Connecting to Your Utility Power Grid - Solar Net Metering

Connecting your home solar energy array to your local power grid enables you to engage in one of the most advantageous parts of generating your own electricity: net metering. During times when your system is creating more power than your home can consumer, a grid-connected solar array lets you sell this excess electricity to other consumers via your own power company.

Net Metering Grid Connected Solar Array

The diagram at left demonstrates the various uses for home-generated solar power. As the PV cells in your panel or array send a flow of electrons into your charge controller, it determines whether this power is needed for home use or whether it will charge a deep-cycle solar battery to be drawn upon later on. The DC current leaving the controller can be used as is to run certain electronic devices that don't require an alternating current. All other current must pass through a DC to AC inverter, transforming it into electricity usable by general household appliances. At this point all surplus electricity not being drawn by your home can be sent to your utility company's power grid. Your grid-connected system will halt the little disc in your electric meter and actually cause it to spin backwards, making you money!

Technically speaking, your utility company will not actually owe you money - rather the inverse spinning of your meter means it will have traveled less distance during your billing cycle. This will cause you to consume less electricity each month, with many homeowners reporting an electricity savings of 50% or more on their bills. Over time, generating your own solar electric power will pay for the cost of the equipment and even earn you money during the life of your home.

Not all home solar PV systems are connected to a local power grid. PV panels can be used to provide energy and store solar battery charge for home use alone, with no current being sent anywhere else. The only requirement here of course is a charge controller and a solar inverter to transform the direct current into alternating current. These types of setups are called stand-alone systems, and have nothing to do with net-metering or the utility company.

Alternative Home Energy

PV solar systems designed for grid-connection are usually designed to meet about half of a home's electrical needs. Purchasing a home solar photovoltaic panel array large enough to fulfill the entire electric needs of a residence would be extremely rare: such systems have very high costs and the array would take up significant roof space. The solar power generated by these systems is therefore only partial, with the remaining energy made up by the power company. But the important thing to note here is that on clear days, when a PV array is producing large current and the home is consuming low energy levels, the excess electricity generated does not go to waste in the case of grid-connected solar systems. Neighboring homes unknowingly end up using the clean, renewable energy themselves. Earth4Energy offers step-by-step videos of these processes and more, giving you fantastic home energy solutions that will save you money while providing your home with clean, renewable solar power. Also included are instructions dealing with other alternative energy methods, such as how to build your own windmill and more.

As home PV power becomes more popular and affordable, solar energy companies have emerged that offer full panel kits for residential use. Some of the best name brand solar equipment comes from companies like AEE Solar, Duralite, Evergreen, GE Solar, Global Solar, Kaneka, Kyocera, Solarworld, Suntech, Sunwize, and Unisolar. Each of these corporations produces clean, green, efficient solar equipment for a renewable solution to free energy.

Established companies like British Petroleum even have their own solar divisions (BP Solar), as well as electronics giants Mitsubishi, Sanyo, and Sharp. As the quest for alternative energy sources heats up, and as the cost of gas, oil, and other fossil fuels continues to rise, these types of corporations will continue to lead the way in solar energy technology.

In the end, any larger home solar would be foolish not to take full advantage of a grid-tie design. Profiting from your utility company and reducing your electric bills by selling back your excess solar energy is likely to be the most beneficial part of any PV system. Doing it while helping the environment and keeping your home more self-sufficient on its own energy system are just additional perks in sustainable design.

Create Your Own Free Home Energy