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Off-Grid vs. On-Grid Solar: Which is Better?

May 19th, 2021 | By Roger Kuznia

Home solar panels on roof

If you’re considering investing in solar energy, off-grid vs. on-grid solar panel systems are likely something that will come up in your research. A common misconception about solar energy is that it’s a method of effectively going “off the grid”. While there are certainly ways you can use solar energy to go off the grid, in most cases, solar energy doesn’t eliminate your reliance on the power grid. Instead, it potentially reduces it and allows you to replace a percentage of your electricity usage with renewable energy.

Understanding what off-grid vs. on-grid solar panels mean is an integral part of understanding how solar energy works. So if you’re wondering how the grid actually affects your solar system, you can check out the definition of off-grid vs. on-grid solar panels.

What is on-grid and off-grid solar power?

On-grid solar panel systems, also known as grid-tie systems, are connected to the power grid that supplies electricity for your home. They interact with the grid, allowing grid electricity to cover any gaps in the solar energy supply, and allowing excess energy back into the grid.

Off-grid solar panels run completely independently from the grid. They act as an independent power source without any connection to your community’s grid.

On-grid solar

When your solar system is connected to the grid, you will always have access to power, short of a power grid failure. Your grid-tie solar system will reduce your reliance on the grid, but in the event that your solar energy is insufficient to cover your home’s electricity needs, the grid will cover the deficit.

Beyond potentially reducing your electricity bill, in some cases, you can sell back excess electricity to your power grid through net metering. That additional energy is converted to future credits on your electric bill so that you can enjoy those savings when your solar panels aren’t producing at the levels needed to power your home.

Off-grid solar

When solar panels are off the grid, it means that they are not connected to the power grid at all. That means that your electricity supply is completely reliant on solar energy. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but there can be a number of inconveniences associated with absolute independence from the grid. On the other hand, in the case of off-grid solar panels, you won’t have an electric bill and you will know that your home runs completely off of green energy.

If you have an off-grid solar panel system, in order to have reliable power access, you will need a backup battery system and possibly a generator. However, even with these additional measures, there’s a more likely chance that you will have times when your power supply is unavailable.

The difference between on-grid and off-grid solar

The main difference is that an off-grid solar system is independent of any other power source, while grid tie systems can use power from the grid to cover any deficiency.

Which is a better option?

In general, off-grid solar systems are thought of as the more desirable option, but they come with some inconveniences. For example, your home will have quite a bit of reliance on backup batteries and generators because you won’t have access to the grid. When your solar panels aren’t actively producing electricity (such as at night), without backup batteries or generators, you may find yourself without electricity. In addition, on days when your solar panels are unable to produce at peak levels (such as cloudy days), you might find that you don’t have sufficient energy to power your home overnight.

Hybrid solar system

A hybrid solar system is considered to be the most reliable source of solar energy. In this system, on-grid solar panels provide the bulk of the electricity needed while connected to the grid. This way, in the event that solar energy is insufficient to cover a home’s electricity needs, the grid can pick up the slack.

The added bonus in this case is the backup battery system. A hybrid solar panel system involves the installation of a backup system that will store extra solar energy to be used in the event of a power outage. That means your home will have three sources of energy at its disposal while still reducing its carbon footprint.

How Pink Energy installs reliable, on-grid solar systems

At Pink Energy, our high-quality, American-made solar panels are designed to provide reliable renewable energy to our customers. As we reduce your reliance on the grid, you can enjoy the perks of solar from a potentially lower electric bill to adding protection for outages in the event of a grid failure. If you’re ready to join the solar movement, contact us today and one of our solar representatives will help you determine whether your home qualifies for solar panels.

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