On Grid Solar System vs off Grid Solar System

| Updated on February 28, 2024

Did you know that scientists estimate that approximately 80% of the US total energy needs could be supplied by solar? In fact, in 2019, solar energy production moved ahead of overall consumption in the United States for the first time in decades.

With statistics like these, many homeowners are optimistic about setting up an ongoing solar system for their residential property.

However, others are more interested in the debate between on grid versus off grid solar. The benefits of an off grid solar system allow for improved portability that may make more sense than on grid solar systems depending on the use and needs.

In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about different solar system types to power your home or vehicle.

What is an On-Grid Solar System?

Most people are relatively familiar with what an on-grid solar system looks like. They will see multiple panels placed on the rooftop of a residential home. These panels are connected to an inverter that helps to transform the electricity for use with modern appliances.

This solar setup is attached to the overall electricity grid, making it on the grid. This means that a homeowner can actually send excess electricity to the power company in exchange for credit.

What is an Off Grid Solar System?

An off grid solar system, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like. It does not connect to the overall grid of the power company, making it more portable if necessary.

There are certain advantages and disadvantages associated with off grid solar setups. Certified solar providers can help you understand which is best for your needs.

However, the main idea is the same. Photons from the sun will strike the surface of the solar panel, creating an electric current that is transformed through an inverter. After going through the inverter, the alternating current will be able to power most household devices.

What are the Differences Between the Two Solar Systems?

One key difference is that with an off grid solar system, you won’t be able to sell excess electricity back to the power company. For some people, this is a negligible disadvantage. They don’t mind the relatively small cost savings that this amounts to because they don’t have that much excess electricity produced.

Off grid solar systems are also different in that they will require a battery to power their home or business. This is because there is no connection to the larger store of electricity. Without a battery, this means you won’t be able to have much power or will have no power at all on a cloudy day.

This simply means that a battery will be necessary for a baseline off grid setup.

One significant pro for an off grid system, however, is that it works entirely independently from the power grid. We have all experienced times in which the power grid has gone down during a storm.

But you’ll be able to continue to have power when others do not.

On the other hand, on grid solar systems must be turned off in the event of a grid outage. This promotes safety for the utility workers who are trying to get the grid back online.

Choosing the Right Solar System for Your Needs

At the end of the day, there are serious advantages to an on grid solar system and its installation, and also key disadvantages.

If you’re thinking about on grid versus off grid solar, it’s best to talk to a contractor to determine your energy needs and overall budget. They will be able to steer you in the right direction based on the characteristics of your property.

If you enjoyed this article about solar system types, please check out the other articles on our blog!

Billy Willson


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