Does Solar Make Sense If You Have a Zero Export Grid?

One of the great benefits of having solar power is that it often allows you to feed any excess energy your panels generate back into the power grid. This provides you with a credit towards the energy you pull from the grid later when your array isn’t producing solar energy. Essentially, the city grid becomes your own personal energy bank. However, this isn’t available in all areas. Some places have a “zero export” limit on energy, meaning that you can’t feed power back to the grid. How does this impact your solar setup, and does solar power still make sense for you in these areas? Keep reading to learn more.

Why a Zero Export Limit?

Currently, zero export limits are not extremely common. But they are becoming more common for one straightforward reason—power grids can only handle so much energy being fed back into the system. With more and more homes switching to solar power, the odds of the local grid being able to handle the energy exports it receives increases every day. And, eventually, your local power plant might have to say, “No more.” This means that while one home might be able to feed into the grid, another house in the same neighborhood might be put on a zero export limit.

Should You Still Get Solar?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Even if you can’t export energy to the grid, solar power is still an environmentally friendly, cost-effective energy solution for your home. However, if you have a zero export limit, it becomes even more vital that you focus on building a solar system built exclusively for self-consumption. This means you want your array to be as exact as possible in producing only as much energy as your home needs.

So, if your system is required to be zero export, you’ll want to ensure that you get a professional to calculate your energy consumption and design your system. Otherwise, you’re more likely to be wasting clean energy by producing more than your home needs.

What Happens to Excess Energy?

Let’s say that, for whatever reason, your solar setup does produce more energy than you need. What happens to that excess energy if it has nowhere to go? Your solar power system doesn’t dump extra energy like a manufacturing plant pouring runoff into a nearby river; instead, it just stops producing the energy. Intelligent solar inverters, like the PWRcell inverter, can reduce energy creation in your arrays if it’s exceeding your current needs. While it’s still a little wasteful not to harness as much energy from the sun as possible, it’s one way to handle a zero export situation.

Of course, the other option is to have a hybrid system that allows you to store your excess energy for later use, further reducing your dependence on the city grid. While zero export situations are not ideal, batteries are an effective alternative.

If you have a zero export limit on your power grid, make sure you use an inverter designed to handle this type of situation, such as the PWRcell inverter.

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