There are three different types of solar power systems: on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid. While off-grid solar used to be the most common type of solar system installed (with most of those systems being installed in very remote areas where grid power was not available), solar has since evolved drastically. Most solar power systems are installed within city limits and are either on-grid or hybrid systems. But if you’re still considering an off-grid system, you should do your research and ensure you know all of the pros and cons of this decision. Keep reading to learn a few of them.
Con: It Might Not Be Legal
It is extremely important that you look up your local laws and regulations regarding solar power. If you live within city limits, your city may not even allow homes to disconnect from the grid entirely. If you install an off-grid system without realizing that you’re required to stay connected to the grid, you could find yourself facing fines and other legal trouble.
Pro: Achieve True Independence
When you have a grid-tied or even a hybrid system, you will likely still rely on the grid to a certain extent, with grid-tied systems relying on the grid every night and on cloudy days. If you want to be truly independent and only use the energy you create yourself, off-grid systems are the best way. This can present a challenge at times, especially when you first get started, but in the end, being energy independent can be truly rewarding.
Con: More Expensive System
Therefore, off-grid systems require more equipment and will almost always cost more than a grid-tied or hybrid option. This is particularly true when it comes to a battery bank. Grid-tied systems don’t use a battery bank at all, reducing the system’s cost by tens of thousands of dollars. Hybrid systems do use a battery bank but don’t necessarily need that bank to meet all of their energy needs, so the bank can be smaller without concerns about running out of power.
Off-grid systems, on the other hand, don’t have this luxury. If you don’t appropriately size your battery bank, you could run out of power. Typically, you’ll want another backup power source on hand, like a generator, which means an added cost.
Pro: Never Worry about Grid Outages
Though there is the risk of running out of stored power, an off-grid solar system never needs to worry about going down the city’s power grid. Whether it’s a thunderstorm, downed power line, or planned rolling blackouts, your off-grid system won’t be impacted by any outages on the grid.