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How solar power feeds back into the grid

3 min read

Every solar energy system produces electricity using a solar array, which is the collection of solar cells you often see on people’s roofs. Whatever sunlight shines on these panels is converted into DC power, fed into an inverter, then pumped through your home to be used by you. Most of the time, this process will produce enough energy to meet your needs. But most systems are also connected to the grid. This means that your system can draw power from the grid when it’s needed, as well as export power back into the grid when it produces more than you are using. Here’s how it works.

solar power feeds to grid illustration

When you have a “grid feed” or “grid-tie” system, your set up should include an extra inverter that allows electricity from your home to be exported to the grid, allowing any extra energy your system produces to be offloaded. Don’t worry, your solar energy system will always prioritize your power needs. It will only offload any power it produces beyond what you use. An added plus is that the clean energy you produce can now provide renewable power to other homes, furthering your positive impact on the environment. Plus, many utilities actually offer “net-metering,” which gives credit to homes that are feeding power to the grid. So whenever you produce more than you need, you can think of it as money back in your pocket.

Everybody wins!

The grid-tie can also have the reverse effect. Whenever your system isn’t producing energy, you can rely on your utility to make up for any power you need when the sun is down. This means that if something gets in the way of you producing power at any time — such as an eclipse — you’ll still have a backup option to keep your home powered on.

A More In-Depth Look at Grid-Connected Systems

Connecting a grid-tied system to the grid takes a little more than simply plugging it in. Your system will come with a few additional components that allow it to safely transmit energy according to your power provider’s guidelines.

Some of this equipment will include:

  • Power conditioning equipment
  • Safety equipment
  • Meters and instruments

Grid-connection requirements do vary and will require some customization to meet those standards. Luckily, if you work with Vivint Solar to install your solar energy system, you don’t have to worry about any of this, Our specialists will contact any of the necessary resources to make sure everything is in order and handle any details beyond that.

solar installation specialist

Once your system is connected to the grid, it does some pretty amazing stuff to make sure everything is working correctly. That extra inverter we mentioned earlier continually assesses the grid so that it can make sure your system matches any fluctuations to allow the seamless trade of energy.

If something happens to the grid, such as it shuts down or varies from the standard specifications, your solar energy system will also shut down unless you have a battery backup for your system that has been configured for these types of situations. The main reason your system will shut off in response to a grid shut down is to prevent your system from sending power into the grid while any electrical workers are operating on it. We do everything we can to make sure our solar energy systems are safe for everyone involved, so they can enjoy clean power without and added concerns. Once the grid power back on, your system should follow suit.

See how much solar could save you!

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