Distributed Solar Definition

What is distributed solar?

Distributed solar, also known as decentralized solar, refers to the installation of solar power systems on small-scale or individual buildings, homes, or businesses. The concept of distributed solar is in contrast to centralized solar installations, which involve the construction of large-scale solar power plants.

In distributed solar, solar panels are installed on rooftops or other suitable surfaces, and the energy generated from these panels is used to power the individual building or home. Any excess energy can be sold back to the utility company, thereby contributing to the broader grid.

One of the benefits of distributed solar is that it can reduce the need for additional grid infrastructure, such as transmission lines and substations. This can result in cost savings for utilities and consumers alike, as well as increased grid resiliency.

Distributed solar can also be a more environmentally-friendly option compared to centralized solar installations. This is because distributed solar systems generate electricity right where it is needed, reducing the amount of energy lost in transmission. Additionally, distributed solar can be installed in urban areas, reducing the need for land-intensive solar farms.

Overall, distributed solar can provide a range of benefits to both individuals and communities, including increased energy independence, lower energy costs, and reduced carbon emissions.

Advantages of distributed solar

Distributed solar refers to the installation of solar power systems on individual buildings or properties rather than in large, centralized power plants. There are several advantages to choosing distributed solar over centralized solar.

Firstly, distributed solar is more reliable than centralized solar. With centralized solar, if the power plant goes out of commission for any reason, a large number of people are affected. On the other hand, with distributed solar, if one system goes down, it only affects one building or property. This provides a more stable and resilient electricity grid.

Secondly, distributed solar is more flexible than centralized solar. While it is easier to add more panels to a centralized power plant, it is also expensive and time-consuming to route electricity to different parts of the grid. With distributed solar, it is easy to add more solar panels to a building or property, and the energy generated can be consumed on site or easily transferred to nearby buildings or properties.

Another advantage of distributed solar is that it can save money for both utilities and consumers. When utilities invest in new centralized solar plants, they must consider the cost of building the power plant, installing transmission lines, and maintaining the grid. With distributed solar, these costs are significantly reduced. Furthermore, consumers who install their own solar panels can save money on their electricity bills and may even be able to sell excess electricity back to the grid, further reducing costs.

Finally, distributed solar has significant environmental benefits. By reducing the need for centralized power plants, distributed solar reduces carbon emissions and helps combat climate change. Additionally, because the energy generated by distributed solar is consumed locally, it reduces the need for long-distance transmission lines, which can harm the environment.

Overall, the advantages of distributed solar make it an attractive option for both utilities and consumers. It provides a reliable, flexible, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly source of electricity.

Types of distributed solar systems

Distributed solar energy systems are photovoltaic systems that produce electricity from solar energy, and can be installed in a variety of settings, including rooftops, parking lots, and in open spaces. These systems can range in size from small residential installations to large commercial photovoltaic projects. There are two primary types of distributed solar systems: grid-connected and off-grid systems.

A grid-connected photovoltaic system is the most common type of distributed solar energy system. This system produces electricity from solar power during the day, and any excess energy is fed back into the electrical grid for others to use. This allows the owner of the system to receive credit for the excess energy produced, which can be used to offset their electricity bill. Grid-connected systems use an inverter to convert the electricity produced by the solar panels from direct current to alternating current, which is compatible with the electrical grid.

Off-grid photovoltaic systems are not connected to the electrical grid, and are typically used in remote locations where it is difficult or expensive to connect to the grid. These systems are self-contained and rely on batteries to store excess energy produced during the day for use at night or on cloudy days. Off-grid systems require more components than grid-connected systems, including a charge controller, batteries, and sometimes a backup generator. These systems are typically more expensive to install and maintain, but can provide energy independence and a reliable source of power in remote areas.

Overall, the type of distributed solar energy system that is right for a particular setting depends on a number of factors, including the size of the installation, the desired level of energy independence, and the costs associated with installation and maintenance. However, both grid-connected and off-grid photovoltaic systems can provide clean energy and significant long-term savings for home and business owners.

