What Export Limits Mean for Your Solar-Powered Home

One of the many benefits of having a solar-powered home connected to a power grid is that it allows you to feed excess solar power back into the grid. This gives you credit for any control that you pull from the grid at times when your solar array isn’t producing energy. However, in recent years, many electricity companies have begun implementing an export limit on solar homes. Please keep reading to learn more about what this means and how it impacts your home’s energy production and export.

What Is an Export Limit?

An export limit puts a cap on just how much energy you can feedback into the power grid at any given time. The most common export limit currently in place is 5kW; however, export limits can vary from one power network to another.

Once you have reached your export limit, your system will begin to “throttle” any excess power you produce. Essentially, if you’re not using the capacity and your export limit has been reached, any other energy your solar array creates will go to waste, typically burning off as heat emitted by your system. Your SolarEdge inverter, along with some additional equipment, is responsible for this throttling.

How This Impacts Your System

The most obvious result of this throttling is the loss of energy. Your panels and other solar equipment are attempting to create usable energy, but it’s being lost in the form of heat. If this feels wasteful to you, that’s because it is. However, these export limits are in place because they help ensure a safe and reliable energy flow throughout the grid. As more homes begin to switch to solar, more and more of that power is being fed back into the power grid, which can impact the network’s quality and reliability.

Beyond this loss of energy, export limits also make it difficult for you to monitor your solar equipment’s efficiency. Because your inverter measures only the energy produced. It can’t tell you if your system stopped making power because it reached its export limit or if something in your system isn’t working correctly. 

Exporting the Most Power Possible

As export limits become more common, solar equipment has been upgraded to help you work around these limitations. Modern inverters often come with a built-in export limit feature and time-of-use shifts to help reduce electric bills. These help to maximize self-consumption while loads are high while maintaining the export limit when loads are low. These adjustable controls make it possible to export as much power as possible throughout the day to give you the lowest power bill possible.

If you’re looking for an inverter that offers these capabilities, try the SolarEdge inverter.