Grid-Tied Inverter Power Systems Explained
A grid-tied inverter system means that the inverter is linked to the main electricity feed into the premises, therefore it is dependent on the main electricity grid in order to function. The advantage of this type of system is that you save money by using solar power to generate the bulk of your electricity, which then lowers your electricity bill.
This is the most cost-effective solar PV system on the market thanks to the simplicity of the system and that it works without batteries. Your ROI is calculated based on savings.
This system works when DC (direct current) electricity is fed to the inverter, which is linked to the electricity grid. The inverter then monitors the AC (alternating current) from the utility grid (mains) and creates the electricity to match the inverter requirements.
Should you wish to purchase a grid-tie inverter power system, you would first need to enquire at your local municipality as to whether you could replace the current metering system with one that is able to handle net metering. This net metering device would then be able to measure the power in both directions, meaning that it would be able to measure the electricity used from the national grid as well as the power which your system would be able to feed back into the national grid.
The solar panels for this system will more often than not, generate more electricity than is necessary for your requirements. But with the net metering, you are able to feed this excess power generated back into the national grid instead of storing it in batteries. This allows you to use the national grid as your battery bank during the evening and in rainy conditions.
Other names for this type of system are on-grid, grid-interactive, grid intertie and grid back-feeding systems. This is one of the best ways that you can use solar power to save money.
Off-Grid Inverter Power Systems Explained
An off-grid inverter system is the opposite of a grid-tied system and is more complicated as it is a self-sufficient system with no reliance on the utility grid at all, using batteries as the power storage units instead. These systems rely on solar panels, batteries, management control systems and charge controllers to create the power required for the premises and are usually used for areas where the national grid is not able to feed the premises.
The big advantage of off-grid inverter power systems is that you do not have to rely on the national grid to power your premises transforming your home or business to the point that you are totally energy self-sufficient.
These systems work by generating DC electricity from the solar panels, which is then fed into the solar charge controller, resulting in the batteries being charged. The current is then directed to the off grid inverter which converts the DC power to AC power and is then able to power the premises as per the specific requirements.
Hybrid Inverter Power Systems Explained
A hybrid inverter power system is the combination of a grid-tied power system and an off-grid power system. These systems are generally used as power backup systems for when the utility grid is unavailable. The power is then produced by the hybrid power system using power supplied by the solar panels and stored in the batteries linked to the hybrid inverter.
The advantages of hybrid solar systems are that they are less costly than off-grid power systems as you can select the size of your battery bank according to your requirements and that you are able to control the use of the system without being fully reliant on the system for continuous power.
These systems include built-in chargers and change-over switches enabling the system to switch between the utility grid and the hybrid system with no interruption of the power supply.
Power Back-Up Explained
Backup power systems are commonly known as UPS’s (uninterruptible power supply) and are systems that provide emergency power when the utility grid (mains) fails or switches off. The backup power system provides an immediate switch-over from the main supply to the backup supply and therefore eliminates any power interruptions.
The system relies on the energy stored in the batteries to power it and the batteries are charged either via the utility service or solar power, depending on which system is installed. The batteries are then able to power the backup power system for the period of time that the batteries allow, which is dependent on the load requirements, the size of system and battery charge.
The system relies on the energy stored in the batteries to power it and the batteries are charged either via the utility service or solar power, depending on which system is installed. The batteries are then able to power the power back-up system for the period of time that the batteries allow, which is dependent on the load requirements, size of system and battery charge.