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On grid solar installation. Definitions

On grid solar installation. Definitions

    Difference between On-Grid and Off-Grid Solar Installation

    Solar Power systems can be categorized into two types – Off-grid solar system and on-grid/grid-tie solar system. But, why is the grid there in the first place? Also, which one should you choose between the two? Read on to learn the major differences between the on-grid installation and off-grid installation.

    On-grid systems are those solar power systems that produce energy only when the utility power grid is there. In order to work, these systems need a connection to the grid. In case you overproduce power, the on-grid solar systems send the additional power back to the grid, which helps you save it for later use. On-grid systems are also dubbed grid-tie or integrated systems.

    On the other hand, off-grid solar power systems are those that help you store the solar energy in batteries in case the power grid fails or the grid is not available. To balance the grid power during sunlight, power is provided by hybrid systems. These systems also send excessive power to the grid so you could use it later.


    On-grid solar systems generally need solar panels along with a proper mounting system; solar cables and MC4 connectors;grid tied solar inverter and monitor;AC and DC safety isolator switches; and grounding earth cables and clamps.

    Off-grid solar systems usually require solar panels with an appropriate solar mounting system; off grid solar inverter;solar cables and MC4 connectors; solar power controller and batteries; AC and DC safety isolator switches; and grounding earth cables and clamps.

    Advantages and Disadvantages

    On-grid solar power systems offer several advantages such as:

    • Utility is a 100% efficient battery, which has the potential to absorb all the additional energy.
    • You need not to bring any change in your lifestyle or conserve electricity.
    • It provides you a backup of a stand-alone unit.

    Disadvantages of on-grid systems:

    • These provide less incentive to conserve
    • These are battery-less systems, which provide you no backup.

    Advantages of off-grid systems:

    • These are less expensive, even when compared to availing a utility line stretched to a property. However, there will be ongoing expenses.
    • These systems are good in terms of expandability.
    • These systems help you make efficient use of electricity, which benefits the environment.

    Disadvantages of off-grid systems:

    • These require regular maintenance and troubleshooting.
    • Batteries of off-grid systems have less tangible cost, which means energy waste.

    Which of the two systems is better?

    The dealer will most probably help you choose the best between the two types of solar power systems. If you fail to connect to the local mains electricity supply, the off-grid solar system is the only choice you have.

    grid, solar, installation

    In all other cases, an on-grid solar system is suggested, which is great on grounds of both, reliability and cost-efficiency. These systems do not demand for batteries, which cost a lot and ask for replacement from time to time. Also, you need fewer panels in case of on-grid solar power systems due to no need for producing extra power when there is no sunlight. It helps cut cost as well as the payback time.

    Learn About Solar

    • Determine if a home solar PV system is right for you
    • Obtain multiple quotes from pre-screened, local installers
    • Review local Community Solar subscription options
    • Make a confident decision with guidance from your dedicated Energy Advisor
    • Get a fair price for solar
    • No phone calls required

    Why install solar panels?

    Solar is one of the fastest-growing sources of clean energy. Here are a few good reasons to consider solar:

    Save on monthly electric bills. Solar panels can help to reduce your electricity bill and provide long-term savings.

    Generate your own energy. With solar panels, you can generate your own electricity on top of your roof.

    Protect yourself from fluctuating energy costs – Across the country, the rising price of energy continues to cause concern. When you purchase a solar system, you are effectively locking in your electricity rate for 25 years for the energy that your system generates.

    Protect the environment. Solar is a clean, renewable source of energy and an important contributor towards decarbonizing the energy running through our electric network. By installing a solar system, the average home can eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year. this is equivalent to planting over 100 trees annually. Community solar subscriptions are another great way for individuals and families to contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

    Increase your property value. Studies have shown that homes with solar panels sell quicker and at a higher value than comparable, non-solar homes.


    When it comes to installing solar on your property, there are three primary decisions to make:

    • What equipment you want to install
    • How you want to finance your solar panel system
    • Which installation company works best for you

    Here are some key facts to keep in mind about each:

    • The key components to a solar installation are solar panels, inverter, and mounting equipment. Compare solar panels, inverters, and batteries.
    • Not all solar energy equipment is created equal; panels, inverters, and batteries come with different warranties, efficiencies, certifications, and more.
    • Premium equipment options will often come with a higher price tag but may generate more solar electricity than standard equipment options.
    • Solar systems that can provide energy to your home even during a grid outage require additional equipment which will raise the cost of the installation.
    • Equipment manufacturers warranty their products for 10-30 years.

