The Difference Between Off Grid and On Grid Solar Power Systems
Off Grid Systems
The problem is that in many countries it is either not permitted or not practical to connect on grid solar power systems to the mains utility grid.
Off Grid Solar Systems do not need to be connected to mains power. As there is no ready source of reserve power, they rely on generators or storage batteries to provide electricity on days when the solar panels generate less electricity than is required, e.g. on cloudy/rainy days or at night time. The idea is that at times when the system provides more electricity than required the surplus can be used to recharge the batteries.
Off- Grid Systems normally require:
l Solar panels and a suitable solar mounting system,
l Off grid solar inverter(s),
l Solar power controller and batteries,
l Solar cables and MC4 connectors,
l AC and DC safety isolator switches, and
l Grounding earth cables and clamps.
What sort of solar system do I need?
In many cases this decision will be made for you. If you are unable or not permitted to connect the system to your local mains electricity supply, then your only choice is an off grid system.
If you are in the lucky position of choosing, we would advise that, in most cases, an on grid solar power system will be the most reliable and cost effective choice.
On grid systems do not require batteries, which can be expensive and require frequent replacement, and require fewer panels, as you don’t need to generate extra power for cloudy days. This cuts down the initial cost and reduces the payback time considerably. When coupled with payments from the utility company for surplus generation, these systems can often pay for themselves in seven years or less.
If you have the opportunity to install an on-grid system, you owe it to yourself to research your options. Get in touch with your local grid operator or your current electricity provider to find out if you could be saving money with solar.
If you have any questions related to designing and installing solar power systems, we would love to help. Feel free to leave your question or comment below.