On-Grid vs. Off-Grid vs. Hybrid Solar Systems

Solar power is accessible for your home or business in a variety of setups. Read about the differences and benefits of on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid solar systems.

Choosing to integrate solar panels into your home or business’s energy network is a popular environmentally friendly choice with a variety of options for implementation. The main types of solar systems you can integrate with your home or business are on-grid systems, off-grid systems, and hybrid systems. Each system uses a combination of solar panels, solar batteries, inverters, and utility grid connections to provide cleaner energy to your property. Each system has unique benefits and challenges, but the Holu Hou Energy team is ready to help you navigate your options. Learn more about the options and reach out to us when you are ready to go solar and cut your bills.

On-Grid Solar Systems

On-grid systems, also known as “grid-tied systems,” are the most common way residential and commercial businesses utilize solar energy. These systems are connected to inverters that funnel the energy solar panels produce into usable energy for your home. The inverter is also connected to the utility grid, which allows access to electricity in the same way as not having a solar system. An on-grid system means you do not have to be completely reliant on the sun, allowing for electricity even during cloudy days or during the night. On-grid systems allow your property to pull power from your solar panels for as long as possible before fulfilling extra power needs with the utility grid. It is important to note that if the grid is completely down, you won’t be able to have power. In order for utility workers to safely restore power, you are unable to pull power directly from solar panels when the utility grid doesn’t have power.

Excess Production and Cost Saving

If you produce excess power from your solar panels, then your home or business can utilize it, and the excess is sent to the grid for use by others in the community. In some cases, you can be compensated for the energy that is sent to the grid through net metering. Compensation is often in the form of credits from the electrical company.

An on-grid system has additional cost-saving benefits through the reduction of utility bill costs. With some power coming from your solar panels, less electricity needs to be purchased from a utility company. Unfortunately, your electrical bill won’t completely vanish, though; you may see service, delivery, or demand charges from your electrical company.

Off-Grid Solar Systems

Off-grid solar systems allow your property to run without any connection to the utility grid. An off-grid system means you are completely reliant on solar power, pulling energy either directly from solar panels or from solar batteries. Solar panel systems have reduced energy production during the night or on a cloudy day, and since there is no grid to pull energy from, backup energy comes in the form of solar batteries. You can also wire your system into a standby generator for additional protection. Any excess energy produced by the panels can be stored for later use in batteries. An off-grid solution is a practical and popular choice when access to the grid is challenging or unreliable, or for those wanting to decrease their effect on the environment as much as possible.

No Grid? No Problem!

The main benefit of an off-grid system is resilience against conditions that cause the utility grid to go down. When extreme weather or human accidents render the grid unusable, properties with off-grid systems are still functional. These systems can be a large investment, though. A full off-grid system likely has a higher number of solar panels and batteries than an on-grid or hybrid system in order to fulfill energy needs. More panels and batteries can be costly; however, money can be saved without a monthly electrical bill.

Hybrid Solar Systems

Hybrid solar systems offer a blend of on and off-grid systems. A hybrid solar system is tied to the grid as a backup means of power but also utilizes solar battery storage. Home or business’s receive power straight from solar panels, then, when panels don’t produce enough power, the system can switch to batteries or the grid, depending on the user’s preference. Extra assurance is guaranteed with hybrid systems since depleted batteries and cloudy skies don’t mean a lack of power. As long as the grid is working, energy is available. Hybrid systems offer the most ways to power your property, however they can be expensive upfront to set up. Another benefit of hybrid systems is power access during a blackout. Unlike on-grid systems, hybrid systems allow for the grid to be isolated (also called “islanding”), and power can still be drawn from battery storage.

Which Grid Works Best for You?

If you can’t decide which solar solution is best for your property, Holu Hou Energy is here to help. We can evaluate your property and current set-up, assisting in the decision to add solar panels or solar batteries. Our HoluPower xP Energy Storage System makes off-grid and hybrid solar solutions feasible for home and business owners. Ask us about adding HoluPower Energy Storage Systems to benefit from resilience in outages, high system modularity, and optimized control overload and usage. Contact Holu Hou today to transform your property with solar solutions.