How It Works: Grid-Tie Systems & Off Grid Systems

Reasons To Go Solar
How It Works
Frequently Asked Questions
Glossary Of Terms
Example Systems
Video Clips

Grid-Tie System

What is a Grid-Tie System and how does it work?
Grid-tie systems generate electricity, sending this energy back to your utility company's power grid. In effect, this means the utility company will be paying you to produce energy for them, since the energy you produce counts against the energy your home or business uses.
Your solar panels will produce DC (Direct Current) electricity. This electricity will be run through an inverter to produce AC (Alternating Current) electricity. This energy is then run into your AC power panel, which feeds energy back to your utility companies power grid. If your solar power array produced enough electricity, your utility meter would begin to run backward! 

Solar Panels You'll need solar panels to collect the solar energy and convert this to DC power. The number and type of solar panels will determine how much energy you can produce, as will your geographic location.
Combiner Box This box gathers all of the Solar Panel connections.
DC Breaker Box Your array's breaker safely shuts down your solar power system at a moment's notice, allowing for safe maintenance, repair, and inspection.
Inverter Inverters take Direct Current power and convert it to household (AC) power.
Grid Disonnect A grid disconnect allows you to stop the flow of electricity between your solar power system and your electrical system. This provides for the safe maintenance of electrical and utility systems.

 

 

Off-Grid System

What is an Off-Grid System and how does it work?
It is completely independent of the electric utility grid. It is also very valuable in remote areas where there are no existing power lines. For this reason, off-grid systems are very popular in mountain and forests areas, for cabins or homes that are far away from the electrical grid. It has all of the features and benefits of a standard grid system, but with the additional benefit of uninterruptible power.

This system can save tens of thousands of dollars:
Of money that would be spent to extend power lines to some remote areas (The going rate for wiring a building that's not connected to the utility grid is around $50,000 per half-mile!).

This system is fully self-sustaining:
The battery backup will ensure that you have electricity for critical loads when the sun is down or blocked by clouds. When the optional backup generator is added, you are truly protected against nearly any catastrophic situation.There is also an optional DC hookup, which means you can use DC appliances and power devices.
This system may or may not use energy storage (batteries), but because you are not supplied electricity from the grid with your solar system it isn't producing electricity (at night or cloudy conditions), we strongly suggest having a backup source.

Solar Panels You'll need solar panels to collect the solar energy and convert this to DC power. The number and type of solar panels will determine how much energy you can produce, as will your geographic location.
Combiner Box This box gathers all of the Solar Panel connections.
Inverter Inverters take Direct Current power and convert it to household (AC) power.
Battery Bank Most off-grid battery banks are designed to provide anywhere from 1-5 days of emergency power during overly cloudy or other adverse conditions.