Louisiana Solar Solutions

Servicing The State of Louisiana Since 2007
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Solar Systems

Louisiana Grid-Tie Solar Electric Systems

A photovoltaic (PV) system, or solar system can substantially lower your electricity bill, Louisiana!

A grid-tie solar system seamlessly integrates solar-generated electricity with your utility-provided electricity to power your home or business. In essence, you become the owner an ultra-reliable, low-maintenance, perfectly silent power plant on the roof of your own building.

Depending on your site conditions, energy usage patterns, and system size, the solar-generated electricity will provide anywhere from 25 to 100 percent of your annual power needs. 60-80 percent is typical. That means that for the life of your solar system you won’t need to worry about utility rate hikes for that portion of your electricity!

How Long Will the System Last?

Solar PV panels typically have a manufacturer’s warranty that guarantees power production for 25 years. However, many experts expect PV panels to work well for 30, 40, 50 years or longer. In fact, more than 95% of the PV panels in use since the 1960s and ‘70s are still producing power!

Unlike every other method of generating electricity, solar power systems have no moving parts. This translates into both long life and very low system maintenance.

How Grid-Tie Works

Grid-Tie No Battery Backup

Grid-Tie No Battery Backup

* PV modules (solar panels) collect the sun’s energy and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity.

* An inverter converts the DC electricity from the panels into the type of electricity we all use: alternating current (AC).

* When your solar system generates more electricity than you are using, your meter spins backwards, selling power back to the utility at the same rate you pay when you buy electricity from the utility.

* You can monitor your system’s production with a wireless display inside the building.

* Any excess electricity generated by the solar system is, in effect, stored in the utility grid for future use.

The system “knows” when to switch between utility power and solar power and does so with no interruption whatsoever. The solar electricity flows through and works with the same house wiring, lighting and appliances that you already have.

Net Metering – “Spinning the Meter Backward”

The explosive growth in solar over the past few years is almost entirely in the grid-tie market (as opposed to the off-grid market). One of the key drivers of the explosion in grid-tie solar is the advent of net metering policies. By law, utilities are required to purchase back solar-generated electricity from your grid-tie system, and furthermore, they must pay for your electricity at the same retail rate they charge you for their own electricity!

This means that on sunny days when your solar system is generating more electricity than your home or business needs, the excess is fed back into the utility line and you are paid full price for the electricity you are selling.

In effect, this makes the utility grid your private “electricity bank” (similar to the way a homeowner uses a battery bank in an off-grid system) where you “save” when you feed the grid electricity (sunny days and summer months) and from which you “draw” when you need electricity (nights and winter months).

Grid-Tie with Battery Backup

A grid-tie system can be battery-less or have a back-up bank of batteries to store energy until needed. A battery grid-tie system can sell power back to the grid. With a battery-less system, once the grid-supplied power goes out due to a storm, damage to the power lines, or utility malfunction, the user has no power for normal loads such as lights, furnace fans, or refrigerators, loads which could be powered by batteries for a limited amount of time. Battery back-up will maintain comfort and circuits powering important loads.

How it works

Battery Backup with Grid-Tie

Battery Backup with Grid-Tie

There is a difference in cost between a battery-less grid-tie system and one with battery back-up. A battery-less system requires an inverter and a solar array or other renewable power source. In addition to these two components, a battery grid-tie system requires several batteries, a charge controller for efficient battery recharging, breaker panels, circuit breakers, and enclosures to house the components. Each system will have installation expenses. A grid-tie system with battery back-up adds as little as 12% cost over a stand-alone grid-tie system.

Is the availability of battery power worth the extra expense when the grid goes down?

Each user must answer this question independently. Consider: If your power goes out, do you want to be wandering around your home using flashlights and candles when a battery bank could provide power and the security that comes with it for days on end? Or power a refrigerator to prevent food spoilage?

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