Grid-Tied Solar Systems vs. Off-Grid
When going solar, many people look to go “off the grid,” which often means that they want to ditch their utility company. People choose solar energy to be more independent, generate their power, and stop shelling out money to their utility each month.
Did you know you can accomplish all these things without going off the grid? It is known as grid-tied solar, and it is the preferred type of solar if you have access to power lines.
Let’s explore the difference between grid-tied and off-grid solar systems.
Grid-tied Vs. Off-Grid
The main difference between grid-tied and off-grid solar systems is where you store the energy that your system generates.
Every solar system needs a place to store energy so it can be used on-demand. Your panels only generate energy when the sun is shining, but you still need to power your home in the evening and at night.
With a grid-tied system, the energy that you generate is sent to the utility grid. Your panels feed the electricity into the grid and is distributed to other people in your area. In return, you receive a credit for the energy that you have generated, which you can use at any time. This is what allows you to keep the power on cloudy days or at night.
Off-grid systems are different since they do not have access to the utility grid. You must find another way to store excess energy. In this case, you will need to add a battery bank to your solar system that provides dedicated energy storage. Without access to power lines, batteries are crucial for off-grid systems.
While you can go off-grid, it doesn’t cost anything extra to store your excess electricity on the grid, but batteries for energy storage can be quite expensive. Batteries can be the most expensive part of a solar system and can make up 30-40% of the cost of an off-grid system.
Batteries can be a four to five-thousand-dollar investment. For that reason, we recommend connecting to a grid-tied system if you have the option to. Why spend thousands on batteries if you don’t need to?
Keep in mind, the cost-effectiveness of grid-tied solar systems relies on being near the power grid and extending transmission lines can be quite expensive. If your home is more than 100 yards from the power grid or remote, an off-grid option may be worth exploring.
Another consideration of grid-tied systems is that they will not provide power during an outage even if the sun is shining.
Energy Storage Systems
If you are connected to the grid but still need to store energy, you can install a grid-tied system with a battery backup, or energy storage system.
These energy storage systems connect to and store energy in the grid, but they also include batteries. This is important if:
- You want to store backup power in case of an outage.
- You want to store energy to use or sell later
Be aware, the same caveats apply here. Batteries aren’t cheap and adding them to your solar system can lengthen your payback period. But in some places, backup batteries are necessary to add security against harsh weather, outages, and overly inflated energy costs.
Florida Solar Power Solutions
Whether you choose grid-tied, off-grid, or a hybrid of the two, all solar systems will give you significant solar benefits. Our pros at Solar Bear will use your energy goals and budget to design a solar power system that is just right for your Florida home.
Ready to get started? Harness the energy from the sun. Go solar with Solar Bear—407-904-7585!