There are 3 main types of residential electricity solar power systems
Grid inter-tied, Grid inter-tied with battery backup and Off-grid.
These types vary in how closely connected they are to the traditional power utility infrastructure, known as the grid. Each type has its benefits and strengths that determine how suited they are to your needs.
Solar Power Grid Inter-Tied Systems
Residential grid inter-tied solar power systems are directly connected to the home and to the traditional electric utility grid. Inter-tied grid of solar power systems allow the owners to get power from either the home electric system or the utility grid. Switching between the grid and the residential system is seamless.
The main advantage of this type of a system is the ability to balance the system production and home power requirements. For example, when a grid inter-tied system is producing more power than the home is consuming, the excess can be sold back to the utility in a practice is known as net metering and when the system is not producing sufficient power, the home can draw power from the utility grid.
Residential grid inter-tied systems are the lowest cost type of electric solar power systems, due to having fewer required components.
Solar Grid Inter-tied System with Battery Backup
Residential grid inter-tied solar power systems are also connected to the traditional utility power grid and adds battery-backup to the system. Addition of a battery backup protects against power outages, enables the system to balance production.
Solar power system production depends on the available sunlight. When sunlight is sufficient, production can exceed demand. When production is more than demand, the excess power can charge the batteries and store the electricity. If consumption is more than the system is producing, the batteries can make up the shortfall.
Grid inter-tied systems offer more flexibility, but they are also not without disadvantages. Cycle of charging and discharging batteries reduces the overall efficiency of the system, these systems are more complex to design and install and thus more expensive.
Off Grid Solar Power Systems
Residential off-grid system is completely disconnected from the traditional electric power grid. As without a connection to the utility grid, batteries are essential to balance periods of excess production and excess consumption.
For protection against shortfalls of power when the solar system is under production and the batteries are discharged, an electric generator is usually added to the system. The generator in system is used as a power source during periods of prolonged excess production or unusual demand.
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