Solar panels are the most noticeable component of a solar energy system. The solar panels are installed outside the home, typically on the roof and convert sunlight into electricity - in the form of direct current, DC, power. Also known as Photovoltaic, PV, Panels.
DC energy flows to the inverter, which transforms it into alternating current, AC, power and synchronizes it with the grid power. AC power is used by the majority of all home appliances. The solar panels can be disconnected for maintenance via the array DC disconnect, located on the inverter.
The power meter measures the amount of power used and exported by the consumer after the energy is transformed.
This is another switch used to disconnect the solar energy system from the home for maintenance.
The power is piped into the main breaker panel (not pictured, but typically located inside the home) which distributes the electricity throughout the house.
Power lines distribute electricity to your home. Excess electricity is sent back to the grid through the power lines when the system produces more electricity than you use.
The extra electricity is purchased by WRVEC's power supplier and is used to power the homes of other members.
That excess energy purchased is reflected as a credit on your billing statement.
Battery Pack (optional)
Solar energy systems produce electricity during the daytime, when the sun is shining. However, your home demands electricity at night and on cloudy days. Batteries can be added to the system to offset this mismatch, but batteries are not a required part of a solar energy system.
Charge Controller (optional)
Batteries can be overcharged if fed continuous voltage. The charge controller regulates the voltage, preventing overcharging and allowing charging when required. The equipment is only needed if a battery pack is installed. Also known as a charge regulator.
One of the main goals of WRVEC is providing affordable rates. Members can take advantage of “net metering” to save money. Net metering allows members to export power, in excess of immediate on-site needs, to offset an equal amount of power supplied by WRVEC. This allows power to be distributed at a different time in the billing period.
- Members are billed for the “net” amount of power used in excess of the power generated. If a member generates more power than what is used in a given billing period, WRVEC provides a credit for the surplus power. The credit is based on the cost a member would have incurred in purchasing the fuel to generate an equal number of kilowatt-hours.
- To be eligible, electricity must be produced from wind, solar thermal sources, hydroelectric sources, photovoltaic cells and panels, fuel cells using hydrogen produced by one of these named electrical energy sources, or other sources of energy that became available after August 28, 2007, and certified as renewable by the Department of Natural Resources.
- Please be aware — a renewable energy generation system cannot be turned on and left on until a member’s application has been approved and the net meter installed.
Members must apply for a net meter and need to complete both the pre- and post-construction portions of the application upon submission. Note, our approval process can take up to two weeks for initial approval. When a member’s application is approved, WRVEC will visit the member’s property to install the net meter.
Check out the graphic above to see how WRVEC members use net metering to stay connected to the grid while utilizing a renewable energy generation system (solar panels are used in this scenario).