On Grid Solar Power Plant

On-grid or grid-tie solar systems are by far the most common and widely used by homes and businesses. These systems are connected to the public electricity grid and do not require battery storage. Any solar power that you generate from an on-grid system (which is not used directly in your home) is exported onto the electricity grid and you usually get a feed-in-tariff (FiT) for the energy that you export.

Unlike hybrid systems, grid-tie solar systems are not able to function or generate electricity during a blackout or power outage due to safety reasons; since blackouts usually occur when the electricity grid is damaged. If the solar inverter was still feeding electricity into a damaged grid it would risk the safety of the people repairing the fault/s in the network. However most hybrid solar systems with battery storage are able to automatically isolate from the grid (known as islanding) and continue to operate during a blackout.

Batteries are able to be added to an on-grid solar system at a later stage if required. The popular AC battery which can be added to an existing solar system.

On-Grid

In an on-grid system, this is what happens after electricity reaches the switchboard:

  • The meter. Excess solar energy runs through the meter, which calculates how much power you are either exporting or importing (purchasing).
  •  Net Metering systems work differently in many states and countries around the world. In this description I am assuming that the meter is only measuring the electricity being exported to the grid, as is the case in most of Australia. In some states, meters measure all solar electricity produced by your system, and therefore your electricity will run through your meter before reaching the switchboard and not after it.

In a recent development, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) undertook a national consultation on net metering for grid-tied PV projects, where officials from central ministries, secretaries of state regulatory commissions and officials from state power departments and distribution companies came together to prepare an action plan with practical solutions for the introduction of net metering.

  • Net metering customers are charged only for the net power that they consume from the electricity service provider that has accumulated over a specific period.

HOW DOES NET METERING IMPACT CUSTOMER BILLS?

Customers who purchase rooftop solar panels and other DG systems first have to pay for the cost of those systems., which results in a monthly bill that is in addition to the bill that the local electric utility sends.

Customer electric bills are based on the electric utility’s cost of providing electric service. This includes the cost of the fuels used to generate electricity and the cost to transport and deliver the electricity to the customer. Costs also include the maintenance of the grid, as well as utility programs for low-income assistance, energy efficiency, environmental improvements, and other public benefits

In general, every electric customer has an electric meter that records the amount of power delivered by their electric utility. As electricity is used, the meter spins forward, much like a

Car’s odometer records miles traveled. In the case of an electric meter, the meter records energy use in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

  • Net-metered customers generally are credited for the electricity they sell to the grid, with their electric meter essentially spinning backwards to provide a credit against the electricity that these customers must buy from their electric utility at night or during other periods when their electricity use exceeds their system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use.

 

  •  The electricity grid. Electricity that is sent to the grid from your solar system can then be used by other consumers on the grid (your neighbours). When your solar system is not operating, or you are using more electricity than your system is producing, you will start importing or consuming electricity from the grid.

Advantages of Grid-Tied Systems

1. Save more money with net metering

A grid-connection will allow you to save more money with solar panels through better efficiency rates, net metering, plus lower equipment and installation costs:

Batteries, and other stand-alone equipment, are required for a fully functional off-grid solar system and add to costs as well as maintenance. Grid-tied solar systems are therefore generally cheaper and simpler to install.

Your solar panels will often generate more electricity than what you are capable of consuming. With net metering, homeowners can put this excess electricity onto the utility grid instead of storing it themselves with batteries.

Net metering (or feed-in tariff schemes) play an important role in how solar power is incentivized. Without it, residential solar systems would be much less feasible from a financial point of view.

Many utility companies are committed to buying electricity from homeowners at the same rate as they sell it themselves.

2. The utility grid is a virtual battery

Electricity has to be spent in real time. However, it can be temporarily stored as other forms of energy (e.g. chemical energy in batteries). Energy storage typically comes with significant losses.

The electric power grid is in many ways also a battery, without the need for maintenance or replacements, and with much better efficiency rates. In other words, more electricity (and more money) goes to waste with conventional battery systems.

Additional perks of being grid-tied include access to backup power from the utility grid (in case your solar system stop generating electricity for one reason or another). At the same time you help to mitigate the utility company`s peak load. As a result, the efficiency of our electrical system as a whole goes up.

Off-Grid Solar Systems

Off-Grid Solar Systems

On-Grid Solar Systems

On-Grid Solar Systems