The Difference Between Grid-Tied and Off-Grid Solar Systems

10 Sep 2020 Licensed Electrician

If you are looking at setting up a solar energy system for your home, farm, cabin, or other property type, it is useful to know the difference between grid-tied and off-grid solar systems to ensure you are looking into the right setup for your needs. Although there are similarities in the equipment used for either type of system, there are some major differences that are important to take note of. At BNR Electric, we have experience with installing both on-grid and off-grid solar systems, and we are always excited to talk to our clients about how to get them the ideal solar energy outfit.

The Difference Between On-Grid and Off-Grid Solar Power

There are various ways to set up off-grid and on-grid solar systems, and the best system to go with depends on your location and what kind of gridded options are available to you. The main types of solar energy systems are:

Grid-Tied Solar Energy Systems

Grid-tied or on-grid solar energy systems are systems that are patched into a local utility company’s power grid. They are incredibly common for homes within or close to city limits. The most common setup for an on-grid solar system is to have the solar panels hooked up to an inverter, which then puts the power through to either the home or the power grid, depending on whether or not the home is in need of electricity at that time. The benefit of these systems is that a home is able to build a credit with its utility company based on how much electricity it puts through to the grid, saving (and even earning) money year after year.

The other type of grid-tied solar energy system is a hybrid system, which has a battery bank that can store energy for use later, and it does not push power through to the utility grid until the batteries are full. These systems are ideal for homes that are on the grid but have a historically unreliable electrical supply.

Off-Grid Solar Energy Systems

Off-grid solar energy systems are similar to hybrid solar systems, but without the option to push energy through to a utility grid. Solar panels feed energy to a battery bank through a charge controller, and, from there, it goes through the inverter to the home as needed. Off-grid solar energy systems are completely self-sufficient, but they can run out of energy so they are often paired with a generator for homes or cabins that require increased energy input.

If you would like to learn more about the difference between grid-tied and off-grid solar energy systems, or if you want to find out about any of our solar energy services, please contact us at 604-819-7887.