How Residential Solar Works
EcoHome Expert, Inc. installs photovoltaic home solar systems in the Chicago area. These systems convert sunlight into electrical energy you can use in your home. There are four main elements of each home solar system, two of which are already in your house:
Solar panels, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity (similar to what comes out of batteries).
Inverters or microinverters, which convert the DC electricity into the alternating current (AC) electricity used by the grid and distributed in your home.
A main breaker panel (sometimes called by its older name, the “fuse box”), which is where your solar system connects to your home’s electricity system.
The utility meter, which measures the net amount of energy consumption from the grid.
Net Metering for Home Solar
All Illinois home solar installations are eligible for something called “net metering”, which simply means that your utility will bill you for the net amount of electricity you consume during a month.
Even with a home solar system, you will still want to be connected to the grid so that you can draw power at night when the panels don’t produce. Conversely, there will be times when your panels produce more energy than you consume (such as on a very sunny day). In those cases, the excess energy you produce will flow to the grid to be used by other customers; your utility will credit you for that production.
Net metering describes the process by which the utility measures your net energy consumption (what you consume from them minus what you produce and send back to them). You’re only billed for the difference between the two, or your net grid energy consumption.