There are two types of solar systems, off-grid solar systems and on-grid/grid-tie solar systems. Although when deciding on going the solar route to reduce your electricity bill, to better the environment or to be completely independent from your utility provider. It can be difficult to choose between the two. So here we have some of the major differences below to guide you in the decision making process.
On-grid solar systems are those solar power systems that produce energy only when the utility power grid is there. In order to work, these systems need a connection to the grid. In case you overproduce power, the on-grid solar systems send the additional power back to the grid, which helps you save it for later use. On-grid systems are also dubbed grid-tie or integrated systems.
off-grid solar power systems are those that help you store the solar energy in batteries in case the power grid fails or the grid is not available. To balance the grid power during sunlight, power is provided by hybrid systems. These systems also send excessive power to the grid so you could use it later.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Generate Income from your solar plant – The government provides loads of subsidies, tax benefits and incentives to those who install a solar plant/system.
- It provides you with a back up on a stand alone system.
- Reduce your electricity bill by up to 100%
- Feed excess solar power back into the grid, saving you even more on your electricity bill through net-metering.
- These are battery-less systems leaving you with no back up for unexpected power outages.
- Weather dependent and requires a lot of space.
- These systems are good for expandability.
- Off-Grid solar systems help you to make better use of electricity, which benefits the environment.
- Avoid unexpected power outages.
- Requires lots of maintenance and constant troubleshooting.
- No security in having the grid as a back-up.
- Expensive set up cots and replacement of batteries including the maintenance thereof.
If you fail to connect to the local mains electricity supply, the off-grid solar system is the only choice you have.
In all other cases, an on-grid solar system is suggested, which is great on grounds of both, reliability and cost-efficiency. These systems do not demand for batteries, which cost a lot and ask for replacement from time to time. Also, you need fewer panels in case of on-grid solar power systems due to no need for producing extra power when there is no sunlight. It helps cut cost as well as the payback time.
The choice lies with you.