    Financing options

    • You can finance a solar panel system through a loan or lease. You can also purchase a solar panel system upfront.
    • There are

      Community Solar

    Go solar and save – no roof required

    With community solar, you can buy solar bill credits from a share of a local solar project. Our Community Solar Marketplace makes it easy to find, compare, and subscribe to open projects in your area.

    Getting Started

    • The first step is to receive solar quotes from reputable local solar companies, which you can do online through National Grid’s Solar Marketplace in partnership with EnergySage.
    • The second step is for solar companies to finalize their custom system design and quote based on any details specific to your home, a process that can be completed via a video conference call with solar companies.
    • Third, if and when you decide to make a decision on solar, you can select the installer with whom you’d like to move forward digitally through the Solar Marketplace.
    • At that point, all that’s left is paperwork and contracts, all of which can be e-signed.

    The actual solar installation largely occurs outside of your home with small, dedicated crews of electricians and installers. Installers will need access to your electrical panel but will otherwise be able to remain entirely outside your home. What’s more, solar companies around the country have been trained on how to practice safe social-distancing measures during installations.

    Installing 5.6kW Grid-tie solar system. Step by step.

    grid, solar, installation

    Is now a good time to shop for solar?

    Yes! Right now, is a great time to shop for solar, for three main reasons:

    • There are great incentives such as the federal investment tax credit–which was extended with the Inflation Reduction Act, meaning you have more time to claim the tax benefit, which provides a tax credit of 30% for most solar shoppers.
    • Second, by reviewing multiple quotes by vetted installers you’re able to save about 20% from average market pricing.
    • And third, you can begin the process of shopping for solar now, and plan for an installation later this year, allowing you to take advantage of the low costs and best financial incentives.

    Additionally, you can shop for solar entirely online through our Solar Marketplace. Solar companies are likely to be very responsive and communicative when you shop for solar online right now.

    How can I get started researching my solar options?

    We help our customers explore solar options through our partnership with EnergySage, the country’s leading Solar Marketplace. You can learn more about the process of going solar, read reviews of local solar companies, and research and compare solar panel equipment. Use the online Solar Calculator to estimate how much installing solar can save you over the next twenty years.

    When you’re ready to take the next step with solar, we want to help you get there. Register for a free account with EnergySage and receive custom solar quotes from pre-screened solar installers near you. Our advisor network is available to answer any questions you have about the process of going solar, the quotes you’ve received, or the solar installers in your area. No phone calls are required, and your contact information is not shared with any contractors.

    -down financing options available for going solar.

  • Solar financing products have different terms, interest rates, and down payments.
  • Installation companies typically partner with specialized solar lenders that can provide you with solar financing options, but you can also obtain your own loan directly (home equity loan, HELOC, etc.).

    Installation company

  • Installers vary in terms of experience, reputation, company size, certifications, and warranty offering.
  • Most solar installers offer a workmanship warranty of at least 10 years.
  • Reputable installers will have online reviews and can typically provide contact information for references as well.
  • Anyone who pays an electric bill can look into joining a community solar project. A community solar project is a solar farm in your area that you can subscribe to in order to support solar and earn savings on your electric bill. A Community Solar Subscription is a great option for renters or anyone who is unable to install panels on their property.

    Solar panels are made of silicon. When sunlight hits a solar panel, electrons in the silicon begin to move, initiating a flow of electricity. This creates direct current (DC) electricity. A solar inverter will convert the DC electricity into usable alternating current (AC) for your home.

    You can use EnergySage’s Solar Calculator to get ballpark estimates for solar costs and savings on your property. To use the calculator, you’ll need to input your address, confirm your roof, and enter an average monthly electricity cost. The resulting costs and savings estimates will take into account these factors, along with current pricing data and any available incentives.

    Every solar panel system is unique. the number of panels you’ll need depends on how much electricity you want to generate, the efficiency of the equipment, the size of your roof, and your geography. When quoting a solar panel system, installers use design tools to propose an appropriately sized solar panel system based on these factors. Installers will also confirm system size at an in-person site visit prior to installation.

    Net Energy Metering, or Net Metering, is a solar incentive that allows you to send any excess electricity your solar panels produce back to the grid for credits. You can draw electricity from the grid and use these credits at night when your solar panel system is not generating energy. If your solar panel system produces more than you used in a given billing cycle, we will add credits to use on a future electric bill. Alternatively, if you use more electricity than your solar panel system generates in a billing cycle, we will charge you standard electricity rates for the “net” energy you used from the grid during that month.

    Yes. There are certain fixed charges associated with maintaining your connection to the electric grid that allow us to maintain and improve the system and respond to emergencies. If your PV system does not generate as much energy as you use, you will also be charged for the additional kWh on your bill.

