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How Solar Power Sources Help the World Energy Grid

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Not all types of solar installations are similar. There are two main types of solar power systems- on-grid/grid-tied and off grid. Irrespective of whether you use on-grid or off-grid systems, solar is an excellent choice for renewable energy generation. The sun has been the most reliable and constant source of energy for this planet. The sun is not only free and clean but is going to be around for billions of years more to fuel our energy needs. Over the last few years, developments have taken place in the field of solar power that have enabled people to build houses completely powered by solar energy systems.

How grid-tied solar systems sync with the grid.   

How Solar Power Sources help the World Energy Grid
 

The photovoltaic panels of today have no means of storing energy for later use. This implies that whatever solar energy you generate using your rooftop panels is directly fed into your house for powering lights and appliances. If due to weather conditions or some other faults, your solar panels are not delivering as per demand then electricity is automatically taken from the grid. On the other hand, if you are generating more energy than you need, in states with net metering you can sell the excess energy to the grid at the same retail price.

Differences between on-grid and off-grid systems.

The difference in off-grid and on-grid systems does not lie in the panels used. Rather it is what they do with the electricity after generation that sets them apart. Methods of storing electricity and using that power for the consumer's house is markedly different in the two cases.

  1. Grid-tied systems- Grid-tied system is the most common form of solar equipment that you can find in households. These systems are connected to the overall electricity grid of the region. The homes with grid-tied systems are already connected to the grid irrespective of the solar panels. Power, in this case, can flow both ways, from the grid to the house or from the house to the grid. The benefits of net metering mentioned above come into the picture only in the case of on-grid systems. There is one major flaw to grid-tied systems, they cannot supply power in case of a power failure. Even though grid-tied systems produce energy independent of the grid, the body managing electricity grids usually have an automatic switch on panels that stop it from generating energy during power outages. Grid-tie systems are small and can be easily implemented at a variety of locations. There is also limited investment for the initial infrastructure.
  2. Off-grid systems- The main difference between on-grid and off-grid systems is that off-grid systems can actually store the energy that they produce. They usually use suitably sized battery banks to store the energy produced for future use. The excess energy produced in this case cannot be sold to the grid. If your energy output is greater than your demand then it is safely stored. A major advantage of off-grid systems is there ability to function during power outages and during the night. Since you have stored energy from before, you can use it to power your homes even when solar energy is not readily available (for example during cloudy or winter days). Compared to on-grid systems, off-grid power generation is more expensive as it requires investments for batteries and similar power storage equipment.

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