When you decide to install a solar power system for your property, you need to make many decisions. And since you’re buying systems that will last several years, you wish to make the ideal choices.
We will be able to guide you through these choices to get you the best system for your circumstance if you partner with a reputable solar installer. However, doing a little research on the front end can’t hurt either.
Here we will be sharing four differences between on-grid and off-grid solar power to assist you to decide which is finest for your solar task.
What Are Off-Grid and on-grid Solar energy?
An off-grid solar system is not connected to the energy grid, whereas an on-grid (grid-tied) solar power system is linked to the utility grid. Your option of an off-grid system or on-grid system will determine your access to electrical power, what devices are needed for excess production, what happens when the grid goes down, and how you’re billed for electricity.
Off-grid solar vs On-grid solar energy
Your Access to Electricity
- Electricity Access with Off-Grid Solar system
What is suggested by off-grid solar systems? With an off-grid solar system, you’re entirely dependent on the sun and energy saved in batteries to power your home or service.
If you go with a solar system that is not connected to the electrical grid and you do not have a battery backup, you will just have electrical energy in these two conditions:
- When there is sunlight, and your solar system is producing electrical power.
- When you’re pulling electricity earlier created by your solar system and is stored in your batteries.
If you do not have a battery backup or a method to keep your energy, you will have less or no electrical power when it’s cloudy, and you will not have electricity at night time.
With an off-grid system, you will not have access to additional electrical energy if you require it. The energy that you are producing and what you have actually stored is all that’s there to power your devices.
- Electricity Access with On-Grid Solar
If you choose to install an on-grid solar system, you will always have access to electricity (unless the grid goes down), whether your solar system is producing electricity or if you have batteries as a storage option.
If your system is not producing any electrical power or not producing enough electrical energy to power the gadgets, lights, devices, etc., that you’re utilizing, you can pull energy from the energy grid to complete your requirements. This ensures you always have sufficient electrical power for what you require.
Where does excess electricity go?
- Excess Energy Production with Off-Grid Solar
Depending upon the size of the system you install, how much electrical power you utilize, and when you use that electrical energy, there will likely be times when your system is producing more electrical power than you’re utilizing. What takes place to this excess energy depends upon the devices you install.
Many off-grid solar systems with battery storage store the “additional” electrical power produced in the daytime. The energy kept in those batteries can then be accessed when the system is not producing, like during the night or during cloudy weather conditions.
While having extra batteries provides an assurance and can offer a bank of saved electrical power just if this occurs, they’re likewise pricey. Getting more batteries than you require may be cost-prohibitive, depending on your spending plan.
- Excess Energy Production with On-Grid Solar
Much like off-grid solar systems, many who decide to set up an on-grid solar system wish to cover 100% or almost 100% of their energy use. This can be achieved with an on-grid solar system as well.
Depending on the time of day you utilize electrical power, your solar system can produce excess energy. Instead of sending the extra energy to batteries as you would generally do in an off-grid system, you can send it to the utility grid, and you will be compensated for that excess electricity generated.
In Australia, they’ll be compensated through something called net metering. Net metering is when the energy company compensates or credits your account for electrical power generated by your solar system and sent back to the grid. Whenever you need to take energy off the grid, you can draw on those credits to get your electricity without paying for charges on your electrical power expense.
What Happens during Power blackouts?
- Power Blackouts with Off-Grid Solar Systems
Your solar system is working independently and not connected to a power grid. If there’s a storm or bad weather conditions, or any other occasion that knocks out the power, your solar system can continue operating. You won’t observe modifications in your service or access to electricity.
- Power Blackouts with Grid-Tied Systems
By connecting your system to the grid, you get access to electrical energy whenever you require it. Nevertheless, you’re also based on some guidelines. If you have a grid-connected solar system and the grid goes down due to weather conditions, you will not have electricity unless you go with a grid-tied solar system with battery backup.
While this is a disadvantage of grid-tied solar systems over off-grid solar systems, if keeping things up-and-running throughout a power blackout is important to you, then you may be interested in including batteries in your grid-tied system.
How You’re Billed for Electricity
- Electrical Bills with an Off-Grid System
If your solar system is not connected to a grid, you will not receive an electrical expense at all. Even with no electrical expense, off-grid systems are typically more expensive since extra devices like batteries are needed to make them feasible.
- Electrical Bills with a Grid-Tied System
If you select a grid-tied system, you might still see a few very few charges on your electricity expense, even if your solar system provides 100% of your electricity.
One kind of charge you might continue to see is the service charge or delivery charge. This is the cost imposed on consumers for linking their house or organization to the grid.
If you do not have battery backup, you will still consume electricity from the grid at night time. So, you will be eventually charged for that.
If your peak energy usage is during the day, you might have the ability to reduce it with a solar system, as energy produced by your system will make up for some of the energy you use from the utility grid.