What is the difference between on-Grid vs off-Grid solar power plant?
Deciding between these two options i.e on-Grid and off-Grid is very straightforward. The grid-tied solar power plant system is preferred by the majority of the house owners and there are some of them who prefers off-Grid rather than going into an on-Grid solar power plant.
on-Grid Solar Power Plant:
Grid-Connected or on-Grid or Grid-Tied Solar Power Plant are solar PV systems that only generate power when the utility power grid is available. The system must be connected to the grid to properly function and the best part about this system is that the excess energy generated can be sent to the back to the grid.
- Cheaper: On-Grid is generally cheaper than the other type. On-Grid system does not require a battery and other stands alone equipment. So, the owners save money in equipment cost and maintenance cost on this equipment.
- Save money: Your solar panels will often generate excess electricity which you will not be able to consume. This extra electricity can be put to the utility grid instead of storing into the batteries.
With net metering, utility companies are committed to buying electricity from homeowners at the same rate at which the companies are selling electricity. Hence, the owners can earn money as well.
- Simple: This system is very simple to install and thus saves homeowners and the company engineers in spending mind in technical calculations.
- Utility Grid(Virtual battery): The utility grid can be considered as a virtual grid. When we store generated energy in batteries(off-grid) i.e chemical energy there is a significant amount of energy loss.
- Grid Tie Inverters
The role of inverters is to convert the generated DC (Direct Current) electricity from the Solar Panel to AC (Alternating Current) because most of the appliances use AC,
In addition to this, grid-tie inverters, also known as grid-interactive or synchronous inverters, synchronize the phase and frequency of the current to fit the utility grid (nominally 50Hz). The output voltage is also adjusted slightly higher than the grid voltage in order for excess electricity to flow outwards to the grid.
- Power Meter:
Most homeowners will need to replace their current power meter with one that is compatible with net metering. This device often called a net meter or a two-way meter is capable of measuring power going in both directions, from the grid to your house and vice versa. You should consult with your local utility company and see what net metering options you have. In some places, the utility company issues a power meter for free and pay full price for the electricity you generate; however, this is not always the case.
Off-Grid Solar Systems:
off-Grid or a standalone system is the other alternative in solar power plants. In this system, the power generated from the solar panel is stored in batteries and can be used accordingly. There is no connection with the utility grid.
- Energy Self Sufficient:
With an off-grid system, house owner no longer subject to the terms and policies of the utility company. The energy generated will be self-sufficient for the user because the energy generated will be stored in batteries and can be used during the emergency. One can get away from the ongoing rate.
- No Blackouts:
When the power is out and everyone else has no electricity, your home will still have full power. This can be particularly important for people with health conditions that require electronic devices or refrigerated medicine or any case of emergency.
- Solar Charge Controller:
Also called as charge regulators or battery regulators. This device limits the rate of current being delivered to the battery bank and protect the batteries from overcharging.
Solar charge controllers are required to maintain the life of a battery and ensure the lifetime of the battery to the maximum limit.
- Battery Bank:
A battery bank is one of the important parts of the off-grid System which separates this system to be called an on-grid system. The power generated during the day from solar panel will be stored in batteries to be used later i.e during night time. The owners can select the capacity of the battery bank depending upon the load of the house and backup required during the night time.
The role of inverters is to convert the generated DC (Direct Current) electricity from the Solar Panel to AC (Alternating Current) because most of the appliances use AC.
Off-grid inverters do not have to match phase with the utility sine wave as opposed to on-grid inverters. Electrical current flows from the solar panels through the solar charge controller and the bank battery bank before it is finally converted into AC by the off-grid-inverter.
- DC Connected Switch
For off-grid solar systems, DC switch is installed between the battery bank and the inverter. It is used to switch off the current flowing between these components. This is important for maintenance, troubleshooting, and protection against electrical fires.
These are the differences between on-grid and off-grid solar power plant model. By understanding these points one can easily choose between these two models for their house.
For both of the models, house owners need to calculate the capacity of each of the types of equipment i.e solar panels, battery, and inverter, which clearly depends on the load of the house and the usage trends of the user.
For calculating the size and the capacity of the equipment required please follow the link: Solar Calculator
and find autogenerated/calculated capacity of the equipment required according to your needs.
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