what are the 3 types of solar systemsWhat are the 3 types of home solar systems:

If you are interested in solar power for your home, you have 3 types of home solar systems to choose from:  off-grid, hybrid, and grid-tied (on-grid) solar systems. The question is which types of system will best serve your needs. All three solar systems are different, in that each system has a unique design that dictates which solar components are needed. In addition, the installation process becomes more complex when adding additional components. There is additional cost associated, as well as additional savings from one solar system to another. In the end, what makes one system better than the other will greatly depend your needs, your location, and your financing options. Let us take a closer look at off-grid, hybrid, and grid-tied solar systems.


Grid-tied solar systems

A grid-tied solar system is connected to a utility power grid with no battery backup. This type of system back feeds energy through your power meter back to your utility company. In return, your utility company stores your power and sells it back to you as you need it. A grid-tie inverter (GTI) or microinverters, and a power meter is required to flow energy back to the utility company.

Grid-tied solar systems

A grid-tied solar system will allow you to save money with solar panels through net metering. The equipment and installation costs are usually lower, and can provide better efficiency rates.


If your solar panels array is large enough the possibility exist that you can generate more energy than what you are currently consuming. Net metering allows the homeowners to put this excess energy back onto the main power grid rather than storing it with batteries.


Many utility companies are willing to buy the excessive energy produced from your solar panels at the same price per kw they charge you. Therefore, it is possible a homeowner can completely offset their electricity cost up to 100%.

The electric power grid is not only a network of power lines that transports electricity from generating stations to consumers. It can also be looked at as giant battery bank that stores solar energy and releases back to you as needed.


The grid is a network of power plants, transmission lines and substations that transmit electricity from the power plant to consumers. The grid has been traditionally seen as a one-way system, but now it is also seen as a two-way system that can distribute energy both into and out of the system.


Only Grid-tied solar systems do not require a battery to function. Fewer components mean you can save on installation, and material cost as well.

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Off-grid solar systems

A solar system that is completely self-reliant, one that does not require back up assistance from your local utility company. With the advancement of solar technology in recent years, these systems have become extremely reliable, efficient, and require less maintenance than in years past. Lithium Battery banks, and charge controllers with built in inverters are the difference when it come to a completely self-reliant solar system.


Off-grid solar systems

For homeowners who are interested in being completely self-reliant, an off-grid solar system is what you are looking for. This type of solar system requires batteries or battery banks, as well as a solar charge controller, and inverter.


The technology today has advanced to a point that charge controllers and inverters can be purchased as all-in-one units. Due to the advancements in technology, installation processes are also facilitated because the components are now plug and play.

In addition, today’s battery technology found in lithium-Ion batteries last up to 3 times longer are more powerful. As far as maintenance is concerned, these lithium-Ion batteries are maintenance free, and can last 20 plus years with minimal fall off.


The benefits of off-grid solar systems will greatly depend on your situation and your goals. If you are in a remote location where a utility power source or power company in nonexistent, then an off-grid solar system will provide the power to meet your needs.


If you goal is to become energy independent and you want the security of knowing you have total control when it comes to your electrical power, then an off-grid solar system is right for you.


Off-grid solar systems are immune form power failures, or grid down rolling blackouts. Regardless of the cause of power loss, an off-grid system will not be affected.


Additionally, having a capable generator on standby that can run your off-grid system is a good backup plan. This will ensure you have the necessary power if and when you need it for any unforeseen reason.


Once your off-grid solar system is paid for you no longer have to concern yourself with a monthly utility bill. You now own a system that can harvest clean renewable energy from the sun to power your every needs.

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Hybrid solar systems


Hybrid solar systems are tied to the grid, and have their own battery backup. These systems can either be described as off-grid solar systems with utility backup power, or grid-tied solar systems with additional battery storage. Battery-based grid-tie inverter, and a power meter allow energy to be stored in your batteries, and shared with the utility company.

Hybrid solar systems

Hybrid solar system is a combination of grid-tied and off-grid solar systems. This system is connected to the grid as in grid-tied, and has its own battery storage similar to an off-grid system. A Hybrid solar system can also be described as off-grid solar with utility backup power, or grid-tied solar with additional battery storage.


Hybrid solar systems can be less expensive than off-grid solar systems. In addition, you do have the option to tie in a backup generator as well. Some would argue you don’t really need a backup generator with these systems however, if you can afford a generator for increased redundancy why not? Furthermore, the capacity of your battery bank can be downsized or upsized depending your current and future needs.

Since the introduction of hybrid solar systems, other doors have been opened to many interesting innovations. New inverters let homeowners take advantage of changes in the utility electricity rates throughout the day.


The ability for solar panels to output the highest rate of electrical power is at noon, right before the need for electricity peaks in the afternoon. Knowing this, you could manage your solar consumption around off-peak hours from your solar panels. This strategy would allow you to store whatever excess electricity you gained from your solar panels into your batteries, and sell it back to the utility power company when it is in your best interest to do so.


The equipment needed for a hybrid solar system is more similar to that of an off-grid system with one noticeable difference, the addition of a power meter. It will be interesting to watch the impact these different systems will have as we transition into the future with solar power.

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