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2016

Why you cannot connect solar panels to grid

Electric code will not let you connect solar electric to your main breaker box.
Period. It's against code to do otherwise. It's dangerous. And you can cause damage to your appliances and to other people's appliances.
Unless your solar has been converted to AC power and has identical waveform that matches the same waveform as the grid.
And for safety, you must have approved safety transfer switch with auto-disconnect when grid power is off.

These requirements are for safety and reliability of electric service.
What is waveform.
Electricity is electrons flowing across the surface of a conductor, such as a wire.
AC is Back and forth. The electrons change direction and flow back and fprth across the wire each time the generator rotates. This is AC alternating current.
Each time the electrons slow down to a stop, before changing direction, the voltage goes to zero. As the electrons move again, the voltage rises.
DC is straight-line. The electrons move one direction and the voltage does not rise up and down.

With AC power, ff you plot the movement of electrons on a graph over time, it creates a sine wave. The sine wave goes up and down live waves on a lake.
Alternating current (grid electricity) is produced by a generator that rotates a magnet inside a magnetic field.
The magnet has north and south poles.
Each time the magnet rotates, it causes electrons to flow on the wire.
As the N end of magnet passes the coil, the electrons speed up going one direction on the wire.
Then electrons slow down as the S end of magnet approach, and then they speed up again going the other direction when the S end of magnet passes the coil.
Back and forth, the electrons flow across the wire. This is AC alternating current.
The voltage rises and falls as electrons change direction.
When the electron slow down between N and S poles of magnet, the voltage reaches zero. However the average voltage is above zero and the generator rotates fast enough (60 cycles per second) that the appliances are not affected, as long as the appliances are engineered to the correct voltage and number of cycles..
Resource:
What-is-3-phase-electric.html
Solar power is different than grid power
Solar power is DC or direct current electricity.
With DC, the electrons travel one direction on the wire.
The voltage remains the same and does not rise and fall like AC current
Result if you want to connect solar electricity to the grid then you have to convert DC to AC alternating current

Converting DC to AC is not enough/ the sine waves must match
When do you convert DC to AC then you are generating electricity that has a sine wave.
The electrons go back-and-forth just like grid electricity.
But the sine wave of your solar electricity must match the sine wave of the AC grid generator.
You cannot introduce electricity onto the grid that does not match the same electron movement of the grid...
Imagine if your electrons were moving the opposite direction from grid electrons.... the voltage would be zero... the clash of electrons might burn out appliances.
At the very least... the voltage disturbance created by 2 different sine waves of electricity on the wire will burn out the air conditioner motor and affect other appliances and electronics.

Clean Power
When the power company talks about clean-reliable power the word clean means no irregular sine wave on the wire
Disturbances on the wire cause burned-out motors and appliances.
Lightning strike is extreme example of a disturbed waveform.
The lightning causes a huge surge in voltage that will burn out electrical devices.

Waveform ... or sine wave... or clean power... is one reason why there are strict regulations governing solar electricity connected to grid.
Safety switch/ Transfer switch
For safety, you must have approved transfer switch with auto-disconnect when grid power is off.
What is a transfer switch?
Transfer switch turns off wires that connect your main breaker box to the grid
A transfer switch is required for all home generated electricity, whether it's  solar or a gas-power generator etc.

Why is transfer switch important?
When power is out because of fallen wires, or grid repairs, the linemen working to restore power must be protected.
If your home generation does not turn off when grid turns off, then your power continues to flow on the grid wires.
This is dangerous for power company linemen, and for neighbors who think power is off.
Moreover it causes additional expense and delay for the power company to track down the source of power on the wires.


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