How Do Solar Panel Systems & the Grid Work Together?

Solar Panel Systems

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One of the more confusing concepts for those considering investing in solar panel systems is how those systems will eventually work with the grid. In just about any location where solar panels are installed on or around residential homes, the local electrical utility provider will have final jurisdiction over the system, and will require it to be integrated with the grid, or “grid-tied”.

Grid-tied solar systems will have the ability to offset their monthly energy bill by producing more energy with their solar array than the home uses, and while this sounds great, there are two types of grid-tied systems that generate different benefits for the homeowner.

Utilities Provide Interconnection For Solar Panel Systems

Once your solar panel system has been installed, whether you paid for the system fully in cash and now own it outright, or if you chose to finance your solar system over several years, it must be inspected by the authority having jurisdiction, or AHJ. This will generally be your local utility company, though in some situations it may require county officials.

From the time the installation is completed, they will have 30 days to inspect the installation and to install a meter compatible with the power generation equipment that will allow it to interface with the utility companies’ equipment, as well as allow for bi-directional power movement.

Solar Panel Systems That Use Net Metering & Billing

Net metering and net billing is the most popular and effective way for power utilities to allow their customer to offset their monthly energy cost. How net metering works is that no matter what time of day or season it is if your home is producing more energy than it is consuming, it essentially moves your power meter in the opposite direction.

This offset is tracked throughout the month, and at the end of the billing cycle, the difference between the power used and the power generated is the amount the customer is billed for. This net billing method basically prices all energy the same, whether you produce it or get it from the utility, and the more you produce the less you end up paying for every month.

Parallel Generation Is An Alternative Method Used In Some Locations

Parallel generation is generally less popular than net metering, though there are some utility providers who do not offer net metering and only allow parallel generation. This type of power generation tracks the amount of energy that is put into the grid by the homeowner’s solar equipment, and the power produced is paid out at a wholesale rate by the utility company.

This leads homeowners whose utilities only offer parallel generation to earn lower returns on their investment, though over time the benefits are still significant. The primary difference between parallel generation and net metering lies mainly in the prices and credit that the homeowners are given for the power they contribute back to the grid. Parallel generation credits only the wholesale energy price to the consumer, which is often lower than the credit or energy price given to customers on net metering.

Trust Barrett Solar To Get You Closer To Energy Independence

The biggest step toward becoming less dependent on the local power utility companies is to call a local solar expert for a free quote on a solar system for your home. Investing in solar panel systems can not only decrease your monthly energy bill to nearly zero, but it also can help you insulate yourself from the constantly increasing energy costs of power companies that hold so many people at the mercy of their pricing plans.

Solar panel systems are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. In most cases, you don’t even need to clean your solar panels. You can let the rain or snow take care of that for you. If something does happen, you will have manufacturer warranties on all equipment installed by Barrett Solar.

Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. In Kansas the largest incentive available is the 26% federal investment tax credit (ITC) which allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. Certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates and other incentives. If you are a business in a rural area or a farmer, the USDA offers grants as well.

Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. In Missouri the largest incentive available is the 26% federal investment tax credit (ITC) which allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. Certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates and other incentives. Evergy in Missouri, Columbia power and Ameren have notable rebates available. If you are a business owner in a rural area or a farmer, the USDA offers grants as well.

Barrett Solar offers two options to finance your solar panel system. You can purchase your system in cash or take advantage of our zero down, low APR financing options. We have a lot of different options to choose from. 

Generally it takes very large hail or a major storm to damage your solar panel system. After you go solar you will want to make sure your homeowners insurance policy has enough coverage to replace any of your panels that may be damaged in a heavy storm.

The cost of a solar panel system will depend on many factors, including the size of the system, the equipment, and the financing method. A solar panel system should be viewed as a major home upgrade, and because every home is different it is never good to base an idea of what something should cost off a ballpark figure found on the internet. Barrett Solar offers completely free no obligation solar proposals, and in most cases we can give you an accurate quote with just your historical energy usage data.

Tyler Blanchard

Founder & CEO

Tyler is the CEO of Barrett Solar.

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