Should I tie grid-tie my solar panels to the grid or live off the grid?
As more homeowners turn to solar power, many face a choice: to connect their solar systems to the utility power grid or attempt to live off the grid.
While both options come with pros and cons, a hybrid solar system offers a middle path. Read on to learn more hybrid systems that combine the best of grid-tied and off-the-grid technology.
What is a Hybrid Solar System?
When a home solar system is connected to the utility grid, it’s known as grid-tied or on-grid. When a system generates more electricity than is used, that excess energy can usually be sold back to the grid or stored in batteries.
Home solar systems that are completely disconnected from a utility grid are known as off-grid or standalone. Such systems rely on battery storage and backup generators.
In contrast, a hybrid solar system may be described as an off-grid with back-up power, or as a grid-tied system with battery storage. Either way, hybrid solar systems offer a combination of grid-tied and off-grid systems that can provide advantages to homeowners.
Benefits of Hybrid Solar Systems
Hybrid solar offers cost savings in comparison to off-grid systems. Hybrid systems don’t require an expensive backup generator; plus, it’s cheaper to purchase off-peak electricity from a utility than to buy diesel to feed a generator. Homeowners can also save money by downsizing their storage capacity with smaller batteries.
Recent technological advances, sometimes known as “smart solar,” provide additional advantages. Hybrid systems can be programmed to consume more power during off-peak hours and sell excess generated power back to the grid when demand high — which happens to be when utilities pay the highest price.
For many homeowners, hybrid solar offers “best of both worlds” benefits. Further research will determine if this technology is right for your needs.