A grid tie inverter enables you to sell the electricity generated from your home solar power systems.
Grid tie solar systems use a type of inverter that allows the system to transfer power to the utility grid. These types of inverters, known as grid tie inverters, or GTI's, allow you to use the utility grid as your power storage medium instead of a battery bank.
Like any solar power inverter, a GTI takes DC input from the solar panels and converts it to AC electricity. When the sun is shining and your solar panels are generating power, the solar power inverter will channel the power to your electrical loads or to the grid.
If your system is generating more power than you are using, the excess power is channeled to the utility grid. If you need more power than your system is generating, you will be able to pull it from the grid. In this way, the grid is acting as your power storage medium.
It's important to realize that in the case of a utility power outage, your GTI will also shutdown. This is required by the National Electrical Code (NEC) in order to prevent the utility linemen working to restore power from being electrocuted. This is a major difference compared to a home solar power system that uses a battery bank.
There are two major benefits of a grid-tie solar system to homeowners.
First, a grid tie system is less expensive than a comparable system that uses a battery bank for electricity storage. Battery storage systems are expensive and will also need to be replaced at least once during the lifetime of a typical solar power system. By using a GTI, you are able to reduce your overall cost of solar energy.
Second, many states have net-metering laws in place which allow homeowners to get credit for any electricity you send to the grid. The utility company is essentially paying you at market rates for the excess electricity you generate. This allows you to take full advantage of ALL the electricity produced by your system.
As the cost of energy continually increases, more and more people are looking towards renewable energy sources to help their pocket books. Solar energy is one of the best renewable energy sources you can use to produce electricity for your home. In addition to using the solar power you generate, if your home solar power system uses a grid tie inverter (GTI), you can also sell any excess power you produce back to your utility company.