HOW IT WORKS: 
GRID CONNECTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM

Having a grid connected solar energy system means you are producing the power for your home, while always being able to rely on utility power if you need it.

1.  Sunshine travels from the sun to your roof.

2. Solar Panels on your home harness the energy from the sun.

3. The Inverter changes the energy from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current) power, which all homes use in the United States.

4. That energy is transferred to your home and recorded through your Production Meter.

5. Any energy your home does not use is transferred to the utility company through your net meter. The Net Meter spins forward or backwards depending if you are making power or using power from the utility. All while recording your credits for future use.

6. Extra energy, not used by your home travels to the utility company.

7.  Utility company distributes energy as needed.

8. When your panels are not creating power, your home can use electricity from the utility grid through a process called ‘net metering’.  Solar energy banked as credits is used first, then energy from the utility company is consumed.

Have more in-depth questions? Check out our commonly asked FAQs.

 

What is a kilowatt (kW)?

A kilowatt or kW is a common term used when talking about solar energy. A kW is a measure of 1,000 watts of electrical power. Your home’s appliances use a certain amount of watts to run. For instance, it may take 10 watts to charge your cell phone, but a washing machine may use up to 2,800 watts! The average home in Colorado would require a 5 kW solar energy system in order to power about 75% of their daily needs. 

You will notice that your electric company bills you for electricity in kilowatt hours or kWh. A kilowatt hour is the amount of electricity that you use over a period of time. So your home’s total electric usage times the amount of time that you use that electricity is equal to your monthly electric bill. 

 

How solar changes the game

A solar energy system produces energy, unlike your electrical appliances. So as your appliances demand energy to run, your solar energy system provides that energy. A solar panel is measured in watts and multiple solar panels on your roof are measured in kW. If you install 20 solar panels on your roof, and each panel is rated at 300 watts, then you have a 6 kW solar energy system.