Grid-Tied Solar vs. Off-Grid Solar: What are the pros and cons of both?

Grid-tied Solar Systems

A grid-tied solar system is connected to the electrical grid and requires the grid to be running for the solar system to produce energy.

 Pros of a Grid-Tied Solar System:

  • Grid-tied systems tend to be the less expensive option, due to not needing batteries and other equipment
  • This type of system is great for those who don’t have the room or financing to install a solar system big enough to cover 100% of their energy usage. You can continue to pull electricity from the grid if needed
  • Net Metering allows the electricity generated by a solar system to offset the electricity used from the grid during the night or cloudy days
  • The grid becomes your cost-effective, reliable storage solution
  • In some regions, Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) allow owners of a grid-tied system to receive backup credits by selling the SRECs their system produces

 Cons of a Grid-Tied Solar System:

  • If the grid goes down your system will shut off, leaving you without power. This is required to prevent energy from back feeding into the grid to keep utility workers safe.  Your grid-tied system will automatically shut off when the grid goes down, and will also automatically turn back on when power is restored
  • You’re not completely independent from the grid
Gray breaker boxes on a wall.

Off-Grid Solar System

Many people like the idea of installing an off-grid solar system because of the independence and the stability the solar system will bring to their lives. However, this is only achievable with the appropriate equipment and batteries.

 

Pros of a Off-Grid Solar System:

  • Completely independent from the grid
  • A great solution for remote locations and underdeveloped communities

 

Cons of a Off-Grid Solar System:

  • They are more costly
  • Batteries are required to deliver electricity consistently throughout the day and night
  • It could require a lifestyle change to reduce energy consumption
  • Surplus energy production could go to waste
  • Cannot rely on the grid at night or on cloudy days
  • Batteries require maintenance, have a relatively short lifespan, and degrade rapidly  

 

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