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Many people mistakenly think that all solar energy systems require batteries to provide you with electricity.

The truth is that the majority of both residential and commercial solar installers are connected to the power lines are still utilized to transfer power into your home or business through a process called “net metering“.

By getting a San Diego solar system installed on your home you create your own power plant that serves as your primary power source.  But at night, when the sun goes down, the solar panels do not produce power and an alternative source of power is needed.

This is where SDG&E comes in.

One of the most common confusions regarding San Diego solar is about how many battery packs are needed. Although it is an option to add a battery pack when we install your San Diego Solar system, but it is not needed.

Some people who live in remote areas that use solar have battery backups, solar panels, and diesel generators to make up for any deficiencies in power. This is not a common scenario for San Diego but for our customers in other parts of the state this is a great option.

How Net Metering Works:

During the day when the sun is shining bright the solar panels on your home or business are absorbing energy from the sun, converting it to power, and sending it wherever power is needed. If you turn on your coffee maker in the morning as you wake up with the sunrise, your solar panels will send power into your home to provide you with the power needed for that fresh cup of joe.

The same goes for turning on a light, a TV, or any type of appliance that runs on electricity.

When you leave your home and head to work in the morning your solar panels are still absorbing sunlight and converting it into power.

But if your home does not require any power because nothing inside the home is turned on, the power your solar panels generate is sent into the grid where your neighbor (who works from home) pulls it from the power lines connected to his or her home and uses it to power his or her electronics.

The process is called “net metering” which is a term that describes you a credit for all of the excess energy your solar panels produce.

They still charge you for the energy you pull from the grid, at night-time and when your solar panels are not producing 100% of your power needs. Some months you might have a balance owed to you from the utility, other months you might have a small balance, but either way you are only going to pay once a year.

Net metering is debit and credit system that create a virtual battery.

Instead of storing your extra energy in a physical battery, however, it is sent to the grid and stored for a millisecond until it reaches one of your neighbors that need power. And compared to batteries, net metering is much less expensive as you don’t have to keep replacing battery packs and the accessories associated with them.

By using “net metering” you are helping to stabilize the electric grid and in exchange for this you get a 30% tax credit on the installed cost of your solar system.

This does not require batteries for your solar energy system if you are tied to the grid. You do have the option of storing an emergency backup system so that if the power goes out and your solar is not generating (such as a power outage or night-time) we do offer backup battery systems that are a perfect medium between going off the grid and being grid tied.


If you have any questions about going solar or about battery back up systems or would like a free solar quote from Sunline Energy, fill out the form below.