Solar and the grid: A glowing partnership

The grid provides some important mechanisms
that allow solar power systems to work and work efficiently on our network. Part
of that is safety, manufacturers of these solar systems are enabled to make them
cheaper and cost-effective for everyone because the grid is there and it
provides all those things they don’t have to put into their product. If
something happens in your home – an appliance fails or or breaks down, the grid
provides the fault current to trip your protection devices in your home to
protect your house and stop damage to appliances. The voltage stability is
really important for the safety of our homes. The grid provides that stability –
you can’t just buy your four or five thousand dollar solar system and think
that you can disconnect from the grid. If a voltage goes way too high, it’ll damage
appliances. If the voltage is really low and then none of your equipment will start up or turn on. When a motor starts up on the grid, say in your
refrigerator, the grid provides the kick to the motor to get it started. Without the
grid, a solar panel operating by itself wouldn’t be able to do that, it needs
that stability and extra capacity from the grid to enable fridges and air
conditioners and all those larger appliances you might have in your home.

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