Solar Energy Systems: How They Work. If you want a more environmentally friendly home, a “green” step is to add a solar energy system. After all, the sun’s energy has been cleanly shining down on us in West Columbia for thousands of years. Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. carries the Lennox® SunSource® Energy System to help you create a more efficient home that doesn’t heavily rely on oil and gas. So how does this system work? Put simply, the system uses solar modules, made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, to collect energy from the sun and convert it to electricity. Then, the electricity will power appliances, lights and other electrical devices in your home – from your HVAC systems to your TV. Grid-tied PV systems If you’re in West Columbia, you’ll probably want a grid-tied PV system. These are the least expensive solar energy systems, and they’re linked to your utility company’s power grid – hence the name grid-tied. This allows you to use solar energy from your system when the PVs are collecting energy and use electricity from the grid at times when the system isn’t gathering energy. Additionally, grid-tied systems let your system feed extra energy back into the grid, at which time your meter will spin backwards. We call this process net-metering. The backward spin lets you save on utility expenses that are decided based on how far forward your meter has spun. It’s important to note that most solar rebates and incentives are only available if your system is grid-tied. Another option is a stand-alone PV system, which is more expensive. Stand-alone systems are not linked to the utility grid and are nice options when your home is in a remote location, far away from a utility service or power lines. Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. in West Columbia is eager to help with your solar energy system questions. Give us a buzz at 803-796-9172 or book an appointment online.