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Grid Tied Solar Systems

Learn more about grid connected solar power.

Grid Tied Solar Systems

Grid tied solar, (also known as grid connected solar systems, grid intertied photovoltaic systems or on grid solar systems) produce solar energy for your home in the day and since you are also hooked up to the grid, they take electricity from the power company as it is needed at night or in times of rain or cloudy weather.

The Grid Tied Solar System Set Up

Typical grid intertied solar systems consist of solar panels (to collect the power), an array DC disconnect (to be able to cut the power from the PV panels), an inverter (to convert it from DC to AC), an AC breaker panel (to accept and distribute power to your household loads, the kilowatt per hour per meter and to the grid) which also sends power back.

These types of a grid connected solar systems use no batteries but they do have a system controller that automatically decides whether to draw power from the solar panels or from the utility grid based on how you set it. If it's sunny, it draws power from the solar panels, but if it's cloudy or night time, it will draw from the electric company's supply.

Get Paid By Your Power Company

If you produce more solar energy in the day than you use, it gets fed back into the grid and you can receive an energy credit on your electric account with what's known as "net metering". Therefore if your solar panel array produced enough electricity your power meter would actually begin to turn backwards.

Since the energy you produce with on-grid solar systems counts against the energy your home uses, you are in essence, getting paid by the power company to produce energy for them.

In this way, grid intertied solar systems (with no battery bank) sort of use the utility grid like a battery bank. Also, by eliminating the use of storage batteries, the total costs for your PV system decrease dramatically.

However, grid connected solar systems with no battery bank are also subject to loss of power during solar system maintenance and in black outs or power shortages.

Why Should I Use a Grid Connected Solar System?

Implementing a grid connected solar electric system onto your home or business can help you save money on energy, reduce your dependency on utility company electricity, and minimize the production of environmentally harmful greenhouse gases.

Eventually on-grid solar systems will pay for themselves and keep saving you money. Larger grid connected solar systems may even make you money by giving you perpetual credit with your local utility company.

On Grid Solar Systems Are Easier To Set Up

Another plus is that these grid intertied photovoltaic systems are the easiest (and most affordable) to build, purchase or maintain. Since batteries are usually the most expensive component, having no batteries takes a lot of the risk of "losing money by accident" away and you don't have to be careful not to damage them by over or under-charging.

With a lower initial cost, grid connected solar systems can pay for themselves faster and continue saving you money for many years to come.

Add Batteries

Grid connected solar systems can also add considerable value to your home. If your solar system is big enough, you can even make money from your utility company in the form of a perpetual energy credit.

Although grid tied solar systems make it possible for you to have a more affordable, lower maintenance, and more worry-free solar energy system, it is a good idea to still add a small battery bank capable of storing enough power to cover your minimal energy needs, just in case of a power outage, or other similar emergency situation.

Now that you know how grid connected solar energy systems work, click here to go back to the Solar System Types section in the exact spot you left off (or just click your browser's back button).