What is Difference Between On-grid and Off-grid Solar Power System?
Solar Power systems can be categorized into two types – (1) On-Grid Solar Power System and (2) Off-Grid Solar Power System. But, why the On-Grid Solar Power System is there in the first place? Also, which one should you choose between the two? Read on to learn the major Difference Between On-grid and Off-grid Solar Power System.
ON-GRID SOLAR POWER SYSTEM:
On-grid means your solar system is tied to your local utility’s GRID. This is what most residential homes will use because you are covered if your solar system under or over-produces in regard to your varying energy needs. All this means for you is that your utility system acts as your battery space. If you are producing more energy with your solar panels or system than you are using, the excess energy is sent to your grid’s power company, allowing you to build credit that you can cash out with at the end of the year, in a process called net metering. Being grid-tied is beneficial because you don’t have to buy an expensive battery backup system to store any excess energy. Grid-tied or grid-connected solar is a solar electricity system without batteries. Your home is hooked up to both the national grid and your solar power system, so you will always have electricity available at the flick of a switch; even at night, or if it is cloudy. You can install a solar power system of any size and you will only ever be billed if your power consumption is in excess of the amount you are generating. The electricity grid acts as a 100% efficient and maintenance free battery while also providing unlimited ‘on demand’ energy. This is what makes grid-connected solar electricity so attractive. It has all the benefits of being attached to the electricity grid but with a portion of your electricity bill never increasing in price. However, we do offer grid-connect solar power systems with back-up for customers with special requirements.
OFF-GRID SOLAR POWER SYSTEM:
Off-grid means you are not connected in any way to your grid’s power system or utility company. This is appealing because you are 100% self-sustaining your energy use. However, there are disadvantages because off-grid systems require you to purchase backup battery which can be expensive, bulky, and not very environmentally friendly which defeats the purpose of going solar (save money and live greener). Off-grid connected solar is a solar electricity system with battery backup. During the day the sun shines and charges the batteries as well as supplies power to your home. During the evening or on rainy days when the sun isn’t shining you use the power stored in the batteries. Your house is not connected to the national grid hence the name: off-grid. Although there have been large price reductions in the cost of panels and inverters, batteries are generally quite expensive and require regular maintenance. Generally, the idea of being off the grid is quite appealing but it does require more investment.
Most of the time it is more cost effective to connect to the grid and offset your electricity consumption with a grid-connect solar PV system than to go off-grid. However, if you are building a new house or holiday home in a remote location off-grid solar can work out to be a lot cheaper than paying to be connected to the grid. There is no absolute standard off-grid system and it should be designed to suit your specific electrical loads and use patterns. At ANP Solar we have designed systems that run whole customers load demand. We love off-grid systems and would love to help design yours.