Solar energy is one of the most promising renewable energy sources. Though solar panels are often associated with going “green” and saving money on your energy bill, they have the potential to generate more power than you need.
So, what do you do with excess solar power?
Excess Solar Panel Energy Can Be Sent Back To The Utility Grid
The most common way to deal with excess solar power is to send it back to the utility grid. This process, called net metering, allows you to get credit from your utility company for the extra power your solar panels produce.
In most cases, you’ll have a digital meter that will track how much power you’re sending to the grid, and how much power you’re using from the grid. At the end of each month, your utility will either give you a bill for the net amount of power you’ve used. They’ll give you a credit that is useful for future bills.
If your solar panels produce more power than you need during the daytime, you can use that power to offset the power you use at night or during periods of bad weather when your panels aren’t producing as much power.
You can also use net metering to sell excess solar power back to the utility company, though this isn’t common.
Measuring Net Metering
Solar PV net metering is the process by which solar photovoltaic (PV) system owners can sell their PV-generated electricity back to their utility company.
In the United States, 43 states and Washington D.C. have a net metering policy in place. The other seven states have some form of compensation for solar PV systems, but it is not called “net metering.”
Under a typical net metering policy, when a PV system produces more electricity than the on-site customer needs. The extra electricity is sent back to the utility grid, and the customer is compensated at the full retail rate for that electricity.
The excess electricity sent to the grid creates a one-to-one offset against the electricity the customer pulls from the grid at night or during periods of bad weather when their PV system is not producing enough power.
In some states, net metering is only available for systems that are less than a certain size, typically 10 kilowatts (kW) or 1 megawatt (MW).
Store Excess Solar Power In Batteries
Another option for dealing with excess solar power is to store it in batteries. This allows you to use the power at night or during a power outage.
Batteries can be expensive, so this option is best if you want to be able to completely disconnect from the grid or if you live in an area with frequent power outages.
If you do decide to go with batteries, make sure to do your research and buy a quality battery. Cheap batteries won’t last as long and could end up costing you more in the long run.
Use Excess Solar Power To Run Appliances Or Charge An Electric Vehicle
If you have excess solar power and your utility company doesn’t offer net metering, you can still put that power to good use.
You can use it to run appliances or charge an electric vehicle. You can also use it to heat water or power a pool pump.
If you have a lot of excess solar power, you could even sell it back to the grid.
Where Does Electricity Go If Not Used?
If you have solar panels and you’re not using all the power they produce, that power goes back into the grid. It’s used by other people in your community who are connected to the same grid.
The grid is like a big battery that everyone draws from. When there’s more power being produced than there is being used, the extra power goes into the grid, and when there’s more demand for power. There is being generated, the power comes from the grid.
Solar panels are just one way to generate electricity. There are other ways, like wind turbines, hydroelectric dams, and nuclear power plants.
The grid is a complicated system, and it’s constantly changing. That’s why utilities have to be careful about how much power they’re putting into the grid and how much they’re taking out.
They use something called the “load factor” to make sure there’s enough power to meet demand. The load factor is the ratio of the average amount of power being used to the maximum amount of power that could be used.
Alternatives For Managing Excess Solar Production
There are a few different ways to manage excess solar production. You can use it to power appliances or charge an electric vehicle.
Limit The Photovoltaic Production
One way to manage excess solar production is to limit the amount of power that your photovoltaic (PV) system produces.
This is possible using a device called a PV output limiter. A PV output limiter is placed between the PV panels and the inverter. It limits the amount of power that can flow from the PV panels to the inverter.
The PV output limiter prevents the PV system from producing more power than you need. It also protects your inverter.
Output limiters are available in different sizes, and you should choose one that is sized for your PV system. Output limiters are rated in watts (W).
To find the right size output limiter for your PV system, you need to know the maximum power output of your PV panels and the inverter.
You can find this information in the PV panel and inverter manuals.
Shift Some Loads To The Period Of Photovoltaic Production
Another way to manage excess solar production is to shift some of your electricity use to the period of time when your PV system is producing power.
For example, you could run your washing machine and dryer during the daytime instead of at night. Or, you could charge your electric vehicle during the daytime instead of at night.
By shifting your electricity use to the period of time when your PV system is producing power, you can reduce your overall electricity consumption from the grid.
This will help you save money on your electric bill and reduce your environmental impact.
Install a Battery
If you have excess solar production, you can also install a battery. A battery can store excess solar power and make it available when you need it.
There are many different types of batteries, and you should choose one that is right for your PV system.