Solar Electric or Photo Voltaic technology converts sunlight directly into electricity. It works any time the sun is shining. Investing in solar electric allows you to produce your own electricity with no noise, and no air pollution. Solar electric technology is commonly referred to as the ultimate clean energy source for the 21st century.
This video will first explain the very basics of three commonly applied solar electric systems. They are utility grid-intertied, utility grid-intertied with battery backup, and off-grid.
A Grid Inter-tie System
A grid intertie system allows you to make your own solar electricity, and feed your excess back to the utility grid, basically using the grid as your storage bank. In Montana, Northwest Energy credits a homeowner’s account for excess solar electricity produced. Your meter measures the electricity you use from the utility system less the electricity your system puts back. This is called net metering.
A Grid Inter-tie System with Battery Backup
This same grid intertied system without batteries or generator backup will be in the dark when a utility power outage take place. To keep your refrigerator, a well pump, or computer running even when utility power outages occur, installing a grid-intertied system with battery backup is an option. Incorporating batteries into the system is more expensive, but for many households that regularly experience utility outages or have critical electrical loads, having a backup energy source can be important.
An Off-Grid System
Off-grid solar-electric systems are common in remote locations, but can work anywhere. Off grid systems store on-site produced power in batteries. These systems provide all of a household’s electricity and operate independently from the standard utility grid.
An off grid lifestyle is a choice or a necessity for a number of reasons. High cost of bringing utility lines to remote home sites, the desire to live independently, or the general reliability that these solar-electric system provide.
Living within the limitations of an off grid system’s design means learning to make adjustments on when and how to conscientiously use electricity.