How to Connect Solar Cells to a Power Grid

Written by angie oney
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How to Connect Solar Cells to a Power Grid
Homeowners with solar panels can sell unused electricity back to the local electric supplier. (Solar Panel image by kuhar from

Solar-powered homes have started to connect to local power companies' systems. This trend makes solar power more accessible in all regions of the country, no matter how sunny the typical day is. Connecting to the power grid gives a solar-powered home the flexibility to use solar power or power from the electric company. The added benefit is that if the solar home produces more electricity than needed, its owners can sell the excess solar energy back to the electric company through net metering.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Solar panels
  • Shunt
  • New wattage meter from the electric company
  • Net metering agreement

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  1. 1

    Determine the amount of wattage you need to produce power for your home. Installing the right number and size of solar panels depends on understanding the final wattage you need to run appliances and lights. Use solar cells of the same size and amps. The entire system can only produce wattage equal to the capability of the smallest solar cell.

  2. 2

    Install solar panels on the roof of the house. Install a system with a do-it-yourself kit or by hiring a licensed contractor.

  3. 3

    Determine the configuration of your solar power system. Battery backups are available for times of low light or power outages. The batteries store unused energy that the solar grid creates until the electricity is needed to power the home.

  4. 4

    Connect the solar panels to the charge controller. The charge controller moves direct current (DC) from the solar panel to the installed battery bank and into the power converter.

  5. 5

    Install a shunt to regulate the movement of electricity into and out of the home's system. In the event of a power outage, the shunt will protect the solar system from damage. It also moves unused electricity out to the power grid.

  6. 6

    Contact your local electric provider to install a special electric meter in order to "sell" unused power back to the electric company.

  7. 7

    Sign a net metering agreement with the electric company. Electric companies handle net metering in two ways: by mailing a check to a customer who provides excess solar power or issuing a credit on the customer's next bill.

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