Grid-tied means that your system is connected to the grid (or your utility provider). Grid-tied systems are by far the most cost-effective solution since there is no need for energy storage.
Grid-tied systems are typically net-metered. A net meter is a device that measures the difference in energy between what your system produces and what you consume. When your solar system produces more than what you are using, your meter will spin backward.
Grid-Tied Systems Are:
- The most common type of solar electric system
- Constantly monitoring power usage with a net-meter
- Set up to send power out to the grid as well as take power from the grid
- Ideal for residential and commercial applications
Grid-Tied w/Battery Backup
Grid-tied battery backup systems are connected to the power grid (or your utility provider) but provide greater energy independence because you have back-up in the event utility power goes down. Grid-tied systems with battery backup are typically much more expensive because of the addition of a battery bank needed to hold excess power during times of no grid power or solar production.
An additional upside of being connected to the grid with a battery back-up is that if you lose grid power, you will still have power until your storage is used up.
Grid-Tied Systems with Battery Backups Are:
- Similar to having a generator attached to your solar array
- Able to sustain your household for a period of time without drawing energy from the grid
- Operational if the grid goes down
- More costly due to the added battery hardware
Off Grid System
Off-grid systems do not connect to the utility grid at all. These systems are completely stand alone and rely on battery storage and potentially back-up generators.
Off-grid systems are typically more expensive but in some cases can be cheaper than running grid power out to remote areas.
Off-Grid Systems Are:
- Ideal for those who do not have access to a utility provider
- Carefully configured to provide the power you need from batteries
- More expensive for the installation, may be less expensive than connecting to a grid
- Ideal for remote locations