When it comes to the electrical connection of solar systems, there are two different types. These two solar systems are typically referred to as on-grid solar and off-grid solar. On-grid solar energy systems are connected to the utility grid, whereas off-grid solar systems are not connected to the utility grid.
On-grid solar systems are also referred to as grid-connected systems or grid-tied systems. On-grid solar systems typically produce less electricity than the total of your home’s energy needs. Therefore, the remaining energy deficit is supplied by the power grid.
Off-grid solar systems are also known as stand-alone solar systems and are designed to meet all of your energy needs solely from the power of the sun without any additional support from the power grid. Off-grid solar systems are made possible when the solar power system becomes paired with an on-site energy storage system, such as a solar battery.
There are many different benefits and uses to off-grid power systems. Let’s take a look at what those are, so you can help determine if an off-grid power system is appropriate for your home.
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Benefits of Off-Grid Solar
Off-grid power systems provide unique benefits as opposed to on-grid power systems. The first benefit to an off-grid power system is energy independence and self-sufficiency. This means that power outages won’t knock out your home’s electricity and can provide homeowners with a sense of relief when they see the storm clouds brewing.
Other benefits of off-grid power systems include lower electricity costs over the long haul, easy installation, and little maintenance throughout the power systems lifespan. Lastly, off-grid power systems produce 100% renewable energy, which helps reduce our carbon footprint and help keep the environment clean.
Residential & Commercial Systems
Off-grid solar power systems can be used for residential homes to provide your household energy independence from the grid while at the same time lowering your monthly electrical expenses. Off-grid solar power systems are designed to meet the power needs of mid-sized to large-sized homes.
However, using off-grid energy solutions also mean that you need to gauge the daily power needs of your home so you will have the necessary electricity your home needs on a daily basis and will require the addition of an on-site energy storage system.
Off-grid solar power systems can be used for commercial facilities as well. Off-grid solar power systems for commercial use embody the spirit of industry with the body of sustainability. Commercial off-grid solar power systems are especially common for facilities located in rural areas where the local energy grid may be questionable or non-existent.
In addition, off-grid systems are often seen in industrial or governmental facilities that require an enhanced security protocol. This includes solar farms for renewable energy, reduced energy costs for cryptocurrency mining facilities, and a secure source of consistent power for data farms and high-security computer networks.
DC Off-Grid Solar
Off-grid solar power systems that use direct current (DC) energy are the most common energy form for solar systems. These solar power systems make up the vast majority of all solar products. DC solar-powered systems are accompanied by inverters to successfully convert the DC energy into higher powered, alternating current (AC) energy.
The quality of the inverter plays a significant role in the efficiency of DC-powered solar systems. The better the quality of the inverter, the more electricity you are likely to yield and the more effective your off-grid solar system will run.
AC Off-Grid Solar
Off-grid solar panel systems typically produce DC energy. The DC energy is then converted into AC energy through an inverter. However, AC solar panel systems do exist.
AC solar panel systems contain special microinverters integrated into the solar panels themself. AC solar panels, therefore, do not require an inverter to be installed during the installation.
In addition, although the alternating current is generally considered more powerful than direct current, DC is usually considered more efficient in the case of solar. This is because DC solar panels only need to convert the energy once through an inverter. In contrast, the microinverters within AC solar panels must convert the energy three separate times before producing electricity.