    The cost to install solar panels will depend on multiple factors, including your location, the type of equipment you choose, the size of the system, how you finance the system, and your installer. Fortunately, there are.down options available for installing solar panels, including both loan and lease arrangements.

    There are currently both federal and state incentives available for going solar. If you purchase a solar panel system this year, the Inflation Reduction Act has increased the investment tax credit back to 30%.

    How much does it cost to go off grid with solar?

    First, the standard disclaimer: every off-grid solar project is different, and your costs will vary (™). To put together a custom off-grid solar package that suits your needs, reach out to us for a free PV proposal.

    However, it can be useful early in the research process to look at some sample systems to help benchmark the costs of off-grid solar. Feel free to take a look at our off-grid solar kits in our shop for up-to-date pricing.

    Please note that the kits in our shop do not include the cost of batteries, as the battery bank will need to be sized to match your energy consumption (we’ll explain how to do that in the Off Grid Solar System Design section).

    Tax Incentives Polices by State

    You are eligible to claim the solar tax credit if:

    • You owe taxes for the filing year that the system was installed
    • The system is installed at your primary residence
    • You are the owner of the system (leases / PPAs do not apply)

    Backup Generator Costs

    While solar can handle your day-to-day power needs, most off-grid systems are designed for a single day of autonomy (days that you can fully meet your energy needs with solar). You will inevitably encounter stretches of bad weather where your solar panels can’t produce enough power to cover your needs.

    For that, off-grid systems must include source of backup power. For most people, that means adding a backup gas generator to get through periods of low solar production.

    Be sure to budget for a backup generator as part of the overall cost of your system.

    Need Help?

    We’ll help you design an off-grid solar system. Whether you’re converting an existing system to off-grid or starting from scratch, we can guide you to the best energy-saving solution.

    Minimizing Off-Grid System Costs

    Before you size your off-grid solar system, consider whether you can take measures to reduce your energy usage. Lower consumption means you can get away with a smaller battery bank and inverter, reducing system costs.

    Two simple things to consider:

    • Propane Appliances Consider outfitting your off-grid home with propane appliances to limit your electricity usage. We recommend looking for a propane stove, clothes dryer, wall heater and on-demand water heater; in our experience these are more cost-effective than running them off electricity. Be sure that you have reliable access to a propane vendor near you. Some places have propane delivery services, which are convenient.
    • Stagger Appliance Usage Usage Off-grid systems are designed with peak consumption in mind.- how many electrical loads are run simultaneously. By staggering your usage of major appliances, you can reduce the peak demand on your system. For example, if you’re willing to run your dishwasher and laundry at different times, that will reduce peak demand and keep system costs in check.

    Off-Grid Solar System Design

    Off-grid living means you are fully responsible for your own power production; if your energy storage doesn’t live up to your needs, there’s no grid power to fall back on. For that reason, it’s critical to take all the factors that impact solar production into account during the system sizing process.

    Factors that Impact Off-Grid System Design

    Before we get into the system sizing process, consider the following:

    Sun Hours Some parts of the country get more exposure to the sun than others. You’ll need to know how many sun hours you get in your location.- a measure of the duration and intensity sunlight in your region. Fortunately there’s no guesswork involved, thanks to the solar insolation maps provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Look for the DNI (Direct Normal Irradiance) maps and take a note of the average sun hours in your location. Most places in the US fall in the range of 4-5 sun hours per day. You may notice from the monthly maps that sun hour availability dips dramatically in the winter. Your solar production will fall below your needs in the winter months, and it will be up to your generator to pick up the slack. While you could theoretically oversize your solar array so that it works in those bleak winter months, it would be insanely expensive (think triple the system costs). It’s much more cost-effective to size your solar array to be effective most of the year, but let the generator take over in the winter.

    Obstructions Solar panels work best in full sunlight, so you want to keep them free from obstructions that would cast shade on the panels. Check your build site for trees, chimneys, or anything else that could block sunlight from hitting your panels. Keep in mind that shadows get longer in the winter as the sun takes a lower arc across the sky. Make sure that your build site will be free from shade all year-round. If partial shade is unavoidable, the impact can be mitigated with micro-inverters or power optimizers. However, they won’t match the output of an array built with full exposure to sunlight.

    Orientation Solar panels produce the most power when they face directly toward the sun, which takes a path in the sky that follows the Equator. So if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you want to face your panels due South. In the Southern Hemisphere, face them North. As you select a build site, make sure you can face your panels in the right direction. If you don’t have a suitable space on your rooftop, consider a ground mount away from obstructions to get the most out of your panels.

