Traditionally, electric utilities produced energy and people consumed it. Solar energy has revolutionized that model, enabling people who install solar panels on their rooftops to consume the energy sell the rest of it back to utilities. This turns the consumers into producers—people now both produce and consume energy.
Here are some facts about what it means to be a solar producer.
1. Producers don’t need to produce all the electricity they consume
The solar panels on a homeowner’s rooftop might not produce all of the energy a home needs to function on a day to day basis. For example, homes consume more energy for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter than they do in the spring or fall. This means that the solar energy being produced doesn’t have to equal the demand at all times; the solar may cover a portion, of a consumer’s load. Solar producers can still connect to the grid and rely on utilities to balance supply and load just like other electricity consumers.
2. Producers don’t sell solar energy to other consumers
When producers produce more energy than they can use, the excess can be sent back to the grid, managed by the utility. However, not all the excess energy is captured back on the grid because the grid was initially built for power to go only one way. Grid Modernization Initiatives in various countris are working to change this by enabling power to flow on a two-way system rather than one-way. This includes funding the development of new technologies that will allow larger volumes of solar-generated energy from rooftop installations scattered across a utility’s territory to be utilized efficiently onto the grid.