On Grid Solar or Off grid Solar?

Should I install an on grid solar (connected to the grid) or to install an unconnected off-grid solar system? This is the question that is asked by many who live in neighborhoods where the utility can connect their residence to the grid.
Bellow I will analyze the two alternatives

The Two Alternatives

  • On grid solar system, the system is connected to the utility grid and the homeowner is a customer of the utility company

  • off-grid solar power system, the system is not connected to the grid, the family generate its own electricity

I assume you've already decided to go solar or that the decision point is just around the corner. Now you ask yourself whether you want your system to be connected to the utility grid (grid-tied) or to be an "autonomous" system (not connected, off grid).

Choose grid connected system if power-lines are nearby

My answer is simple; if you live in a developed country with reliable electricity supply in a region where the utility distribution infrastructure exists and your neighbors are connected, go on the on grid solar (grid connected) system.

Even though we all have the allure to be "independent and self contained" the right choice is still to be connected (as an analogy, we drive on paved roads and freeways and not through the fields). There are the following advantages to being connected:

  1. The utility can practically provide an unlimited backup supply during the dark hours, a much more convenient backup compared to the electricity storage deep cycle batteries
  2. The utility will check and approve the installation and locate any safety hazard
  3. The utility will buy back any surplus electricity your residential solar power system generates (e.g. when everyone is not home) paying the feed in tariff
  4. In many countries and states energy tax credits for on grid systems are more generous, in some states (e.g. California) only on-grid systems installed by a a certified installer can get the State tax credit.
  5. It is easier to get refinancing funds and subsidized solar loans for grid connected homes

for more information about on grid connected systems click here

Off Grid Solar Power Systems

Off grid solar systems are the unavoidable choice for rural and other homes and ranches that are located remote from the grid. The utility will charge anywhere between $15,000 to $50,000 per mile to run a power line to a remote place, be it a family home or a ranch

There are good reasons to go and live in remote areas; clean air, a larger size lot at affordable price, rural life, live in the forest, live in the desert, etc.

While living off-gris, you still want and need electricity, you will naturally go on a off grid solar power system and per Paul's Gipe recommendation you'll combine a home wind generator to it

for more on offgrid solar power systems click here

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