Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Will Connecting to the Grid Reduce Your Solar Power Cost

Solar power systems are gaining a lot of popularity in the past few years. Technological advancement that leads to reduced solar power cost is the main reason why these systems became so popular.

Installing a solar system at your premises entails a somewhat high upfront cost. It is this cost that scares a lot of people and make them change their minds.

This upfront cost can be covered relatively in a short period of time taking into consideration that the running costs of such systems is very low.

The purpose of solar systems is to transform the sun's rays into usable electricity. Thus no raw material is needed. If installed properly, the only running cost for these systems comes in the form of minor maintenance and parts replacement.

What contributes further to lowering the solar power cost is the idea of getting connected to the electric utility grid. When you connect to the traditional electric utility grid after constructing your solar power system you will have the chance to sell the utility the excess electricity that you have thus reducing your electricity bills.

How does this grid connection work and how can it reduce solar power cost? To connect to the grid you will have to add a smart device called a net meter to your system. When you are generating electricity more than you are consuming, as in a shiny summer afternoon, the net meter will transform the unused electricity back to the utility resulting in a credit balance for you. When you need electricity more than what you are producing, for example at night or during cloudy climate, then the net meter will provide you with the excess electricity that you need form the utility.

The electric utility will charge you the net amount that you have consumed, that is the amount that you have taken from the utility minus the amount that you have provided it.

In addition to the reduction in solar power cost, using a net meter will reduce the pressure on the network as a whole and span the consumption along the whole day.

Electric utilities usually apply what is known as time-of-use pricing. Through the time-of-use pricing the utility will charge more during the peak times, which are the daytime, and less during the low consumption time, or the night time. This fits neatly when using solar energy with grid connection because you will be using electricity from the utility at night thus consuming energy when the prices are low.

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