There are three main types of solar power systems: grid-tied; grid-tied with battery backup (Hybrid); and off-grid. These three types vary in how closely connected they are to the power grid infrastructure. Each type has strengths and weaknesses that determine how suited they are to your needs.
You need to understand both your needs and usage habits then discuss these with a Solarwyse Guy and to find a Solar Power Solution for your home. There are some very cost effective Solutions.
Grid-Tied Solar Power Systems
A grid-tied solar power system is directly connected to the homes electrical panel thus to the electric utility grid. Grid-tied systems allow the homeowners to utilize power from either the homes solar system or the utility grid. Switching between the solar panel produced power and the power grid is seamless.
The advantage of a grid-tied system is the ability to balance the roof top power production and home power requirements. When a grid-tied system is producing more power than the home is consuming, the excess can be sold back to the power company (POCOS) thus lowering your utility bill. When the system is not producing sufficient power, the home will draw power from the power grid.
Grid-tied systems are the lowest cost type of residential solar electric system, due to having fewer required components. However grid-tied systems will not power your home in the event of a power grid blackout, as they shutdown due to safety of the power company employees.
- Least cost
- Easiest design
- Minimal components
- Virtually zero maintenance costs
- Shutdown during a power outage
- Lowest return on investment
- Does not produce power during the daily peak demand
- Highest overall carbon emission option
- Monthly power bill from the POCOS
Grid tied Solar Power System with Battery Backup or Hybrid.
A Hybrid grid-tied solar power system is also connected to the power grid and adds battery backup to the system. The addition of a battery backup enables the system to balance production and demand and protects against power outages.
Solar electric system production depends on the available sunlight. When sunlight is abundant, production can exceed demand. When production exceeds demand, the excess power can charge the batteries, which store the electricity. When the system is producing less electricity than demanded by the home, the batteries can make up the shortfall.
Grid-tied systems are also connected to the utility power grid. This enables the homeowners to draw from the grid during periods of excess demand and to sell power to the grid when there is excess production.
A Hybrid system allows those on time of day metering to peak utilize their own power during high demands an thus save peak charges. Can be integrated with a standby generator.
While Hybrid grid-tied systems offer more flexibility, they are not without disadvantages. Charging and discharging batteries reduces the overall efficiency of the system and these systems are more complex to design and install and therefore more expensive.
- Can be used during a power grid outage.
- Can control your peak usage.
- Will allow excess energy to be sent into the power grid.
- Higher initial cost
- Requires a battery bank
- Requires maintenance.
- Medium carbon emission option
- Monthly power bill from the POCOS.
Off Grid Solar Power Systems
An off-grid residential system is completely disconnected from the electric power grid and is an island upon itself. Without a connection to the power grid, batteries are essential to balance periods of excess production and excess demand, backup generators are common in this system to offset the demand on the batteries during the times of low sunlight conditions.
Living with an off-grid solar system, allows greater flexibility in adjusting your schedule as peak hours can be tailored to the peak daily sun.
Often the heat from the generator is salvaged allowing as much energy conservation as possible for heating a building or domestic hot water.
- Requires less solar panels than the other options
- No monthly charges, or time of day usage
- Greenest of all the options
- No monthly POCOS billing
- Require a larger battery bank
- Has more expendable components.
- Requires monthly maintenance.
- Additional personal labour required.
What is right for you?
Each type of system there are subtle variations in design that effect efficiency and convenience. To determine which system is best for you, review your requirements with a qualified professional. A professional Solarwyse Guy can guide you through the detailed choices of specific systems that best match your needs, suited for your home, location, and budget.