Do you want to live off the grid or on the grid with Solar systems? What are the benefits?
A grid-tied solar system is a solar system that is connected to the utility power grid. A grid connection will help you save money with solar panels through better efficiency rates, net metering, lower equipment rates and installation costs.
Batteries are required for a fully functional off-grid solar system which adds costs and maintenance. Grid-tied solar systems are generally cheaper and simpler to install. Solar panels often generate more electricity than can be consumed, so, with net metering, homeowners can use the extra energy on the utility grid instead of storing it themselves with batteries. Net metering is important for selling solar power. Without it, residential solar systems would be much less cost effective.
Excess electricity can be sold to utility companies at the same rate as they sell it themselves. Using solar power systems bring up the efficiency of our electrical system as a whole by mitigating the utility company’s peak load and include access to backup power from the utility grid (for emergencies).
An off-grid solar system is an alternative to one that is grid-tied. Maintaining access to electricity at all times, off-grid solar systems require battery storage and a backup generator (if you live off-the-grid). The battery bank needs to be replaced after 10 years and batteries are complicated, expensive, and decrease overall system efficiency. Off-grid solar systems can be cheaper than extending power lines in remote areas. ie Consider off-gird if you’re more than 100 yards from the grid. The costs of overhead transmission lines range from $174,000 per mile (for rural construction) to $11,000,000 per mile (for urban construction).
Being self-sufficient is worth more than saving money to some. It’s a form of security in case of power failures as the solar system is not connected to the grid. That said, batteries can only store a certain amount of energy and when the sun is not out, the grid provides a backup security. Backup generators should be used for these types of situations.
Hybrid solar systems combine the best from grid-tied and off-grid solar systems. Hybrid systems are less expensive, you don’t really need a backup generator, and the energy capacity of the battery bank can be downsized. Off-peak electricity from utility companies is cheaper than diesel. You can temporarily store whatever excess electricity your solar panels in batteries and put it on the utility grid when you are paid the most for every kWh.
This concept will become increasingly prominent as the transition to the smart grids arises. Currently, for the majority of homeowners, connecting to the utility grid for electricity and energy storage is more practical than using battery banks and generators.