THe Wattshop - Alternative Power - Solar Panels, Hydro, Wind Turbines, diesel generators - supply and installation
  home  |  system design  |  system types  |   components  |   installations gallery  |  generators  |   FAQ  |  contact  


This page has been written for those interested in solar generated power feeding back into the grid and is basically a response to answer the many emails I get on this subject.




What is grid tied solar(or wind or hydro) micro generation?

using the right equipment power from solar panels or another renewable source can be fed directly back into the national grid. No batteries are required for these systems unless backup power is required when the grid goes down. A credit for the power fed back into the grid can be credited to you power bill

Grid tied solar is by far the easiest for most people to do so thats the one we'll explore on this page



"I want to reduce my power bill"

Most enquire about grid tie as they want to save money on their power bill. Up until recently I thought this was, from a financial point of view, a waste of time as solar panels were so expensive.

However with the price of solar panels dropping so dramatically in the last year or so (2011-2012) it can now be financially viable in my opinion

Especially If you can use the power as it comes from the panels, as that is power you didn’t have to buy off the power company

Examples of this could be people that work from or are at home during the day, or a business that consumes power while the sun is out i.e. in the daytime.

. In this situation you get the full benefit the electricity's

current retail value.

It then becomes irrelevant what the power company, now or in the future, will credit you for power fed back into the grid, which is often less than its retail value, because your using it yourself rather than trying to "sell" it to them

other reasons to consider a grid tied solar system

  • To b e a friend to the environment and future generations
  • Be able to use the system as a promotional tool for your business


Some things you can do so your grid tie system makes even more of a dent in your power bill

Turn some of that stuff you have on, off!  At the wall!

I am often amazed when I visit people on the grid how many gizmos they have plugged in doing nothing except bleeding their bank accounts with electrical leaks (which is how I think of unnecessary electrical loads)

Some suggestions that may help

  • Turn your hot water cylinder down (call a sparky if not comfortable with this one get them to check the thermostat and element while he or she is there)
  • Insulate cylinder so water stays hotter longer
  • consider a solar hot water system or other method of water heating other than electrical
  • fit energy saver light bulbs
  • turn off that heated towel rail when its not really needed
  • security lights that stay on permanently could be costing you more than $1 a day. Personally I'd rather have an extra $30 a month. Buy good quality ones or ditch the sensor and simply switch them yourself or consider switching them with a daylight switch or timer.
  • wash your clothes with cold water and then hang them on a good old fashioned clothes instead of using the dryer (if you have kids and its raining you are excused)
  • repair or replace that ancient fridge or freezer that is running continuously, modern ones are way more efficient
  • Standby mode for stereos TVs microwaves etc wastes quite a bit of power over a period of time.

I have seen or read about grid tied systems overseas, why not here?

well as of 2011-2012 this has begun to change!

They are here, in low numbers. Why not so many?

Because overseas governments are way more up to speed than ours! In Australia for example subsidies and other schemes are in place to make grid tie worth while or at least cost the household into which it is installed virtually nothing. Our government is quite content with our allegedly 70% renewable generation and it this time is not interested in paying a worthwhile rate for power from micro generators. They have however made it easy for you to "gift" power to the network. Big of them eh! This is why I think that so long as you can use the power yourself grid tie is great.  If your looking for a decent credit for power exported to the grid, be prepared to go into negotiations with your power company

You may have seen this page before when I wasn't so enthusiastic about the subject. Well back then the payback was 60+years, way too long for most people.

Solar has pricing has dropped to levels I never thought I would see in my career making it a much more viable proposition. Thats got to be good :-)






Copyright The Wattshop 2007.

The Watt Shop - Alternative Power  |   PO Box 342, Kaeo, Northland, New Zealand  |   Phone 021 784 678

This website was created and is maintained by using solar power!
Website design by Ascension Creative