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The Difference: Off-Grid VS Grid-Tied Solar

Updated: Jan 24


Renewability, sustainability, cost-efficiency, and energy independence are only a few reasons why many have started harnessing the sun’s energy into electricity. When it comes to solar systems in NZ, off-grid and grid-tied solar systems are the best options. While there are alternatives to choose from, choosing which one suits your energy requirement can be a difficult task to do.


In this blog, we will differentiate an off-grid solar system from a grid-tied solar system to help you determine the type of solar system you need. Continue reading below!


Defining Off-Grid and Grid-Tied in NZ


What Is an Off-Grid Solar System?


An off-grid solar system is a standalone power generation and storage system not connected to the main electrical grid. It typically consists of solar panels, batteries, charge controllers, and inverters, which work together to capture and store sun energy and then convert it into usable electricity for homes or businesses.


Off-grid solar systems are commonly used in remote areas without access to the main grid or where the electricity supply is unreliable or expensive. These systems are also becoming increasingly popular for people to live independently and sustainably by generating power and reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.


What Is a Grid-Tied Solar System?


A grid-tied solar power system is a standalone power generation and storage system not connected to the primary electrical grid. It typically consists of solar panels, batteries, charge controllers, and inverters, which capture and store solar energy and convert it into usable electricity for homes or businesses.


Grid-tied solar systems are the most common type of solar installation because they allow homeowners and businesses to generate electricity while still connected to the utility grid. This means that the excess energy can be sent back to the grid if the solar panels produce more electricity than what is used. The homeowner or business can receive credits or payments for the energy they have made.


Grid-tied solar systems are also an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions, lower energy bills, and increase energy independence. They are becoming increasingly popular as more people seek to transition to renewable energy sources and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.


Pros and Cons of Off-Grid Solar


Off-grid solar systems offer several advantages, such as energy independence, cost savings, and environmental benefits. Homeowners and businesses can generate electricity and be free from the utility grid, which can be unreliable or unavailable in some areas. This allows for greater control over energy consumption and can significantly save monthly electricity bills. Off-grid solar power systems also generate clean, renewable energy, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps protect the environment. Additionally, off-grid solar systems can be relatively easy to install and can be set up in remote locations.

However, the upfront costs of off-grid solar power systems can be high, as these systems require solar panels, batteries, charge controllers, and inverters. Maintenance can also be an issue, as batteries must be regularly monitored and replaced when worn out. In addition, off-grid solar systems have a limited power supply and require careful management of energy consumption to avoid running out of power. These systems are weather-dependent; they may produce less energy on cloudy or rainy days.


Overall, off-grid solar power systems can be an excellent option for people who want to be energy independent and environmentally conscious. Still, they require careful planning and investment upfront to ensure they meet energy needs and are cost-effective in the long run.


Pros and Cons of Grid-Tied Solar Systems


One of the main advantages of grid-tied solar systems is that they offer a reliable renewable energy source while still being connected to the utility grid. This means users can benefit from the energy generated by their solar panels while also being able to draw power from the grid when necessary. Grid-tied system in NZ also allow excess energy to be sold back to the grid, which can result in cost savings or even revenue generation for the system owner.


But one of the major drawbacks of grid-tied solar systems is that they are only sometimes reliable during power outages. They are designed to shut down when the grid goes down to prevent the back feeding of electricity into the grid. Moreover, grid-tied systems may only be suitable for areas where the utility grid is reliable and available. There is also a risk of dependency on the grid, which can be a disadvantage if electricity prices increase or if the grid becomes unavailable.


All in all, grid-tied solar systems offer a reliable renewable energy source that can result in cost savings and revenue generation. Yet, they are only sometimes reliable during power outages, may not be suitable for all areas, and are at risk of dependence on the grid. Careful consideration of these factors is necessary when deciding whether a grid-tied solar system is suitable for a particular home or business.


How Do You Choose Between Off-Grid and Grid-Tied Solar Systems?


Personal preferences and priorities should be considered when choosing a solar system. Off-grid solar systems offer greater energy independence and can be a more environmentally friendly option. Grid-tied systems, on the other hand, offer the convenience of access to grid power and can provide cost savings through net metering.


It is crucial to consult with a professional solar installer to help determine which system is best suited for individual needs. They can assess energy needs, evaluate location, discuss budget considerations and review personal preferences to help determine the best option. Ultimately, deciding between an off-grid solar system and a grid-tied one will depend on individual circumstances, priorities and budget considerations.


Do You Want to Learn More About Solar? Catch Up with Coastal Solar Today


If you are interested in learning many things about the different types of solar systems, Coastal Solar is a great place to start. Our professional team can show you various solar systems in NZ that may be helpful for your energy requirement. Call us on 0800 78 36 78 or visit our website at www.coastalsolar.co.nz.



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