Electrical freedom: become energy independent by consuming your own solar power.
Solar energy is a proven renewable power source that can offset energy usage in large factories and home rooftops every day.
If you live in a country that benefits from clear skies and bright sunshine most of the year, you might be interested in how a home solar system can help you reduce monthly energy bills, or even generate passive income during an extended period of good weather.
Today, we will share with you key aspects of a residential solar system, so you can be better informed before deciding whether installing solar modules on your home may be the right investment for you.
What is a home solar system?
A home solar system is a photovoltaic system that generates cost-effective energy from sunlight and directly supplies electricity to satisfy household needs.
With the advancement in modern manufacturing technology, a high-quality solar module array is expected to generate electricity for more than 25 years.
Key components of a home solar system
A typical residential solar installation contains an array of solar modules that are installed on the roof of the house to generate DC electricity from sunlight.
By pointing the solar array towards the sun (south-facing roof in the northern hemisphere, north-facing roof in the southern hemisphere), you can expect the solar installation to generate electricity throughout a sunny day.
The DC electricity produced from the solar modules is then fed into an inverter to create AC electricity similar to the power sourced by the electric grid, and consumed by your home appliances.
For the solar panels to remain fixed on your roof, rain or shine, windy or sunny, you also need sturdy mounting structures that fit nicely with your house and support the required number of panels without damaging the rooftop.
Since a solar installation generates the most energy during the day, and most people consume more power in the evening, you may need solar batteries to store excess daytime output for use at night.
With a good solar battery system in place, you can even consider living completely from your solar electric production and no longer rely on the electric grid.
Do you want an on-grid or off-grid home solar installation?
Most of us live in suburban areas in houses, with small gardens and garages overlooking perfectly aligned streets.
We enjoy the benefits of stable electric grids that can satisfy all our power consumption needs all day and all night.
So it’s convenient to install an on-grid home solar system that ties your inverter output with the electric grid.
When high efficiency solar panels are generating more energy than you can consume during the day, you can sell electricity back to the grid to earn income, sometimes with a combination of the feed-in tariff and net metering system.
When the solar panels are not generating enough energy for your home, you can use the electricity from the grid to keep your lights on.
Some houses are built on idyllic landscapes, overlooking large farms and barns, in rural areas with unstable or non-existent electricity supply.
In these situations, you need an off-grid solar system with a battery system to use electricity generated from your system all the time, and not rely on external power lines.
What is the feed-in tariff?
Feed-in tariff, or FiT for short, is an agreement with the power company that guarantees a price that you can sell excess electricity to the power grid.
FiT is a local policy to promote the adoption of renewable energy in your area and is expected to decline over time as more people install solar systems in the country.
Therefore, it is financially beneficial to install solar in your home as soon as you can before the FiT rates decline further, to earn the most income from solar energy in your home.
What is net metering?
Net metering is a measuring system that uses new smart power meters to calculate the direction of electricity flow in and out of your house.
When your house is consuming energy from the power grid, the meter counts the energy usage normally.
When your on-grid solar system is generating more electricity than you can consume, the meter rolls backward to measure the electricity you sell back to the grid to calculate your income from FiT.
In a net metering system, you only sell electricity when you have excess.
If there is no net metering system in place, you can decide to sell all or only a portion of your energy production, depending on the electricity prices in relation to FiT.
Is self-consumption with battery storage worthwhile for you?
Self-consumption occurs when you have a battery storage system to store enough energy for your home during the evenings and on cloudy days.
While you expect most off-grid systems to run in self-consumption, on-grid systems can also work in self-consumption if you feel the FiT prices are too low for you to sell excess energy back to the grid.