Grid-Tie vs. Off-Grid Solar

There are a number of initial reactions most people have when itcomes to making the decision to switching to a renewable energy systemin providing your daily electrical power needs. Some people decide to go off-grid so they can permanently rid themselves of the ever increasingcosts associated with their monthly electric utility bills while otherschoose to remain grid-tied just in case they need the extra power. While making the move to an off-grid configuration will in fact eliminatethat monthly electric bill from your electric utility company this issomething that can only be achieved in certain scenarios. Grid-tieconfigurations do have their advantages however and the largest of these is the reduced time in which it will take to realize your return oninvestment.

Off-grid systems are typically employed in situations where the property to be powered by thesesystems is in a rural or agricultural location where there is plenty ofacreage to erect a series of solar panel matrices or a medium to largewind turbine generator system. They also require the use of a batterybackup system capable of retaining enough power to support all of yourelectrical needs for at least 3 days so that in the event you do notreceive enough sunlight or wind you will still have enough power inreserve to make it through these brief intervals. Those choosing thisparticular configuration must also plan on using electrically efficientappliances and lighting systems so that the power you are actually using can be optimized to give you the most use from the lowest possibleamount of electrical power. A high level of deliberate energyconservation is always imperative so that you are completely consciousof how everything you power affects your energy generation and storedpower reserves.

Grid-tie systems do have some restrictions that are primarily theavailable space in which you have to erect such systems and cannotalways allow for a complete replacement of any grid provided power dueto building codes or ordinances in your community. Knowing what yourparticular community has in place in this regard is crucial in theplanning stages of your renewable energy system projects. Failing anyordinance restrictions there are several advantages in maintaining agrid-tie configuration. The first and most impressive of these is thefact that when your renewable energy system is generating more powerthan your home or business can use the excess energy is placed onto theelectrical grid through the use of a Net Meter. Net Meters will actually spin backwards when this occurs and as you may have guessed this willtrack the number of kWh (kilowatt hours) of power you have supplied toyour electric utilities grid which is banked in the form of energycredits with your utility.

For renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic solar electric youwill only be generating power during the daylight hours and in theevenings you will be using the energy credits which were generatedthrough net metering and any additional credits that remain are thenpaid out to you at a specified rate by your electric utility. However,there are still many electric utilities nationwide which do not offerthis type or any type of power buy-back programs and if this is aproblem for you in your locale then we strongly suggest filing acomplaint with your states public utilities commission or department ofenergy or both. Given the federal mandates that were issued in 2007 bypresident Bush, you will find that your department of energy will offeryou a willing platform from which to voice your opinions on this topicwhich will result in changes that will benefit your use of thesesystems. Providing that you are capable of receiving payment for poweryour system generates to the grid this can equate to an increased valueof the system which will offset its costs in the form of a reduced ROI(return on investment) time period and eventually a source of revenueonce your system has paid for itself.

Original Article on Global Team Direct


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