Solar Electricity (Photovoltaic) Systems
Solar electricity, also known as solar photovoltaic (PV), allows you to capture energy from the sun and use it as electricity in your home or business. Solar electricity is what most people think about when they think of solar panels or solar energy. In contrast to solar thermal systems like solar pool heating and solar water heating, solar electricity can provide seamless electricity to all of your appliances and devices with power that is often cleaner and more stable than power provided by an electric utility.
Most systems installed today are what’s known as grid-interactive or grid-tied systems. That means the solar energy system works in parallel with utility electricity to provide power to a home or business in a seamless manner. With a grid-interactive system, you are not aware of the source of electricity (unless looking at a system monitor). There are no switches to worry about, and the system works without user interaction to reduce your electricity bill. When you are consuming more power than the solar energy system provides, the utility company will deliver the extra power needed. When you are producing more power than you need, the excess is delivered back to the utility grid, for which you get credit against your utility bill. This process is known as Net Metering.
We offer full solar electricity installation services and we now offer guided do-it-yourself (DIY) solar photovoltaic installation kits!
How a grid-interactive solar electric (photovoltaic) system works
Some solar electric systems also employ battery storage. These systems are relatively uncommon in Southwest Florida, and are recommended only where there is a real need to store energy for backup purposes. Battery storage is required for off-grid systems that are not connected to the utility grid. Since solar power output fluctuates (and doesn’t exist at night), batteries are required for true off-grid systems. Batteries are relatively expensive and require maintenance, so few people take the leap to being truly energy independent and realize that grid-interactive systems fulfill their financial and environmental energy goals.
It is possible to reach a “net-zero” home or business, which means that on an annual basis, you have no net energy consumption. You will still have a small monthly energy bill with a net-zero home or business because the utility company charges each account holder a base customer charge. This is reasonable given that you are, after all, still using the electricity grid and have the privilege of effectively selling electricity to your neighbors.
Solar electric systems provide a reasonable return on investment when compared to other investments of similar term and risk. You can calculate your estimated solar energy production and investment returns using our handy solar energy calculator. Solar electricity is a long term investment that will provide many years of reduced electric bills and is a great hedge against rising energy prices and inflation.
If you are interested in learning more about solar electricity, please contact Florida Solar Design Group today at (239) 491-8010.