Residential solar power comes in two flavors: off-grid and grid-tie. The difference between the two relates mainly to how electricity demands are met during hours when solar power is not being produced, such as at night or on very cloudy days.
If you’re off-grid, you’re on your own. Electrical demands must be met by drawing electricity stored in batteries from earlier power generation by photovoltaic panels, or electricity may be produced by sources such as backup generators.
In a grid-tie system, you remain connected to your electric power utility. At night or in times of insufficient solar energy, you draw electricity from the utility’s power grid. During daylight hours when your photovoltaic panels are producing electricity, excess power not consumed by your residence flows back into the grid. Your electric meter turns more slowly or even runs backwards, significantly reducing your utility bill and offsetting the expense of power drawn off the grid. This is known as net metering.
While it is theoretically possible to eliminate electrical utility costs with a grid-tie system, most homeowners utilize grid-tie to receive electricity from both sources. For example, a blend consisting of 60 percent solar and 40 percent utility. Because most power drawn from the grid is utilized at night, it’s often supplied at a lower, off-peak cost. Meanwhile, any excess electricity your system feeds back into the grid during daylight hours is credited to your account at higher daytime rates.
Grid-tie systems are the simplest of residential solar options. Because there’s no need for storing electricity in a grid-tie system, banks of batteries and the ancillary wiring and components are not required. All the troublesome regular maintenance associated with batteries is thus eliminated. Grid-tie has also rapidly become the most popular and widely utilized residential solar power alternative. Professional installers are well-versed in the technology and procedures and equipment for most homes are standardized.
Family-owned since 1951, Blanton’s Heating & A/C serves Fayetteville, NC, and surrounding areas. Contact us for the latest technology to reduce utility costs and increase living comfort.