How Solar Works

How Solar Works on Your Home

When people refer to solar electricity, most often they are referring to a “grid-tied” system, which means it is tied in where your home connects to your utility electrical grid. The wonder of these systems is that the electrical “grid” of your existing electric utility is used like a giant rechargeable battery. The utility will buy power from you at peak and part peak rates during the day when your system is generating, and you will buy power from the utility at low rates during the evening when your PV system is off line. This all happens automatically and silently, so you don’t even have to think about it.

The most common system is mounted directly onto your roof, but if you do not have enough roof space, there are a variety of other ways to install a system utilizing the land or other structures on your property.

Solar panels are made up of crystalline photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert (photons) sunlight into DC (direct current) power. However, your home runs on AC power, so the DC current from the solar panels is sent to an inverter, where it is converted into AC (alternating current) power. AC power travels from the inverter to the electrical panel, or breaker box, as it is commonly referred to. Your home is interconnected with the utility grid, and all electricity flows automatically. On sunny days, you will likely be sending power back to the utility grid. And at nighttime or in winter, you will be pulling from the grid.  Depending on the size of your system, you may even have credit at the end of the year!


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