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Everything You Need to Know About Grid-Tied Solar Systems

If you’ve been thinking about installing grid-tied solar there are many reasons to get started today, including:

Grid-connected solar rooftopIn order to achieve these universally appealing goals, you have a couple main options – installing either a grid-tied solar system or an off-grid solar system.MOXIE primarily installs grid-tied solar systems.

We’re laser-focused saving money for customers and setting you up with a sound, long-term investment.

Also, our in-house utility company liaisons have found that it is a bit more difficult for customers to get off-grid solar permitting approval when the option to tie into the grid is available.

Luckily, there are numerous practical and financial benefits to having your solar system grid-tied and we’ve already helped thousands of solar customers take advantage of them.

Read on to learn all about grid-tied systems and the main advantages of having one installed for your home, business, or farm.

What is a Grid-Tied Solar System?

First, let’s establish exactly what a grid-tied solar system is.

The simplest definition of a grid-tied solar system is one that is connected to the electrical power grid. The system is reliant on this grid to produce usable solar energy and funnel excess energy for net metering, clean energy credits, or later usage.

It may seem counterintuitive to install a solar power system that is reliant on the same energy grid you’re trying to get away from, however, once you understand the facts of how a grid-tied solar system works and the benefits it provides over an off-grid system, it will make much more sense.

How Does Solar Work on the Grid?

In this video, MOXIE Solar’s Julian Vandervelde explains how a grid-tied solar system works and how it can save you money.

Video Transcript: Today we’re going to talk about a grid-tied system.

One of the questions we get a lot is, well, where do the batteries go? In a modern system, most of the time there aren’t any. The way that is works: you’ve got your sun, you’ve got your house, and you’ve got your solar. Couple pieces of equipment that make this whole thing work: you’ve got an inverter, you’ve got your meter, and you have the electrical grid. So the suns going to hit the panels and create direct current electricity. That direct current is going to run to an inverter. The inverter switches it from DC to AC (alternating current) which is what we use in our house.

When you’re producing more power than you’re able to use, that excess is going to get flushed out through the grid and it’s going to be stored there as a form of kilowatt hour bank, an electricity savings account if you will.

When you’re not producing as much as you’re using, during the night or in the middle of winter, you’re going to pull from the grid again. Our goal is to get you to a point where the energy that’s going out equals the cost of the energy that’s coming in, and thus, zeros out your energy bill.

3 Main Advantages of Connecting to the Grid

Let’s jump right into the main advantages of grid-tied solar systems:

  1. Grid-tied systems are typically a lower initial expense. They do not require special equipment that off-grid systems do.
  2. You can take advantage of net metering (and SRECs in some states). Save money while ensuring your energy is never wasted.
  3. You have a backup energy source and you’re helping to improve the efficiency of the main electrical grid during peak usage times. (Note: This is extremely useful if you’re just looking to supplement some of your energy usage with a lower-cost solar system, or if there are limitations to how large of a solar system can be installed on your property.)

Are There Any Drawbacks to Grid Connection?

There are some potential limitations to consider when installing grid-tied solar.

  1. If the main power grid happens to go down, your grid-tied system will shut off in order to prevent energy from feeding into the system and potentially harming utility workers (note: adding a backup battery to your grid-tied system will allow you to still have power in these situations, see next paragraph)
  2. Installing grid-tied solar may not be feasible in remote or undeveloped areas without nearby power lines.

Another Option: Grid-Connected with a Battery Backup

Adding one or several battery backups to a grid-tied solar system allows you to reduce your dependency on the grid without sacrificing the attractive money-saving benefits these types of solar energy systems offer.

Keep in mind that you do not need a battery backup, since the main utility grid is essentially a massive battery. Installing a grid-tied system without your own personal battery backup not only saves you money initially, but it also eliminates maintenance and the need for replacement batteries down the road.

Benefit of Having Battery Backup

On the other hand, installing a grid-tied system with battery backup, can help prevent a complete loss of power in those situations where the grid goes down unexpectedly. Adding two backup solar batteries, such as Tesla Powerwall, typically gives a home up to 5-6 hours of extra power to offset situations where energy is scarce or nonexistent. You’ll be the only house on the block with the lights still on!

No matter which type of solar energy system you choose, you will be saving money on energy costs and increasing the value of your home or land in the long run. Plus, the whole saving the planet things isn’t too bad either!

Streamline energy savings, maximize your solar investment, and ensure a backup energy source, go with a grid-tied solar systems with batteries.

Contact MOXIE today to learn how much you could be saving with a solar array.

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