How a Solar Energy System Works. If you want a more environmentally responsible home, one step is to install a solar energy system. After all, the sun’s energy has been shining down on us in Erie County for hundreds of years. Patterson & Stirling Inc offers the Lennox® SunSource® Energy System to help you create a greener, less oil- and gas-dependent home. 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. After this process, the electricity can power appliances, lights and other electrical devices in your home – from your HVAC systems to your computer. Grid-tied PV systems If you live in Erie, you will want a grid-tied PV system. These are the least expensive solar energy systems, and they’re connected 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. In addition, grid-tied systems allow your system to feed additional energy back into the grid, causing your meter to 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. 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 connected to the utility grid and are good options when your home is in a remote location, or too far a distance from a utility service or power lines. Patterson & Stirling Inc in Erie is eager to help with your solar energy system questions. Give us a call at 814-308-0416 or schedule an appointment online.