    System Voltage Solar batteries come in a variety of voltages, including 6V, 12V, 24V and 48V. We recommend a 48V DC battery bank simply because it’s the most efficient and cost-effective option available. At lower voltages, you will need to buy more electronics and invest in more cabling to handle the higher amperage from the system (the amperage is doubled every time the voltage is cut in half). In an off-grid residence, 48V is the better option. For best results, it is most common to use 6V batteries and wire them in series for a total of 48 volts.

    Determine Your Energy Needs

    There are three key factors to consider when sizing an off-grid system:

    (“KWh” stands for kilowatt-hour, the standard measure of how much electricity your appliances consume while in use. You can find this rating on the appliance’s EnergyStar sheet.)

    grid, solar, installation

    To start, make a list of each appliance’s wattage consumption. Then write down how many hours you plan to use each appliance on a daily basis. This information is necessary to move forward with the sizing process.

    off-grid load calculator

    We’ve got a handy off-grid load calculator to help you keep track of your appliance’s wattage consumption.

    Important! 1,000 watts = 1 kilowatt. Be sure to convert watts to kilowatts before you make your kWh calculations, or your numbers will be off!

    What is Your Peak Power Demand?

    What are the electrical loads that you will need to run? Will they all run at the same time, or can you rotate the loads?

    Your peak power demand is your total wattage usage when you are running all the electrical loads you need simultaneously. By staggering usage of major appliances at different times, you can reduce your peak power demand and bring system costs down.

    How many solar panels do I need for off grid?

    Solar panels, solar battery charger, batteries and an inverter are needed for an off-grid solar system

    Basic solar panel sizing uses the same process for off grid or on grid solar systems. The process is driven by the load i.e. how much energy does your home consume per day?

    grid, solar, installation

    Home energy consumption can be found from last year’s utility bill and it’s the average daily value we’re looking for. The average US home consumes about 30kWh per day.

    With an irradiance value of 4kWh/day or peak-sun-hours, the amount of solar power required is:

    30kWh / 4 = 7600 watt-hours solar power.

    If using 200 watt solar panels, it would take 7600 watts / 200 = 38 solar panels.

    However, a solar power system has losses, so it will generally produce much less than the calculation indicates.

    Losses can be up to 23% of the solar system rating. For a 7600 watt system, the rating needs to be multipled by 1.44 to make up for the possible losses.

    Realistic power rating needed = 7600 x 1.44 = 10800 watts, or 36 solar panels.

    Off-grid solar systems need to have enough solar capacity to charge up a battery bank. as well as run the home in the daytime.

    I would normally allow up to 30% of the total daily energy consumption for night-time running.

    Although this would mean installing 30% more solar, or 48 panels in total, it’s better to have too much power capacity than not enough when you’re off-grid.

    How many batteries for off grid solar?

    The table below shows how to work out how many batteries you might need to have one day autonomy for a home using 28kWh of energy per day:

    Battery Backup For 24 Hours

    Total load for 24 hours backup

    Battery bank voltage

    Battery amp-hour rating


    Required Batteries (60% DOD) Lead-Acid

    Number of batteries @250Ah each

    On Grid Solar System Vs. Off Grid Solar System | Luminous

    Other questions – grid-tied off-grid solar power systems:

    What is a on-grid solar system?

    The term ‘grid’ refers to the utility grid, so called because the power lines criss-cross the countryside. An on-grid solar system connects directly to this grid.

    When the solar system generates more power than is needed by the home it automatically feeds into the grid and the home-owner earns credits for future consumption.

    If more power is required than can be generated by the solar system, then power is taken from the grid. The flow of power both ways is controlled, measured and monitored by net-metering equipment.

    How does off-grid solar system work?

    An off-grid solar system works a little differently from a grid-connected solar power system.

    Solar panels cannot generate electricity at night and also suffer from reduced output in very shady or cloudy conditions. This means they cannot power the home at night when the sun stops shining.

    With no grid connection, the only solution is to store solar energy produced in the day in batteries as a form of energy storage.

    A battery bank of sufficient size can feed the house through the night using an inverter to change the DC electricity into the AC power home appliances need.

    Which solar power system is more expensive off-grid or on-grid?

    Solar panels sizing calculations are the same for off-grid and on-grid solar systems, but off-grid solar systems are much more expensive for a couple of reasons.

    First, a substantial battery bank is required to feed the home during the night. For the average home with a load of 30kWh/day this would be in the region of 5000 to 10000 for an autonomy of 24 to 48 hours, depending on the load during the night.

    Secondly, in addition to the solar panel output required to feed the normal home consumption, extra watts are needed to charge up the batteries ready for the night, or for cloudy days.

    I would increase the number of solar panels for an off-grid solar system by about 30%, as most of a home’s consumption is during the day.

    The table below gives a comparison of grid-tie solar system outputs and installation costs by US State:

    Ave kWh used per day

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