When the discussion of solar farms comes up, the most common question is how power goes to your house from the farm. The simple answer is that it does not go to your home – a confusing answer that requires some explanation.
Solar on Your Home
To understand better, it is a good idea to start from the beginning, because that is where the confusion starts. When you place solar panels on your house, the power is not directed to you. Rather, the power goes to the utility grid.
The main reason for this is because your solar panels generate most power at different times from when you require it. For example, solar panels reach their optimum output at about 11 am. At that time, you are probably at work, and your home has not heated up enough to require the air conditioner to kick in. If the solar panels were to service just you, this power would be wasted.
What about storing the power generated in batteries? In principle, that is a good idea, but there are two major drawbacks. To save the extra power, you will require huge batteries, which are expensive making solar energy a less attractive option. Second, batteries eventually waste lots of power; therefore, you will need even more batteries and more solar panels.
Sell the Power
Instead of attempting to use the extra electricity for powering your air conditioner, computer and refrigerator, solar power can be sold back to the electric utility company. This allows someone else to use that power you are generating.
Solar panel installations usually come with a second meter. Your first meter is what is used to purchase all the electricity you need from the utility, just like you did before you installed a solar power system. The second meter is for measuring the solar energy generated, and the utility company will pay you for that. You become a mini-utility producer, as you remain a consumer like before.
New Jersey solar panels farms have panels on big motorized towers instead of on top of your house and allow the panels to track the sun for higher electrical output. Solar farm panels put power into the utility grid, and consumers get to use this power during the day resulting in fewer fossil fuels burned. This is the same thing that happens with power from panels installed on your home. You are paid for the power produced on the solar farm, similar to having panels installed on your house.