As long as the sun shines on your solar panel system, it will generate electricity, it can be less or more at times, but it’s guaranteed to generate power. Solar panels are versatile pieces of tech that don’t require external assistance to work. That is the reason why there can be times when your panels could generate more electricity than you need to run your everyday chores.
So, what happens to unused solar power? Does it go to waste? Not quite. This power surplus can be directed to many outlets to be stored or exported in a public shared utility grid. Let us explore more on the topic.
Grid Connected Solar System
If you have a solar system that is connected to the grid, you can expect the excessive energy to be transported back to the grid. Solar panels are made in a way that it’s not possible to physically turn them off. So, when the sunlight hits the solar panels, the silicon cells initiate the photovoltaic conversion from sunlight to DC (Direct Current), which eventually gets converted into AC (Alternating Current).
If your solar system yields more energy than your house needs in the case of a grid-connected system, then your solar inverters will dictate the situation smoothly. Your solar inverters determine whether the extra energy should be transported back to the grid or to the battery bank, if any.
What’s in it for you if the energy gets back to the utility grid? Seemingly it’s electricity generated by your paid system. There is an arrangement in place for situations like these, called Feed-in-tariff (FiT) which compensates solar owners for their contribution to the stream with energy credits.
It is a reimbursement for any extra power that is sent back to the grid. It’s often referred to as a buy-back rate and is typically paid as a credit on your bills at a defined amount per kilowatt hour. The terms and circumstances for your solar rates and your energy rates are different, and it depends on many external factors. Learn more about Fit here.
Off Grid Solar System
It’s quite a straightforward deal when your solar panels are installed off the grid. The surplus of energy, in this case, is stored in a battery bank which is typical for an off the grid solar system. One of the main components of an off the grid system is a battery bank because it’s essential to have excess energy to use at night.
But what happens when the batteries are full?
Previously when lead acid batteries were more common for solar energy storage, it was deemed dangerous to overcharge them. As these sorts of batteries release hydrogen gas, overcharging them poses a higher threat of explosion. However, overcharging modern lithium batteries does not harm them to a great extent. Due to the fact that they don’t normally release hydrogen gas, modern lithium batteries provide a far smaller risk. To guarantee the security of the system, they also contain an integrated computerized battery management system.
Learn more about off grid solar systems here.
Solar Safety – Know When to Stop Exporting
As discussed above, in an instance where the solar system is tied to the grid, the solar inverter can smoothly determine to export the surplus to the grid. This way, you can benefit from FiT and also help reduce the carbon footprint of the mass. This entire process is automated because of the ease of operation and cut back on redundancy.
However, there are times when people work on grid maintenance; also, solar panels continue to produce potentially fatal DC voltage in the case of a short circuit, fire, or water. These are potentially dangerous situations of which we need to be aware of.
Lastly, a well-designed solar system will produce energy in accordance with your needs. However, it’s always preferable to have more than to lack energy when needed. Either you export the surplus back to the utility grid or store it in a solar battery; it’s a win-win case in both circumstances. But refrain from overcharging the batteries to extend their lifetime.
Claim a free consultation session today with one of our solar experts to discuss your solar needs.