A Primer on Solar Electric

Photovoltaic (PV) Energy Production: Solar cells capture sunlight and produce a direct electric current (DC). Linking enough solar cells (i.e., solar panels) together, allows us to harvest the DCs, then convert (i.e., ‘invert’) them to the types of currents used in most homes and business (alternating current, AC), and then ‘feed’ this energy into the breaker box or service panel so that it can provide power to the home or office.

What happens when I produce more energy than I use? Once the home's energy (lighting, appliances, etc.) requirements are met, any excess energy is sent back to the utility grid or power line. This excess energy is tracked, added to your account (here, the meter actually spins backward!), and the credit is credited to your account in a relationship called net metering.

What happens on rainy days and during the night? When the sun is not shining or a night, energy is drawn from the “grid” as normal.

What's the difference between 'Direct-Grid' and Battery-based PV systems? Relative to battery-based PV systems, Direct-grid connected systems have several advantages. First, direct-grid systems operate more efficiently and minimize energy loss. Second, direct-grid systems have a lower carbon footprint because batteries carry a large and long-lasting environmental footprint. This means that if you have the utility grid already available, the grid can serve as your 'battery-bank'. Third, direct-grid systems are more economical because they require fewer components and less maintenance over time, resulting in a lower per-watt installation cost. 

Most solar electric systems installed today are direct “grid-tied” systems with no battery backup. Essentially the utility’s power grid acts as the storage (in place of batteries) for any excess power produced by the solar system. This not only eliminates the cost of the batteries it also eliminates the required monthly maintenance and periodic replacement expenses. This has been a big step forward in generating interest among the general public in installing solar PV systems.

A noticeable disadvantage of direct grid-tied systems is that when there is a power outage and the utility power grid goes down, the PV system goes down as well. There is no backup power because there are no batteries. In most areas power outages are not a significant problem and so this is not a major issue and the reduced maintenance and cost of battery-less grid-tied systems more than makeup for any inconvenience. 

 

How do I know if 'Direct-grid' options are available in my neighborhood? Public electric utilities (Duke, Indianapolis Power and Light) and many electric cooperatives (REMC's) in Indiana now offer net metering and net billing programs to their customers. These programs allow owners of direct grid-connected solar electric systems to interconnect their solar electric systems to the utility grid. 

DEDICATED TECHNICIANS

We work on both general electric and solar electrical systems. This unique aspect of our company means that our dedicated technicians and electricians work as a team to ensure that your system works seamlessly and efficiently.

HIGH-QUALITY ANALYTICS

Our detailed our solar analysis will summarize your energy usage, potential options for a solar electric system, total costs along with an estimated pay-back time and carbon footprint reduction.

PAIRING WITH ELECTRIC-CARS

Solar electric systems readily pair with electric car-charging systems. We offer a range of options to fit the make and model of your vehicle and the logistics of your home or business.