How Solar Technology Can Help to Improve the Stability and Reliability of Your Electricity Grid
LA’s high electricity costs and abundant sunshine make solar power a smart choice for most homeowners. And a good incentive for battery storage makes it even more affordable.
According to a new report, Los Angeles could become the largest city in the country to build what’s called a “virtual power plant” that would rely on residential solar panels backed up by batteries.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels produce electricity from sunlight by using a process that occurs naturally in certain materials. These materials, which are known as semiconductors, absorb solar energy and transfer it to electrons, which can then travel through an electrical circuit.
PV systems can power everything from calculators to homes and businesses, and even supply electricity for entire communities. They also are used to create large solar arrays that are connected to an electric power grid.
In addition to PV panels, PV systems include many components such as inverters, combiner boxes, wiring and mounting/racking. These components all work together to take the direct current (DC) electricity produced by PV modules and convert it into the alternating current (AC) needed to power your household appliances.
In addition to reducing electricity costs, solar technology can help to make our electricity grid more resilient and reliable. Adding more solar to the grid can solve issues related to transmission and feeder capacity, and also reduce energy variability.
Using battery storage with your solar panel system can be the key to energy self-sufficiency. It allows you to store surplus electricity from your solar panels and use it at night or when the power is cheapest, so you don’t have to rely on the grid to supply power most days.
Unlike traditional batteries, which have only a storage capacity (kilowatt-hours), energy storage systems also include load capacities that allow them to provide peak power during times of sudden need. They can also be used for back-up power during an outage or blackout.
Los Angeles has set ambitious goals for renewable energy usage, and installing residential solar with a storage system is one of the most efficient ways to achieve them. In fact, the city plans to install 75,000 rooftop solar power plants plus co-located energy storage.
Grid-tied solar systems are the most common and simple type of residential solar power setups. These complete systems are directly connected to the local electricity grid and do not require battery storage, which streamlines installation and reduces system cost.
The level of energy a home exports and imports to the utility grid depends on sunlight availability and weather conditions. During summer days, when the sun is strong and electricity demands are low, on-grid systems generally export more energy than they import.
In winter, however, sunlight is weaker and electric heating demands are higher. This is why grid-tied solar systems need to import more power than they export during winter months.
Net metering allows homeowners to earn bill credits for excess solar energy they send back to the utility grid during daylight hours. This helps to dramatically lower their utility bills.
Off-grid solar power is a type of residential solar power technology that allows you to use energy from the sun without relying on electricity from the utility grid. Off-grid systems typically include solar panels, batteries for storage, and an inverter to convert the energy from the battery into electrical power.
It’s important to understand how the solar panels, batteries and other components of your system interact with each other. For example, the amount of electricity a system produces depends on how efficient it is.
This is why it’s important to choose high-efficiency solar panels and a robust battery bank for your off-grid system. Additionally, a charge controller can help smooth out the flow of energy produced by the solar panels so that the batteries don’t become overwhelmed.
Going off-grid with a solar system is a major investment, so make sure to do your research before purchasing and installing a system. It’s also important to find an installer with experience in off-grid systems. Choosing the right one can save you money in the long run and ensure your system lasts as long as possible. Don’t hesitate to contact one of the Los Angeles residential solar power specialists if you want to know which of these three popular solar energy systems for homes is best for your home.