How It Works

The Basics

Solar modules create electricity when the sun’s energy releases electrons from their bonds in the silicon semiconductors.

These electrons travel through wires to an inverter that converts the power to the type used in your building or is fed back to utility grid. A grid-tied solar electric system requires solar modules, mounting hardware, cabling, one large, or multiple smaller inverters, safety disconnects and a meter for tracking energy sent back into the grid.

PV Array

The solar modules produce DC electricity. These modules can be installed on the roof of a building, create the shading cover for carports, or be mounted on the ground or poles. The maximum size of the system is often determined by the available area where sunlight is unobstructed by other structures, trees or equipment.

Inverter

The DC power from the solar modules is carried to an inverter that converts it to AC power. The inverter can be placed in a utility room or outside, usually not far from the solar modules. The power produced by the inverter is the same type of power as fed from your power utility, but is often “cleaner”.

Revenue Grade Meter

Most power companies that purchase or credit your excess energy will require a bi-directional meter to track your contribution to the grid. This excess power cancels out your usage when the modules are not producing electricity, such as at night.

Utility Grid

In a traditional grid-tie application, your building will always remain connected to your existing utility company.