Grid-tied or grid connected solar is a solar electricity system without batteries. Your home is hooked up to both the national grid and your PowerSmart solar electricity system, so you will always have electricity available at the flick of a switch; even at night, or if it is cloudy. You can install a solar electricity system of any size and you will only ever be billed if your power consumption is in excess of the amount you are generating.
The electricity grid acts as a 100% efficient and maintenance free battery while also providing unlimited ‘on demand’ energy. This is what makes grid connected solar electricity so attractive. It has all the benefits of being attached to the electricity grid but with a portion of your electricity bill never increasing in price.
However we do offer grid-connect solar power systems with back-up for customers with special requirements.
Off-grid connected solar is a solar electricity system with battery backup. During the day the sun shines and charges the batteries as well as supplies power to your home. During the evening or on rainy days when the sun isn’t shining you use the power stored in the batteries. Your house is not connected to the national grid hence the name: off-grid.
Although there have been large price reductions in the cost of panels and inverters, batteries are generally quite expensive and require regular maintenance. Generally the idea of being off the grid is quite appealing but it does requires more investment.
Most of the time it is more cost efficient to connect to the grid and offset your electricity consumption with a grid-connect solar PV system than to go off-grid. However if you are building a new house or holiday home in a remote location off-grid solar can work out to be a lot cheaper than paying to be connected to the grid.
There is no absolute standard off-grid system and it should be designed to suit your specific electrical loads and use patterns. At PowerSmart we have designed systems that run whole pacific nations. We love off-grid systems and would love to help design yours.