How Do You Hook Residential Solar Panels to the Grid?

Knowing what to do with unused renewable electricity is always a dilemma – hooking up to the grid has to be the preferred option.

If your residential home is grid tied, i.e. connected the electricity grid as opposed to off-grid and you are using solar panels to generate electricity. Then it makes a lot of sense to hook your solar panels to the grid, because instead of losing the unused electricity or having to maintain a bank of deep cycle batteries, you simply feed it back to the grid.

You feed electricity back to the grid via your electric meter which measures the electricity in Kilowatt per hour. This has the effect of reversing your meter which in turn reduces your electricity bills and if you are generating a lot of electricity you could find the utility company owing you money!

The Solar Powered System

Therefore, your solar powered installation would look like this. The solar panel will connect to an “array disconnect” – you need an array disconnect for system maintenance because it allows you to easily shut off the power.

The array disconnect is connected to an “inverter”. The solar panel generates DC power and the electricity from the grid is AC power. Therefore, you need an inverter to convert DC power to AC power.

The inverter is connected to an “AC breaker panel”. This is the interface where your solar generated electricity meets the electric meter and allows you to feed electricity back to the grid.

Now in most countries and states you are not allowed to tamper with the electric meter so at this point you should contact your local electricity energy supplier and ask them to supply an engineer to hook you up to the grid.

If you have anything to add to this article or you have connected your system to the grid – tell us how you did it by writing a comment below.


3 Comments on How Do You Hook Residential Solar Panels to the Grid?

  1. Wayne Bartlett on Sat, 29th Jan 2011 7:57 pm
  2. Hi there i am look to build a garage/shop 40×60 or 40×40 i wolud like to install solar panels on the roof and have it hooked up to grid to have a monthly income from hydro sales if you can help or give me info on sizes and price that would be great i live in simcoe on n3y4k4 thanks wayne

  3. Joe Walker on Thu, 10th Feb 2011 3:05 pm
  4. I cant speak for all utilities but Weatherford Texas Municipal Utility system effectively blocks use of alternative energy by requiring 1 million dollar liability insurance when tying to the grid. This action makes use of electrical or wind energy not viable. I do not know if this is true of all Texas municipitalities.

  5. stephen on Tue, 3rd May 2011 12:49 am
  6. hello im a younger guy my dads a stubborn older generation of the 40’s, he believes it costs tens of thousands of dollars to create a home grid and wire the solar panels to the electrical grid, ive bought several DIY solar panel kits of 40’x40′ for my home and am trying to figure out how to do all this without going bankrupt in the process. Im studying renewable energy technologies in college but several years from learning the basics and frankly i dont have the patience to wait that long with gas prices where they are. I could just use advice on websites or places to go to get the equipment you discussed above^ im only 22 and i have very little idea of what im doing but eager to learn.

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