Note: Our intro to solar electric systems video explains the different kinds of solar electric systems in detail.
Off-Grid Solar Power Systems
Unlike a grid-tie solar system, off-grid systems have no connection with the utility grid, and must make all the electricity necessary for your home. Off-grid solar systems operate from the stored energy in a battery bank. Solar panels are used to keep the battery bank charged. Your off-grid solar system has to be sized properly to support your daily power needs and replace the stored energy pulled from the battery bank.
Grid Plus Battery Backup Systems
Until recently, the only option to add backup power to your grid-tie solar system was a generator. While reliable, generators are not very environmentally friendly, are fairly noisy, and need maintenance and periodic cycling. The premise of AC-Coupling and DC-Coupling is the same. It is for those who currently have a grid-tie solar system installed, and now want the option to have backup power available during outages. What’s needed in both solutions is a battery bank, a sub panel for your critical loads (ex. refrigerator, lights, heating system), and a battery-based inverter.
Grid-Tie Solar Power Systems
Grid-tie solar systems are designed for those who already have electric utility service, but wish to significantly reduce their electric bill. With grid-tie solar systems, you generate electricity when the sun is shining, and sell any excess back to the electric company. When the sun isn’t shining, you just buy power from the grid, same as everyone else.
Solar Water Pumping Systems
Solar water pumps are often used in remote areas where the cost of running traditional water piping is cost prohibitive or you just want to provide water to an off-grid home. Solar water pumping systems are also used to pump water for livestock and crop irrigation.