Roof mount vs. ground mount, monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline panels, grid-tied vs. off-grid solar systems… there are many tough decisions to make before getting a solar power system installed for your business or home. And since solar panel solutions by reliable companies last many years, you’d want to make the right choices to ensure the investment is worthwhile.
EPA-certified, licensed professionals at ALL Solar Energy Solutions, LLC, a locally owned and operated solar panel company serving the Portland, ME area, will help you make informed decisions while guiding you every step of the way to help you get the perfect system that suits your needs. However, doing a little homework on the front end will help you understand whether an on-grid, also known as grid-freed or grid-tie solar system or a stand-alone power system (SAPS), also known as an off-grid system, would be better for you.
Although all solar power systems function on PV (photovoltaic) effect, the way energy generated by the solar devices is used depends on the user. Read on these major differences between on-grid and off-grid solar power systems to understand which one suits best for your energy usage, lifestyle, and financial goals.
Difference #1- Electricity Accessibility
Off-grid solar system installation means you’ll be completely relying on the sun or the energy stored in the batteries to power your property. You’ll get electricity when the solar system produces energy during the sun shining hours, or you’d need to pull electricity previously generated by the system, stored on devices like batteries. If you don’t have a means for energy storage, this means you’ll not have access to electricity during cloudy days or nights.
You’ll have seamless access to electricity if you decide to install an on-grid solar system, even if your system isn’t producing energy, regardless of whether you’ve got extra batteries for storage unless the grid goes down. This is because you can power the lights and devices by pulling energy from the utility grid to supplement the shortfall to ensure you always have enough electricity.
Difference #2- Excess Production
These systems are designed to produce ample electricity during the daytime to be sent to batteries for storage. The extra energy stored can easily be accessed at night, during cloudy weather, or in any instance where the system isn’t producing energy.
Contrary to popular belief, nearly 100% coverage of energy usage can also be achieved through on-grid systems. When your solar system produces extra energy, on-grid systems send the excess to the grid instead of the storage battery system. The user is then compensated for that energy through net metering, where the utility company is liable to credit or compensate your account for electricity generated by your solar panel system when it’s sent to the grid station. If the user needs to draw off the energy, they can draw on the credits to ensure the charges don’t rack up on the bill.
Difference #3- Power Outages
Since the system is inherently not connected to the power grid, the solar system continues to operate seamlessly, even during inclement weather or other events that can potentially knock out the power.
There are certain rules that the users need to adhere to, such as you’ll not have power when the grid goes down if you’ve got a grid-tied system unless you have an additional solar battery backup. This is mainly to streamline the safety of the utility workers that might be fixing the power lines.
While there are distinct differences in both solar system types, which one will prove more beneficial for your home or business depends on various factors. A hybrid solar energy system is another excellent option for homeowners confused between off-grid and on-grid systems. Hybrid systems are tied to the grid but also have a battery bank to store excess unused electricity. Although these systems are a little more expensive, given the added cost of batteries, they allow homeowners to keep the lights on even when the grid goes down. It’s also highly recommended for businesses looking to reduce demand charges to streamline cost-efficiency. If you need help choosing the best option for your property, you can reach out to solar panel contractors at All Solar Energy Solutions, LLC.
Whether you need solar panel installation, generator services, heat pump repair or installation, mini-split installation, storage battery installation, or other solar panel services, you can rely on the experts at our solar panel company.
Give us a call at 207-536-5935 or email us to schedule an inspection or learn more about our wide range of cost-effective solar solutions offered to residents and entrepreneurs in Brunswick, and Portland, Maine.