-effective as grid-tied systems due to the cost of the batteries. Grid-tied systems also have no access to the cost-saving benefits of net metering.
PE Solar can help you choose the solar panel system that suits your needs and budget. With more than 15 years of combined industry experience, we have a broad base of knowledge and are skilled in all aspects of solar installation. We have successfully completed thousands of projects across the country. If you are considering making the switch to solar, contact us. We are more than happy to provide you with the information you need to make informed and confident decisions.