HOW IT WORKS
Solar is simple. Don't let an engineer tell you otherwise. Watch this video courtesy of Con Edison for a quick and simple explanation of how it all works.
A solar system generates electricity, which offsets electricity that you would otherwise purchase from your utility. How much electricity the system generates depends on how many panels you have and how much sunshine those panels receive. During your solar consultation we will look at your utility bill to see how much electricity you use and then try to build a system that meets your needs. Sometimes, due to limited roof space, we are unable to build a system that supplies 100% of your electric needs, in which case you may still purchase some electricity from your utility, albeit much less. You actually never disconnect from your utility. They are always there if you need extra power. Instead, you are taking advantage of what is called net metering, which allows you to generate electricity during the day, send excess electricity back into the grid and pull it back whenever you need it free of charge.
From a functional perspective, there is no difference in how you use electricity. It's business as usual. From a technical perspective, the panels generate electricity, a small pipe carries that electricity to the inverter where it is converted from direct to alternating current. Then the electricity will either go through your panel box and into your home or back out into the grid. What goes out into the grid is "net metered" and available for later use.