The first word you often associate with solar panels is expensive. We usually dismiss off solar panels because of its cost without considering its long-term benefits like zero electricity bill.
Zero electricity bill using solar panels is not a familiar concept to most of us.
At a stage where electricity is becoming scarce, solar panels ensure improved supply of power. It also effectively reduces your carbon footprint.
Solar power involves a conversion of solar energy into electricity. Solar panels are employed to carry out this conversion. A solar panel has a number of solar cells spread over a massive area. These cells work together and deliver the required power. A greater amount of light corresponds to a greater amount of electricity.
There are solar panels of two types: off-grid and on-grid. Systems using off-grid panels are independent and have no connection with electricity supply system. Batteries store electricity in these systems. Whereas, on-grid solar systems have a direct connection with a local utility grid of electricity supply system. These systems do not use batteries and hence, it is less expensive and more efficient than off-grid systems.
How does an on-grid solar system work?
An on-grid solar system contains solar panels, one or more inverters, a grid connection equipment and a power conditioning unit. Both small residential and large utility commercial setups can employ these systems. They deliver huge profit over long-term as they are hassle free and have a long life.
In an on-grid system, the solar cells in the solar panel convert solar energy into electricity whenever sunlight is available. The inverters convert the DC current produced by the panel to 240V AC current which powers the household during the day. The additional power (surplus after consumption) produced is fed into the local power grid. When the solar panel does not produce power, the local power grid of the electricity supply system powers the household.
How does use of on-grid solar system result in zero electricity bill?
The electricity distribution company employs a feed-in tariff, in case of an on-grid solar system. A feed-in tariff pays the owner for the electricity his/her system generates. Feed-in tariffs are of two types:
Gross feed-in tariff
It uses gross metering which employs two meters. One meter measures electricity consumption. Meanwhile, the other meter measures electricity production. Thus the owner gets one bill for consumption and another bill for production. Based on the normal rate fixed by the electricity distribution company, the owner pays the bill for consumption. Based on rates fixed by the state’s electricity regulatory commission, the owner is paid the cost of electricity produced by his system. Thus, the owner pays a zero electricity bill when the bill for production is more than or equal to the bill for consumption.
Net feed-in tariff
It uses net metering which employs a single bi-directional meter. The meter reading moves forward when the household consumes electricity from the grid. On the other hand, the meter reading moves backwards when the system produces electricity and delivers to the grid. The bill at the end of the month depends on the net units consumed or produced. Thus, the owner pays a zero electricity bill when the net unit production is equal to or more than the net unit consumption. In case net unit production is greater, the surplus units are carried over to the next month. Based on rates fixed by the state’s electricity regulatory commission, the owner is paid the cost of surplus units generated annually.
Adopting an on-grid solar system is profitable considering its long life and low maintenance requirement. It not only assists in establishing a zero electricity bill but also increases your green footprint. In an age where global warming is making our lives uncomfortable, switching to on-grid solar system is a wise as well as responsible decision. So, switch to renewable energy and save our planet.
Go solar, go green!
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