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Home Solar Power Systems

Which of the Home Solar Power Systems will you use?

We've put together information to help you make the right choice.

On this page:

Grid-Tied Solar Energy Systems
We'll be looking at these main systems:

Grid-Tied Residential Solar Energy Systems

Grid-tied home solar power systems are the most common systems used. Why?

For one thing they are not hard to install plus they connect directly with your current household electric circuit.

They are called Grid-Tied because these systems tie into the electric utility source (grid) and circuit you are already using.

As a result, it is easy to sell your excess energy back to the electric company with this type of solar energy system, if available. Usually, your are paid in the form of a credit to your utility bill.

What are the advantages of a grid-tied residential solar energy systems? (see further details below)
  • Ease of installment and use.
  • Low initial investment.
  • Sell-back power
What is needed for a grid-tied residential solar energy system?
*What is an inverter?

An inverter is a unit that changes the electric current coming from the solar panel into the same kind of current (AC) that you are currently using in your home.

  • Interconnection agreement
The utility company will review with you how the grid will be connected and what kind of inspection will take place.

The best time to make an agreement with the electric company is just when you are starting to put together your grid-tied solar power system.

This is also an excellent time to look into rebates, incentives, and credits available from local, state, or Federal Energy Tax Credit.

Overall, a grid-tied home solar power system is

  • less costly,
  • requires less maintenance,
  • allows continous power even in bad weather, and
  • is reliable and flexible.

Four Main Advantages of Grid-Tied Home Solar Power Systems

1 - Low Upfront Cost - With a grid-tied system, you don't need to rely totally on your solar power.

Since most homes do not get optimum sun year round, this type of system provides your needs when there is good direct sunlight. When needed, your usual power utility automatically is used.

A system that would provided complete power year round would cost a whole bunch more upfront, since you need costly batteries for the times when the weather is contrary. You also would most likely need a fuel-powered generator as a backup.

2 - Low Cost of Running and Maintaining a grid-tied home solar power system.

Solar panels are VERY durable and provide long-term production once installed.

If you can believe it, there are solar panels made in the mid 50's that are still producing. Most panels are guaranteed to keep working for over 20 years.

With a totally independent system, the batteries you would use are much less economical. They need to be maintained faithfully and still don't last that long. .

Batteries associated with off-grid systems require regular maintenance and have a much shorter life than the panels. A generator for backup power requires maintenance also.

3 - Reliability of grid-tied home solar systems.

Because these systems are uncomplicated and work in conjunction with your  current power utility, you don't have to run out and start a generator when  weather is bad.

There is much less down time compared to off-grid systems with their batteries and generators.

4 - Tied-grid residential solar energy systems provide more flexibility.

Why? First, you have power coming from your home solar power system; plus, you have power coming from your utility company.

Since you are never without power, you have the time to find out what your future needs will be and time to add to your current system.

This includes giving you time to set aside money if you do decide to go totally independent.

The Secrets of DIY Solar Power Revealed:
  • How solar panels make electricity
  • How to use a multi-tester device
  • Basic electronics concepts and practices
  • How to solder correctly
  • Everything you need to know about batteries
  • How charge controllers work
  • How inverters work
  • Panel mounting and fabrication
  • Sun tracking and why you should use it
  • System estimation and design concepts
  • Tax incentives and rebates
  • System payout
  • System maintenance

Disadvantages of Grid-Tied Home Solar Power Systems

Here's the catch. When there is a blackout, that is, your local electric company stops working for some reason, your Grid-Tied residential solar energy system stops working too.

You have no backup electricity.

Why? Well, if your solar power system continued to feed electricity into the downed wires of the utility company, for example, a worker could get a nasty surprise. So the connection agreement and setup requires your system to shut down when the regular lights go off.

Although a Grid-Tied home solar power system offers many advantages and few disadvantages, you do have other options that could fit your needs better.

Next we will be discussing solar energy for homes using the Grid-Tied Plus Batteries system. Click here.

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