Solar energy is generated through a process of capturing the natural energy of sunlight and converting it into electricity. Using semiconductor-based technology, Photovoltaic cells (PV) directly convert light energy into electrical current. This clean energy reduces the amount of electricity you need to purchase from your utility company and can replace from 15 to 100 percent of your electrical needs. When SoL Energy designs your solar system you are able to choose Grid-Tied or Off Grid depending on your specific needs and location.
A Typical Photovoltaic (PV) System
A utility-grid interconnected photovoltaic system typically has no battery backup. It is less expensive and operates at a higher efficiency than battery-based off-grid systems.
When the PV system is producing more power than is being consumed, excess power is fed into the utility grid and the meter spins backwards while the customer is building credit with the electric utility.
When energy consumption is greater than PV electricity produced, the meter turns in the conventional direction. The owner pays the net value of the meter at the end of the billing period. Any surplus in one billing period may be credited to the following billing period. This is referred to as “net metering”.
A typical PV system includes the following principal components:
A photovoltaic array of modules; largely unshaded from 9 to 3 daily.
An inverter which converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced
by the PV modules into alternating current (AC) and synchronizes it to
the utility grid power. The inverter may be located indoors or outdoors.
The output of the inverter feeds into the existing house electrical
A utility grid interconnected system is designed to shut down in the event
of a utility power outage. This is for the safety of utility personnel working
on power lines. This means that in the event of a utility power outage,
power will not be available from the PV system.
If back-up power is desired it is possible to install a battery back-up system
with inverter as an additional feature. This can be designed to provide for a
limited amount of power for selected critical circuits such as lighting, circulators
for heating system, and communications.
The general schematic drawing above shows how the components of a utility interconnected PV system relate to each other.