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Grid-Tied Residential Solar Power

Credits: ©2009 Solar Designs

Photovoltaic(PV) Systems convert the sun's light into electricity. When the sun is shining, they are working. The more direct and intense sunlight you have, the more energy you will be producing. PV systems allow you to produce electricity in an environmentally friendly way. There is no need to burn natural gas or coal to produce electricity when the sun is available to everyone for free.


Grid-Tied Illustration

Residential grid-connected photovoltaic system ©2009 SolarDesigns.com

The main components of a PV System are the solar cells. When these cells are connected together, they are known as a "Solar Panel". When you take several different panels and connect them to the utility grid, you have a "Grid Tied PV System". Another major part of the PV System is the inverter. The inverter converts the sunlight energy into energy that is used in your home. This type of electricity is called AC electricity. It is the exact same electricity that you use in your home appliances, lights, computer etc... It is the same electricity that you currently purchase from the utility company too. A PV System makes use of the electric grid by connecting to it. Currently your electricity comes from the power company through your electric meter to your home. With a PV system, you would now have two sources of electricity. In most states(more than 35), you are able to send back any unused power from your PV System through your electric meter to the utility grid. This excess power you produce will give you a credit from the utility company. This process is called "Net-Metering". You would then use up during the non-sunlight hours any credit you built up when you were over-producing electricity.

Solar System Sizes                 1.8kW     2.5kW      3.2kW     4.32kW     7.56kW
Panel Wattage                        180         180         180          180          180
Panel Quantity                        10           14           18           24            42
Monthly Output Range (kWh)* 180-320   250-440   330-570   440-770   770-1350
Solar Panel Area (sq. ft.)         150         210          270         360          630

All systems include the miscellaneous items necessary to complete a successful roof mounted grid tied solar installation. Included are Suntech STP 180S-24/AB-1 modules, inverter, DC disconnect switch, Unirac rail for mounting, Unirac Flashing, 500 ft. USE-2 AWG 12, 500 ft. Copper AWG 10, Grounding Clips