Most residential solar PV systems are not meant to take a home “off-grid” so they can stop their electric service. Instead, a majority of solar PV systems are “grid-tied” and interact with the utility grid already present. This works to the benefit of the home owner through the use of “net metering.” Net metering allows you to connect your solar panels directly to your homes electrical system and offset the amount of power you buy from the utility company. Any power coming from the sun you will use first, and then buy only the excess from the utility. The great part about this is that if you’re gone during the day and your panels generate more energy than your home is using, that extra power will be sent back to the grid spinning your meter backwards! When you come home at night and use utility power again, you are getting that power back from the utility company you sent to them earlier in the day. The utility acts like a giant battery for you with no power loss.
Using batteries on the other hand can decrease system output by 20% or more, because the chemical process of storing electricity in batteries is inefficient. Batteries can also almost double the cost of a PV system, making a return on investment much more difficult than compared to a net-meter system.
In locations where there is no utility grid, off-grid systems can be wonderful by eliminating the need for large generators that constantly need to be supplied with fuel. Instead, using a solar PV system with batteries can be your generator, with the sun providing all the fuel!
A typical residential solar system is usually sized between 1kW to 10kW and costs $5,000 to $30,000. All major utility companies in NC allow these systems to be connected to the grid. However some smaller co-ops do not. Contact Green State Power today to receive your free solar evaluation and find out if solar will work for you!
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