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Off Grid vs On Grid Solar System

When you decide to turn to solar energy, there is a crucial decision you need to make regarding which kind of solar installation you should opt for between on-grid and off-grid solar setups. An on-grid also called a grid-connected and grid-tied solar system is one solar energy system that is still connected to the electricity grid whereas an off-grid solar system is completely cut off from the utility grid.

What is an on-grid solar power system?

  • An on-grid solar power system, also known as a grid-tied solar power system, is a type of solar energy system that is connected to the utility grid. This means that it can draw electricity from the grid when solar energy is insufficient and can export excess electricity back to the grid when it produces more energy than is needed.

 

  • The on-grid solar power system typically consists of solar panels, an inverter, and a grid connection. Solar panels are installed on the roof or ground and convert sunlight into DC electricity. The inverter then converts the DC electricity into AC electricity, which can be used to power appliances and electronics in the home or business. Any excess electricity produced by the system is sent back to the grid and credited to the owner’s account.

 

  • On-grid solar power systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their affordability, reliability, and environmental benefits. They can help to reduce electricity bills and carbon footprint by generating clean and renewable energy. However, on-grid solar power systems do not provide backup power during power outages as they are designed to be connected to the grid. In order to have backup power, a battery storage system can be added to the on-grid solar power system.

What is an Off-grid solar power system?

  • An off-grid solar power system, also known as a standalone solar power system in Australia, is a type of solar energy system that is not connected to the utility grid. It is designed to provide electricity to a home, cabin, or other location that is located in a remote or isolated area, or for those who want to be completely self-sufficient.

 

  • An off-grid solar power system typically consists of solar panels, a charge controller, batteries, an inverter, and sometimes a backup generator. The solar panels collect energy from the sun and convert it into DC electricity. The charge controller regulates the amount of energy that flows into the batteries and prevents overcharging. The batteries store the energy and provide power when the sun is not shining. The inverter then converts the DC electricity from the batteries into AC electricity, which can be used to power appliances and electronics in the home.

 

  • Since an off-grid solar power system is not connected to the utility grid, it requires a larger number of solar panels and batteries to provide sufficient energy for the home. Additionally, backup generators are sometimes used in case of prolonged periods of cloudy weather or when the battery bank is running low. While an off-grid solar power system can be more expensive to install than an on-grid system, it provides complete energy independence and can be a great option for those who want to live off the grid or in a remote location.

 

Difference between on-grid and off-grid solar system

Source of electricity

An off-grid system has no connection to the electricity grid. Therefore, this setup’s main energy source is the sun’s energy. Your household will have power when the solar panels are producing electricity. You will have power at night and on cloudy days only if you store electricity from your solar panels in a solar battery. With an off-grid solar system, your only power is the power your solar panels are generating and the power you have stored from them. If there is a need for extra energy, you do not have a grid connection to draw from. However, you can invest in a generator for such events.

If your solar panels are not generating or not generating enough to energize your home or business, you can draw electricity from the grid. This kind of solar system ensures that you always have your power needs fulfilled.

 

2) Power Failure

There is practically no effect of a power outage on the off-grid solar as it is independent of the electricity grid. In the event of bad weather conditions when the grid experiences a power failure, you can enjoy an uninterrupted power supply from your panels and batteries.

With an on-grid solar system, your solar panels are connected to the grid. When the grid experiences a power failure your solar panels also shut off for safety reasons. So, in the event of a blackout, this system will not provide any power. Therefore, if you want to have a power supply during a grid failure, you can consider adding batteries to your grid-connected solar.

 

3) Surplus Energy

The system size, energy usage, and usage timings all influence the amount of extra energy you will have from your solar in Australia. It depends on the solar equipment you install where this extra unused energy should go.
Off-grid solar systems are usually planned to generate some excess energy to store in batteries. This battery storage can be accessed for use during the night and inclement weather when the panels are not producing. The system size can be manipulated to generate ample extra power to fulfil your energy needs around the clock. Extra batteries or power generators can be also added to your solar in Australia to fulfil power requirements when the weather is bad for a few days in a row.
When there is extra energy production with on-grid solar in Australia that energy can be sent back to the electricity grid. The utility company compensates you for that electricity. That way you save more on your energy bills. This is an advantage of the on-grid solar system over the off-grid one.

 

4) Electricity Bills

With an off-grid solar system, you do not get any electricity bills. However, this setup is often more expensive due to additional equipment like batteries which have a high initial cost.
On the other hand, a grid-connected solar providing 100 percent of your energy needs will still have a few mandatory charges on your power bills like the service fee and peak hour charges in addition to charges for any usage from the grid over the net metering credits.

 

Conclusion

All kinds of solar systems, whether grid-connected or not, are beneficial for energy independence and savings. However, it depends on your energy goals and budget which system type will suit your household or business the best. I hope this discussion could help you comprehend the key features of on-grid and off-grid solar installations.


Contact Solar Power Nation for expert solar advice and some of the best solar panels and solar inverters in Australia!

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