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On or Off Grid Solar
Battery Storage or Off Grid Solar Systems
In order for a solar system to be “Off the Grid” it needs to be completely independent of the power company and be able to produce the necessary power for all energy needs of the property. To accomplish this, the excess electricity that is generated by the solar panels beyond what you use is stored to supply energy during the times that the solar panels are not able to provide energy such as at night.
There are advantages of going off the grid such as when the power goes due to a storm or power line issue you will still have power and unlike your neighbors will not be left in the dark. Another advantage is that you own your own power. You are not subject to price increases imposed by the power company.
The disadvantages of having an off grid solar system are the extra initial expense to install the battery and additional equipment as well as the cost to replace the batteries which have an average life span of 10 years.
Additional equipment needed to go off grid includes a battery bank and a charge controller.
Off-Grid Solar Power System
- Solar panels
- Charge controller
- Battery bank
- Circuit Breaker
- Optional generator
Grid-Tied or Net Metering Solar Systems
Currently in Utah, net metering solar systems are more common mostly because they are the least expensive to get into. Net metering solar systems are “tied to the grid” or connected to the power company so that if your solar panels produce less than the needed power for the property then power can be used from the power company. If there is more power produced from the solar panels than is needed than the excess power is distributed to the power company. On a grid-tied system the property owner will have a net metering agreement with the power company which will allows the customer to receive credit for the excess power they distribute to the power company to be used when your power production is lower than needed. In Utah this works out well as properties will produce amble power in the summer time and will typically produce less in the winter. Net metering will allow the property owner to cover their power in the winter with the credits they built up in the summer months.
The advantages of net metering solar systems are the ability to go solar by installing less than 100% of your power needs and still be able to reduce your power bill by owning your own solar. By installing less than 100% the initial cost to install solar panels is less.
The disadvantages of net metering are that if the power goes out due to weather or power lines being down a property with net metering will also be out of power. Also, the owner is still subject to price increases imposed by the power company.
The good news is that a grid-tied solar system can be upgraded to include a battery backup down the road. Many battery companies are improving the quality of battery energy storage which will make going off the grid more economical and a better investment. Either way you go, off grid or grid-tied solar systems are a great investment and there is no better time than now to go solar and start owning your own power.
Grid-tied Solar Power System
- Solar panels
- Circuit Breaker
- Optional monitoring system
- Tie to utility company