Decide Batttery Grid Sytem

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There are two major types of solar electric systems. They are:

  • Stand alone system, also known as a battery or off-the-grid.
  • Utility-tied, better known as either grid-connected or grid-tied.

Assuming you have a sunny location with the proper orientation, there is a decision to be made: Tie into the grid or go with a stand alone system? The differences revolve around the storage systems, the accessibility of the grid, and the time and money involved.

For some this is an easy decision; for others, it is more difficult. And for those who live in rural areas, there is often no choice but the stand-alone system.

Consider these pros and cons of each system before making your decision.

An "off the grid" or "stand alone" system:

  • Must supply 100% of your electricity needs–thus must be larger.
  • Is more expensive to install and maintain than a grid-connected system.
  • Requires management and maintenance of the battery bank.
  • Uses batteries which have a limited life and must be replaced at intervals of time.
  • Is still operational when a grid is experiencing an outage.
  • May require a fossil-fuel generator if the system is down for any length of time.
  • Is more practical when a home is more than several hundred yards from an existing power line.

An "on the grid" or "grid-connected" system:

  • Can supply any percentage of your home’s electricity needs.
  • Is less expensive to install than a stand-alone system.
  • Requires little-to-no maintenance or replacement of parts.
  • Is only operational during sunlight hours even when the utility grid is experiencing an outage.
  • May require a fossil-fuel generator or battery storage if the grid is down for any length of time.
  • Is more practical when net metering is available.
  • Is more practical when the home is close to utility lines.

Remember:

1. Any PV system can be installed as a single power unit, or as a hybrid system in conjunction with other sources of electricity such as wind or water power.

2. Either can also have backup power such as a fossil fuel generator.

3. A grid-tied system can be installed over a period of years as budgets allow. It may not as cost effective, or even possible to do that with a stand-alone system.

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Note: The opinions expressedherein are exclusively those of the writers or other participants and do not necessarily reflect theposition of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of ahealth, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.

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