On-site solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are installed on rooftops, parking lots, or land at the same locations where electricity is consumed. These systems are directly tied to a facility’s electrical system – they are “behind-the-meter”, and can directly reduce the facility’s need to purchase electricity from the grid. If an on-site solar project produces more electricity than the facility needs at any given moment, the excess electricity is exported to the grid. In those states that have passed net-metering legislation, the system owner receives a credit on their utility bill for any excess solar energy generated at their location. On-site systems can be installed even if net metering is not enabled, but they tend to be more financially attractive in regions with net metering, high electricity prices, good solar potential, and local incentives.
Since on-site solar systems are co-located with city facilities, they offer some unique features and advantages – including visibility and educational opportunities, lower utility bills, and—when paired with energy storage—enhanced resilience. They may also provide local jobs and economic development.