Which Type Best Suits Your Needs?
Choosing between a grid-tie solar system and one with a battery backup can be a difficult decision. There are a few factors to consider, the two most important being cost along with having power during an outage. In this article we will look at these and other factors to help you determine which type of solar system is right for your home.
Grid-Tie Solar Panel Systems
Whether to purchase a grid tied solar system or a hybrid grid tied with battery backup system is a decision that depends on your budget and goals. Purely considering initial cost, grid-tied solar systems sound like the way to go. They can reduce or eliminate your monthly electric bill. Compared to a grid-tied solar system, grid-tied with battery backup systems are more expensive.
Grid tied solar systems will reduce or eliminate the amount of electricity you use from the grid. If your solar system produces more power than you use during the day, your meter will actually turn backwards and you would earn a credit from the utility company. This excess energy can then be sent to the utility grid for re-distribution. However, at night, all of your electrical needs will need to be met from the grid.
While the lower cost to purchase a grid tie solar system is a major advantage, the major disadvantage is that your solar panels will only provide power when the grid is functioning. If the grid goes down for any reason, your solar panels will not provide power to your home or to the grid. This comes as quite a surprise to most homeowners. It seems quite counterintuitive that a home with a nice array of solar panels would not have any power when the grid is down.
This is a MAJOR consideration.
If you live in an area with an unreliable electrical grid, and one of your goals is to have a constant source of electricity even when the grid is down, then a grid-tie solar system with battery backup is what you’ll need.
Solar Battery Storage Technology
Using a hybrid grid tied with battery backup solar system can provide many benefits. However, the upfront cost will be higher than a grid-tied system. This is because the hybrid system has a battery bank to store excess energy, as well as a specially designed inverter to interact and control the various components of the system.
The technology behind solar battery storage is getting better every year. The price continues to fall while the storage capacity and lifespan of the batteries increases.
In addition to being a great way to store energy, a solar battery can also help to reduce your need for a generator. When the grid is down, a very common response is to fire up the generator and run it until the grid is back up. As you probably know, this can be days in a sever winter storm, and in a few instances, the grid has been down for well over a week.
That’s a LOT of fuel for the generator!
Grid-tie solar systems with a backup battery back are ideal when the grid is down. The solar panel system will not only provide power to your home without a functioning electric grid, but will also charge the battery bank. On days when the solar panels are not able to charge the battery bank, a generator can help augment the need. Running a generator for 1 – 2 hours to fully charge the battery bank – and thus have power available for the entire 24 hours – is MUCH better than running the generator for the entire 24 hour period.
Power during an outage
It is important to remember that during a power outage, your grid-tie solar system will not be able to provide you with any power whatsoever. It will only give you power when the grid is functioning.
A solar system with battery backup is the solution for your power needs when the grid is down. This means you will have clean, uncontaminated energy available, even if the power grid is not working. Batteries are also safer than generators.
A hybrid solar system is a combination of the best features of both grid-tie and off-grid solar systems. It is often considered to be the best of both worlds. It is a combination of solar panels that send energy to the grid and batteries that store excess power for use at a later time, or when the grid is down.
Whether you want to go grid-tie or grid-tie with battery backup depends on a few factors, but mostly cost. An expensive added component of a PV solar system is the storage of electricity.
The cost of grid-tie solar systems is lower because there is less equipment. They are also not as labor-intensive to install. Additionally, their payback period is sooner.
There are many factors to consider, and we are ready to help you navigate the decision making process.