California to Start Requiring Smart Inverters

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Do you plan on connecting your solar panel system to the main electrical grid so you can earn a credit on your utility bills? If you’re like most people, you don’t plan on cutting yourself off of from a main public utility, so odds are you panels will be connected and you will be able to reap the benefits this can offer. However, as solar panels become a much more common technology, the many different systems found around the country have begun to put an added strain on the main electrical grid all throughout the state. When everyone’s panels are producing efficiently during peak daylight hours, the electrical grid needs to be able to absorb this abundance of additional energy, which increases the load it must bear.

As a result, California will soon start requiring all installations to utilize what is known as “smart inverters,” which allow for precise control of electrical flow and can prevent voltage limiters from tripping at unnecessary times. These inverters can be controlled remotely from an operations center, enabling your home’s panels to be controlled precisely in order to give you the most efficient power generation and keeping the load on the grid consistent without risking an over or under-voltage issue.

What is a Smart Inverter?

A smart inverter is a small device installed on your solar panels which takes the electrical current produced by your solar panels (which is generally “direct current,” or DC power) and converts it to the type of energy your home uses (“alternating current,” or AC). AC current that is not used to power your home is what is then sent to the grid. When too much AC current from all of the many solar panel installations in a certain area are sent to the electrical grid, the grid has to bear this load. A smart inverter responds to this change in voltage and keeps your home powered properly while adjusting its own current levels to make sure your system doesn’t become over or under-loaded with voltage.

There are numerous other benefits to smart inverters, both for solar panel system owners and for the public utility grid. A smart inverter can communicate with a central utility command location, both providing data about current power generation numbers, grid status, and more. They can also receive instructions from central command and adjust either automatically or via human command without the need for anyone to visit your home or climb on your roof. They can also receive upgrades and new software quickly, enabling the grid to remain at its most efficient and on the cutting edge without ever needing a technician to visit and change anything.

The rule regarding installation of smart inverters is known as Rule 21, and the California Public Utilities Commission ruled in December of 2013 that all investor-owned utilities should have advanced inverters a full 12 months after the Underwriters Laboratory approved new certification standards for smart inverters. The new rules are largely based on the success that the European Union has had in utilizing smart inverters to manage a distributed-generation power grid, including improved reliability and efficiency. If you order a new system in California today, odds are it will be installed with these smart inverters to make sure you are ready for this rule to go into full effect.

Solaire Energy Systems has been providing high-quality and efficient solar energy systems to Southern California residents for more than two decades. Our San Diego solar installation experts provide exceptional products and service in order to give you the best possible experience and save the most money on your monthly utility bills. If you’re looking to increase your home’s value while reducing your carbon footprint and keeping more money in your wallet, find out whether solar technology is right for you!

Call Solaire Energy Systems today by dialing (619) 831-8600 to schedule an appointment and receive a free solar quote!

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