Off Grid

An off-grid system is completely disconnected from the traditional electric power grid. Without a connection to the utility grid, batteries are essential to balance periods of excess production and excess demand. Solar electric system production depends on the available sunlight. When sunlight is abundant, production can exceed demand. When production exceeds demand, the excess power can charge the batteries, which store the electricity. When the system is producing less electricity than demanded by the home, the batteries can make up the shortfall. To protect against shortfalls of power when the solar system is under-producing, usually additional batteries are given. An electric generator can also be added to the system. The generator is used as a power source during periods of prolonged excess production or unusual demand.

On Grid

Grid Tie (also known as grid-interactive or grid intertie) systems are intended to operate in parallel with an electric utility. At night or during inclement weather all the electricity is supplied by the utilities. During the daylight hours, the systems generate some power, off-setting the consumption of electricity from the utility and cutting electric bills. The balance of the power required by your load is automatically drawn from the utility lines. If the PV panels are producing more electricity than you are using the system will feed the surplus of power back to the utility. It may spin your electric meters backward, further reducing monthly bill. Such configuration is the most common, simplest and less expensive than other types of PV systems. The main disadvantage of such systems is they do not provide any backup power when utility fails even when the sun is shining and PV array is producing electricity.

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