Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.
Depending on the type of property and where it is located a specific type of solar electric system that best suits for the needs. Depending on where a property is located – in the heart of a city, in the suburbs or in the woods an appropriate type of solar electric system installation must be implemented.
Location is the key characteristic as grid availability and distance from the grid will be determinant in choosing the type of system best for a given property.
There are basically three types of Solar Electric Systems:
Grid Tied Solar Systems, Grid Tied Solar System with a Battery Back-up or Hybrid Power Generator, and the Off-Grid Solar Power System.
Grid Tie Solar System:
This is a very common type of installation for cities and suburbs with close proximity to the electric grid. In this system, the PV installation is connected to the grid and two meters or one two-way meter may be installed to measure the flow of electricity to and from the grid.
In Ontario residents participates in Micro FIT program need to have two meters to measure the flow of electricity and the Ontarians participates in Net metering program need to have one two-way meter to measure the flow of electricity.
The advantage with Grid Tied Solar System is that the PV installation need not necessarily be seized to meet all the needs of a property. If demand surpasses supply at any one time especially in peak hours, electricity is simply pulled from the grid to make up. This situation is reversed when the capacity of the installed Grid Tied Solar System is high enough and produces more than needed electricity. The extra electric power is pushed or back-fed into the grid which produces credits the consumer can then use at periods of low production such as at night to offset their power consumption.
Grid Tie Solar System with Back-up or Hybrid Power system:
Grid Tie Solar System with Back-up system differs from the above described in that it has a battery or power generator to provide power during grid outage. Grid Tie Solar System with Back-up best suits areas without a reliable power grid. Our solar engineer design the system to store some of the electricity produced when production exceeds demand for use when the grid goes down. This type of system can also incorporate an electric generator for the same function.
Off-Grid Solar Power System:
Off-Grid Solar Power System is for locations without traditional electric grid. It best suits for properties located in the woods, mountains or remote areas of the developing world with no electric grid.
Off-Grid Solar Power System also incorporates the battery and the power generator in its design. Instead of using a battery or generator as a back-up as in the previously described system, it is used as a necessary component.
The battery is used to save electricity produced during the day time to use in nights and during rainy/cloudy days. A generator is provided in this case when the battery drains out due to continuous use and in days with no low power production from solar.
Use of these systems depends on location and it is important to note that in each design, convenience and efficiency will vary significantly depending on the use and location.
Now you know more about solar electric system types–which of these would best suite your needs depending on your location? We can help you pick the best solution for your need and location; do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.