Components of a distributed solar system

A distributed solar system is a setup where solar panels are installed on rooftops, carports, or other flat surfaces to generate electricity. Apart from the solar panels, there are other components that work together to create a complete distributed solar system. In this section, we will take a look at the key components of a distributed solar system.

Solar Panels:
Solar panels are the most important component of any solar system. They convert the energy of sunlight into electricity that can be used to power homes or businesses. The solar panels consist of several photovoltaic (PV) cells, which absorb the photons from sunlight and transform them into an electrical current. The number and size of solar panels you need will depend on your energy requirements and the size of your property.

The inverter is another crucial component of a distributed solar system. It converts the DC (direct current) electricity generated by the solar panels into AC (alternating current) electricity, which is what households and businesses use to power their appliances. The inverter also enables you to monitor the performance of your solar system.

The battery is an optional component of a distributed solar system. It is used to store excess solar energy that can be used when the sun is not shining, such as during the night. A battery can help you become less reliant on the grid and enable you to maintain power during blackouts or emergencies.

Charge Controller:
If your solar system includes a battery, you will need a charge controller. It is used to regulate the amount of electricity that goes into the battery to prevent overcharging, which can lead to damage. Charge controllers also protect batteries from over-discharging, which can shorten their lifespan.

Mounting System:
The mounting system is what holds the solar panels in place. It consists of rails, clamps, and other hardware that secure the panels to your roof or other surfaces. The mounting system needs to be strong and durable enough to withstand strong winds, heavy rains, and other weather conditions.

Electric Meter:
Finally, you will need an electric meter to measure the amount of electricity your solar system generates and how much of it you consume. If your energy usage exceeds your solar production, you may need to pay for additional electricity from the grid. Alternatively, if you generate more electricity than you consume, you may be able to sell excess energy back to the grid and receive credits on your utility bill.

These are the key components of a distributed solar system. Before installing a solar system, it’s important to understand how each of these components works and how they fit together to provide you with clean, renewable energy.

How to install a distributed solar system

To install a distributed solar system, there are a few key steps you will need to take. First, you will need to assess your energy needs and determine how much power you wish to generate. This will help you decide on the size and number of solar panels you will need.

Next, you will need to select an appropriate location for your solar panels. In general, you will want to choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day and is free from obstructions that could cast shade on your panels.

Once you have chosen a location for your panels, you will need to install the mounting hardware. This will typically involve attaching brackets or rails to your roof or another sturdy surface, depending on where you have chosen to install your panels.

With the mounting hardware in place, it is time to install the panels themselves. This can be a delicate process, as you will need to ensure that the panels are properly aligned and securely attached to the mounting hardware.

Once your panels are installed, you will need to connect them to an inverter. The inverter is responsible for converting the DC power generated by your panels into AC power that can be used in your home or fed back into the grid.

Finally, you will need to connect your solar system to your home’s electrical system. This will typically involve installing a dedicated circuit breaker and wiring to connect your inverter to your home’s electrical panel.

Overall, installing a distributed solar system can be a complex process, but with the right planning and attention to detail, it is a great way to reduce your energy costs and increase your energy independence.

Cost of a distributed solar system

The cost of a distributed solar system depends on various factors such as the size of the system, location, and the components used. In general, the installation of a distributed solar system is a significant investment, but it can provide savings in the long run.

The size of the system is a major factor that influences the cost of a distributed solar system. A larger system will require more solar panels, which will drive up the cost of installation. However, a larger system may also be more cost-effective in the long run as it can generate more electricity and provide greater savings on energy bills.

Location is another factor that can impact the cost of a distributed solar system. The cost of installation varies depending on the area’s climatic conditions, availability of solar resources, and the complexity of the installation process. The complexity of the installation process can increase the cost of installation if it requires a specialized team. Conversely, if the installation process is simple, it will reduce the cost of installation.

