How grid tied solar works.

An overview of how grid tired solar makes electricity and interacts with our power grid


We will start with what a grid tied pv system is actually made of.


Most grid tied pv systems are composed of the following:


There will be some type of racking system, to either make a stand alone structure or to fasten to the support structure of a roof and permanently secure the solar panels.


Then theres the solar panels, which are connected together with pluggable connectors called mc4’s 


There is usually kind of junction box, to provide a waterproof way to transition from solar wire to conduit, and to provide a safe place to house overcorrect protection,  a rapid shutdown system, or combiner panel, if necessary.



Next is the conduit. The conduit provides protection for the wires that connect the array to the inverters, as well as connecting the inverter to the service power.


The inverter is the heart of the system. It has a very important job of constantly turning DC solar power into clean, usable , AC grid power. Sometimes there will be one single inverter, and other times each solar panel will have its own inverter. Most of the time you will have a DC disconnect built into the inverter.


The AC disconnect is simply a way to shut the system down by breaking the connection between the inverter and the grid. Where ever there is electricity, there will have to be an easy and convenient way to shut it down.


And lastly, there has to be some means of interconnection to the grid. Common forms are a dedicated solar breaker in the main service panel, or a line side tap.


That is basically what a grid tied pv system is made of, there are a lot of details involved with each step, but it is good to start with a general idea of the whole subject then start learning details, so you’re not wondering how something applies to what you’re learning.






This is how solar actually interacts with our grid.


On a small scale, grid tied solar is very simple. Think of it as having your own mini power plant on your roof. 

The solar power is fed into the houses power, powers the loads that are on, and sends the rest out to the grid. 

The power that is sent out to the grid is tracked by a bi-directional meter, which is a meter that can track the power that you use and the power that you send back.


Different places have different policies, so you will have to ask your local power company or go to their website and look for something called the “net metering agreement”.

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