Off-grid solar energy and On-grid solar energy has always been a topic for discussion and it is important to understand the actual difference between them. You must have detailed knowledge about both of them before choosing any of them as your energy solution.
There are several kinds of energy present on earth that are required for the survival of people. But among all of them, solar energy is the most efficient and environmentally-friendly form of energy. It not only reduces carbon footprints but also reduces the utility bills that result in saving more.
Before choosing any form of energy solution you must have deep knowledge about it and should have done proper research on it.
There are many factors on which your choices may depend on such as total energy consumption, budget, location etc. You can take the help of an experienced solar company who can guide you through this and help you out in choosing the best one for you.
What do you mean by Off-Grid and On-Grid Solar Energy?
Basically, an off-grid solar power system is a system that is not directly connected to the power grid which means there will be a 100% self-sustaining power solution. This kind of system only requires battery storage so as to store the excess or unused power and supply it when your system requires it. The battery may charge you a bit extra but it will save you for the time of power cut.
Whereas, an off-grid solar power system is a system that is directly connected to the grid itself. This kind of system is often used for residential homes. In this case, the utility grid works as a battery system since you can get power directly from the grid and export it directly to the grid in over-produced power situations.
Your electricity consumption, excess power generation and other factors may vary depending on the type of power system you choose for your household.
Difference: Off-grid Vs On-grid Solar Energy
1. Electricity Access
Electricity Access with Off-Grid Solar System
An off-grid solar system makes you completely independent of the power grid which means you only have to rely upon solar energy and battery storage for electricity. This system can be used for both households or businesses.
If you choose a solar system that is not connected with the grid and does not have any other source to generate power, then you will have two options, the first one is your solar panels will generate electricity when there is sunlight and secondly electricity will be stored in a solar battery for future use when there is no sunlight.
If you have not installed a battery along with the off-grid system then there will be no electricity available for you at nighttime or on cloudy days. So it is very important to have a battery attached to your off-grid system.
Electricity Access with On-Grid Solar System
If you go for an on-grid solar system, You will get electricity from the solar panels or the power grid. You will get electricity even when there is no battery attached to your system or no energy generated from panels until the grid shuts down due to some fault.
If your system does not generate sufficient electricity to power your house, then in such a case you can draw electricity from the grid as well to meet the electricity requirements.
2. Usage of Excess Production
Excess Production with Off-Grid Solar System
Any system generating excess energy depends on many factors like total usage and total generation of the system. The amount of energy a system produces may vary depending on the size of the system.
Off-grid solar systems are designed in such a way that it generates the excess energy during the daytime and stores it in the battery storage system. This stored energy can be used for different purposes at nighttime or when the system is generating less electricity.
It may happen that the weather conditions are not good for some days making it difficult for the system to produce electricity. So in such cases, the extra batteries may help you to meet the electricity requirements.
The solar batteries come in a variety of ranges and it may cost you a bit extra to add. But buying good quality batteries from a recognized solar company will solve all your electricity storage solutions and make your system more efficient.
Excess Power Generation with On-Grid Solar System
People often choose On-grid power systems so as to overcome the problem of power outages when there is no electricity generation through the panels. An on-grid solar system can also produce excess electrical power depending on the usage of power during the day.
The excess electricity is to be generated, it will be sent to the grid. Also, there are some special schemes in some of the countries like for example in Australia, the DEBS scheme is there in which people get paid for the excess energy that is transferred to the grid.
3. What If The Grid Goes Down
Power Outages with Off-Grid Systems
In an off-grid solar power system, it is independent of the utility grid so during power outages or in very bad weather conditions, you will get the electricity from the battery storage system. This means you will utilise the excess electricity that was stored in the battery. Then again when the weather gets clear, you can generate your electricity from your system and store it for further usage.
Power Outages with Grid-Connected Systems
The best thing about Grid-connected systems is that you get access to electricity whenever you need it. But if in any case, the grid goes down, then you’ll have to generate electricity from the solar panels. If somehow your solar panels are not able to generate power, then eventually you will not have electric power. So the solution to this is to have a grid-connected system along with batteries so that you can have access to electricity even in case of power outages.
4. Electricity Bills
Electricity Bills while having an Off-Grid System
Since you are independent of the power grid, you don’t have to worry about paying more on electricity bills. It may be possible that setting up your system in the starting cost you a bit but it will ensure you the best return on investment and a long-running system.
Electricity bills while having a Grid-connected System
You may get a reduction in electricity bills while having an On-grid solar system but you will have to pay for certain services and other system-related expenses. The prices of electricity may vary depending on the time of usage. Many countries have high electricity costs during peak times and low electricity costs during other times of the day.
But the good news about installing this system is that you can get paid for exporting the excess electricity to the grid which you did not use. Many states have these kinds of payment schemes for their citizens so that they can earn more money at peak times and encourage them to use clean energy as well. This will also reduce your electricity costs as per your usage.
Hybrid Solar Energy Systems: About
Hybrid solar energy systems are the systems that have qualities of both on-grid and off-grid solar systems. It is connected to the grid as well as it has battery storage also to store the excess power generated by the system. It may cost you higher since it includes batteries and a grid connection. The main reason for installing such systems is to reduce the high energy consumption during the daytime and make the system more efficient.
After discussing the differences between the two, it is very clear that you can choose the system depending on your usage and preference. The best thing is both the solar systems are supported by solar energy so they are good for the environment in any way. Also, you will be the owner of your power generation, so you can use your generated electricity according to your needs and save more. If you live in Perth, it is always best for you to consult the best installers so that they can help you to decide what to choose and what will be suitable enough according to your needs.