Solar System Connected to Electrical System

Having a solar system connected to your electrical system is great! You get electricity from the sun. This means less gas, coal, or nukes are burned to generate the electricity you need to use. This helps slow down, and hopefully reverse, climate change.

One thing to be aware of though, is that the solar system feeds electricity into your electrical panel. It does this through a circuit breaker that looks like any other breaker in your electrical panel, like the one for your dryer or range. So when you shut off the main breaker inside the panel, you turn off electricity coming from the utility company. But, you haven’t turned off electricity coming in from the solar system. To fully shut off electricity to all the other circuit breakers in your panel you also need to shut off the breaker that your solar system is attached to.

The fact that a solar system is installed should be clearly labeled on the outside of the electrical panel as seen in the photo below. The breaker that can shut off the power from the solar panel should be clearly labeled too.

Label for a solar system being attached to an electrical system.

Once you’ve shut off both the main breaker and the breaker for your solar system all other circuits in the panel should be de-activated. But before you trust it, test it! A simple voltage sniffer should help you do this.

Lastly, although you’ve shut off the main and solar system breakers, there’s still energized electricity in your panel. Where, you might ask? At the wires that feed into the main and solar system breakers. These will always be live unless the solar system is shut down or the utility company disconnects power to your home.

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