Many homeowners assume that all solar panel installations use batteries. After all, solar panels are designed to generate electricity. They are made of a photovoltaic (PV) material that’s able to convert sunlight — specifically photons — into electricity. Rather than transferring this electricity directory to residential power systems, many homeowners believe that solar panel installations store the electricity in a battery bank.
Most Solar Panel Installations Don’t Use Batteries
The truth is that most solar panel installations don’t use batteries. Whether roof-mounted or ground-mounted, solar panels typically use one or more inverters to convert direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, but they don’t use batteries.
Grid-Tied vs Off-Grid Solar Panel Installations
The reason most panel installations don’t use batteries is because they are tied to the grid. Solar panel installations can be classified as either grid-tied or off-grid depending on whether they are connected to a local power grid.
Off-grid solar panel installations are completely disconnected and operate independently of local power grids. Grid-tied solar panel installations are connected to a local power grid and, thus, may share electricity with the local power grid to which they are connected.
Grid-Tied Solar Panel Installations Use Net Metering Rather Than Batteries
When connected to a local power grid, solar panel installations are often eligible for net metering. Net metering allows homeowners to sell their excess electricity to a local utility provider. The utility provider will compensate homeowners with bill credits. These bill credits will essentially lower homeowners’ electricity bills. If a homeowner’s solar panel installation produces enough electricity, in fact, he or she may have $0 electricity bills.
Net metering is an alternative to using batteries. Some homeowners use batteries with their solar panel installations so that they can keep their lights and devices running 24 hours a day. Even when the sun goes down and their solar panels stop generating electricity, the batteries will keep their homes powered until the following sunrise.
Net metering eliminates the need for batteries. It’s available for grid-tied solar panel installations in most states. Homeowners can use net metering to keep their lights and devices running 24 hours a day. As their solar panel installations generate electricity, it will be immediately pumped into the local power grid. And the local power grid will provide electricity for the home.
Net metering simply compensates homeowners with bill credits in exchange for their excess solar-generated electricity. Homeowners don’t have to store the excess electricity in batteries. Instead, they can use net metering.