The components used in the installation of a distributed solar system also impact the cost. High-quality solar panels, inverters, and batteries will cost more than lower quality components. It’s important to note that high-quality components may provide greater efficiency and longevity in the long run, resulting in future savings.

Overall, the cost of a distributed solar system may seem high upfront, but it can yield significant savings in the long run. With the decrease in solar panel prices and incentives offered by governments, such as tax credits and rebates, the cost of installation has become more affordable.

Policy considerations for distributed solar

When considering the installation of distributed solar panels, there are several policy considerations that should be taken into account. Distributed solar involves the installation of small-scale solar energy systems on residential or commercial buildings, allowing for more widely distributed and potentially more efficient power generation.

One important policy consideration is net metering. Net metering allows customers with solar panels to receive a credit on their electricity bills for any excess power generated by their solar panels and fed back into the grid. This can help make distributed solar more financially attractive by reducing the payback period for solar investments. However, policies around net metering vary by state and can change over time, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on local regulations.

Another consideration is interconnection policy. Interconnection policies outline the technical requirements and procedures for interconnecting distributed solar systems with the grid. These policies vary by state and can affect the cost, time, and complexity of installing distributed solar. It’s important to understand interconnection policies early on to avoid delays or unexpected costs.

In addition to state policies, federal policies can also impact distributed solar. For example, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) provides a tax credit for solar system installations. This can help offset the cost of installing solar and can also make solar more attractive to investors. The ITC is currently set to decrease over time, so it’s important to understand the current timeline and requirements for the credit.

Finally, local zoning and permitting policies can impact distributed solar installation. These policies vary widely by jurisdiction, and may apply to details such as the size and placement of solar panels, as well as the method of installation. Researching local policies and requirements can help prevent costly delays or rework.

Overall, distributed solar can offer numerous benefits, but navigating the policy landscape can be complex. Staying up-to-date on relevant policies and regulations can help ensure a successful and efficient installation process.

Future of distributed solar

The future of distributed solar looks very promising. With increasing concerns about climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions, solar energy is becoming more and more popular. Distributed solar, which involves the installation of solar panels on residential and commercial buildings, is playing an important role in the transition to clean energy.

For one, distributed solar is more flexible than centralised solar because it can be installed in various locations. This means that it can be tailored to individual energy needs, unlike centralised solar power plants that may be located far away from where the energy is needed. Distributed solar can also be more reliable because it is not dependent on a single source of power. If one panel fails, for instance, it may only impact a single building, rather than an entire power plant.

Moreover, the cost of installing solar panels has been decreasing steadily, making it more affordable for individuals and businesses. With the increasing affordability of solar panels, more people are adopting it, therefore driving up the demand for these services.

As a result, the future of distributed solar looks very promising because it helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions, promotes flexibility of energy supply, reduces electricity bills for households and commercial properties, and encourages innovation in the energy sector.


If you’re working in solar sales, knowing about distributed solar can be incredibly helpful. By understanding the benefits of distributed solar, you can effectively communicate these advantages to potential customers, helping them make informed decisions about their solar energy needs. Additionally, understanding the technical aspects of distributed solar installations, such as how the energy produced by individual solar panels can be fed back into the grid, can make you a more knowledgeable and effective salesperson.

For solar lead generation, knowledge of distributed solar is equally important. By targeting potential customers in areas where distributed solar makes the most sense – for example, in urban areas with high population density – you can focus your resources on the most promising leads. From there, you can emphasize the benefits of distributed solar and convince these leads to take action.

Finally, for those running a solar company, understanding the opportunities presented by distributed solar can help you make strategic decisions about where to invest your resources. By recognizing the potential cost savings and environmental benefits of distributed solar, you can prioritize this area of your business and focus on building out your capabilities in this area.

Overall, whether you’re in solar sales, lead generation, or running a solar company, knowledge of distributed solar is key to success in the industry. By recognizing the benefits of this technology and understanding the technical aspects of distributed solar installations, you can make more informed decisions and more effectively communicate the value of solar energy to potential customers.