How a Solar Energy System Works. If you want a more environmentally friendly home, one step is to purchase a solar energy system. After all, the sun’s energy has been cleanly shining down on us in Charlottesville for millions of years. Beck Cohen carries the Lennox® SunSource® Energy System to help you create a home that relies more on natural energy and less on oil and gas. So how does this system work? Put simply, the system uses solar modules, made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, to harvest 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 located in or around Charlottesville, you’re likely going to want a grid-tied PV system. These are the least expensive solar energy systems, and they’re tied to your utility company’s power grid – hence the name grid-tied. This lets you 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. In addition, grid-tied systems allow your system to feed additional energy back into the grid, at which time your meter will spin backwards. We call this process net-metering. The backward spin helps you save on utility expenses that are totaled by how far forward your meter has spun. Please note that most solar rebates and incentives are only available if your system is grid-tied. The other option is a stand-alone PV system, which costs more. Stand-alone systems are not connected to the utility grid and are fine options when your home is in a remote location, not near a utility service or power lines. Beck Cohen in Charlottesville is ready to help with your solar energy system questions. Give us a buzz at 434-296-0129 or set up an appointment online.