Off-grid vs Grid-tied Solar Panel Systems|
Article - November 26, 2018 By LarsonElectronics.com
Off-grid vs Grid-tied Solar Panel Systems
There are several ways to benefit from solar energy. Setting up solar panels is one of the most direct ways to harvest natural sunlight and turn it into usable electricity. Read on to learn about how to choose between an off-grid solar PV system and a grid-tied solar unit.
Off-grid Solar Energy Assemblies
Off-grid PV systems are stand-alone assemblies that are not connected to the local grid. Individuals aiming to be completely independent and want to avoid monthly bills from the power company should consider this type of unit. However, such options are more costly than grid-tied models, due to additional parts and a large battery bank.
For people looking to setup solar panels in remote, inaccessible locations with lacking or non-existent electrical infrastructure, off-grid solar systems are recommended. Furthermore, if located in an area that receives consistent amounts of sunlight, going off-grid could be viable.
Grid-tied Solar Panel Systems
As the term suggests, grid-tied solar panel units are connected to the grid. This setup is ideal for individuals interested in offsetting their power usage, as excess power can be sold back to the utility. From a cost perspective, this option cost less to implement compared to off-grid variants. Batteries are not needed and solar panels can be scaled, based on power consumption.
A major drawback with grid-tied systems is lack of backup features. When the grid goes down due to power outage, the user is also left without power. Moreover, because connection to the grid is required, reliable electrical infrastructure is needed to support grid-tied systems.
Hybrid PV Systems?
For people who want the best of both worlds (off grid and grid tied), a hybrid PV system is recommended. Generally speaking, this type of unit is a grid-tied system with backup batteries that can be charged via solar panels or through the grid.