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How Does Solar Energy Work?

Did you know that an hour and a half worth of sunlight is enough to power the entire world for a year? If we could catch all of the solar energy and convert it into electric power, that is. 

The solar system in your community captures and converts sunlight into solar energy for you to use. Knowing how solar energy works and understanding the basic functions of solar systems is helpful to get the most solar savings and benefits.

How Solar Energy is Generated

Below is the basic step-by-step process of generating solar power through photovoltaic (PV) solar generation systems. PV systems are the most common type of solar system.

  1. Sunlight hits a solar panel, making an electric charge.
  2. Equipment called inverters converts this charge from DC to AC electricity.
  3. That AC electricity flows through your electrical panel providing power just like grid energy.
  4. Any extra solar energy that isn’t used right away is saved in batteries or sent to the grid, where they earn solar credits.

How Solar Energy is Used

The solar system in your community is “grid-tied.” With a grid-tied solar system, your power comes first from solar then from the local utility grid. This ensures that power is still available for you even if the solar system is not producing power. Generally, you will pull power from the solar system during the day when the sun is shining and the grid at night or when it’s too cloudy to produce sufficient power.

How your Solar Cost is Calculated with Ivy

With Ivy’s innovative and intelligent software, solar power calculations are user-specific, transparent, and consumer-friendly. Your solar bill is calculated through the following steps:

  1. Ivy collects utility meter data and solar system production meter data to determine the energy consumption of each resident unit and the energy production from the solar system in any given 15-minute interval.
  2. Using this interval energy data, Ivy is able to identify for each resident unit when energy is being consumed live from the solar system, when energy is being consumed strictly from the grid, and when energy is being consumed from the grid however there is solar credit available to offset some of the cost (a result of surplus solar generation previously sent to the grid).
  3. Energy costs, before solar savings, are determined by the electric consumption meter data and the electric utility rate plan.
  4. Ivy monitors the total value (avoided utility cost) to the property that was generated by the on-site solar system and based on each unit’s individual consumption and solar utilization allocates a portion of that value as passthrough savings to residents.
  5. Each resident is provided a monthly solar energy statement that provides the resident with their monthly energy consumption, a breakdown how much of their consumption

Ivy Energy ensures accuracy and clean energy benefits to residents on every billing period. No other shared solar platform provides the granularity, accuracy, and fair access to solar savings that Ivy's Virtual Grid provides!

With Ivy Energy, you enjoy equal and unbiased distribution of solar benefits based on your actual energy use. This way you can adjust your usage to gain more energy savings through solar. The per kilowatt-hour cost of electricity from the System may change from month to month based on the amount of Community Savings attributed to each tenant, but tenants will never pay a higher total bill for solar plus utility charges than they would have had to pay the utility absent the solar generation.