DIY Green Energy For Homes
 

Selling Solar Power to Utility Companies

How good can it be that you could actually sell the excess solar power you generate to a utility company? It’s not a dream, it’s reality. Many homeowners, as well as businesses, are selling excess power to utilities.

In many states, homeowners who produce solar energy can enter into special agreements with their utility companies, which allow them to sell off excess power.

Installations that allow for solar power to be sold to a utility are known as grid-tie systems. It is one of the indirect incentives for homeowners considering alternative power sources, especially solar energy.

How it works

Basically, to sell solar power back to a utility, you need to install your solar electric system in a grid-tie or tie-grid arrangement. After direct current is converted to alternating current by inverters, it is run through an alternating panel that feeds into the utility grid. Your meter will automatically start to run backwards (net-metering) when there’s excess power in your solar array than your home can take at that particular time.

A grid-tie system notably comprises of a DC breaker box, and a grid disconnect, components not usually present in ordinary solar electric systems. Also, grid-tie systems do not include storage batteries because the grid acts as the ‘storage’ for excess power.

Net-metering

Most home solar projects designed as grid-tie systems are principally ‘net-zero’ systems. In a net-zero system, the solar provider’s meter accrues a credit with the utility when it reads backwards. More often, backward meter reading happens at peak times (day time) when there’s maximum production and minimal usage. The gained credit will then be used up at night  when there are heavier power loads.

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Many solar producing homes build a large credit on their meters during the long summer months, which they can use during winter when solar production is low. At the end of the year, the utility company will pay the homeowner if he has credit on his meter - meaning he generated surplus energy  and used less overall.

Benefits

The benefits of selling solar power to utilities are pretty obvious. Since you’re likely to have a credit at the end of the year, it means that you’ll reap your return on investment on your solar system faster than you would have if you were not selling any power. Besides, you will not have to worry about paying bills anymore.

In any case, most homeowners who install solar power systems are also very vigilant with their power usage, so they’re likely to consume much little than they produce. It is also a good way to take charge of your power needs while helping to protect the environment.

How do you start?

Well, the first thing you will need is to assess the potential of a solar electric system at your area. There’s a series of steps you must take to do this. When this is properly done, you should have estimates for the total solar energy you can produce with a particular system. Your budget will also play an important role in determining what system you can install.

Depending on your state laws, you’ll need to find out if net-metering is offered by your utility. You will then enter into agreement with the utility, which will clearly stipulate the terms of your power selling arrangement. You may have to get certain permits, posses a homeowner’s insurance policy and fulfil some connection specifications. You should also brace for a lengthy legal process involved in finalizing your solar power selling agreement.

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free energy options

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