With the increased use of solar energy, different kind of solar systems are also coming into existence. These systems have different features, uses, and pros as well as cons. One such famous system is an on-grid solar system. Many of us know that such a system exists but when actually asked what is on grid solar system, there is an awkward silence. So, let’s solve this problem for you and simplify all things surrounding on-grid solar systems through this blog.
What is On Grid Solar System?
Basically, there are 3 types of solar systems namely an on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid solar system. On and off-grid solar systems are connected specifically to a single source whereas hybrid solar systems have both on-grid and off-grid connections, thus known as a hybrid.
However, an on-grid solar system particularly refers to the one connected to the utility grid. Electricity generated by solar panels is routed to the grid from where it is supplied to various appliances. On-grid solar systems need a grid connection to work and in case of a power outage, this solar system does not work. Due to this, it is also known as a grid-tied system.
On-grid solar systems are ideal for places with less than 2 hours or no power outages during the day. Since no batteries are connected, this system is economical without no recurring costs for replacing the components.
Peak solar power generation takes place between 09:00 am and 03:00 pm. This duration is termed the solar window. Depending on different factors like the type of solar panels, shadow, and other factors, solar windows can also be between 07:00 am and 05:00 pm.
What is On Grid System Working?
Solar panels absorb photons from sunlight and the process of generating electricity begins. As these photons get absorbed by the panels it leads to the free flow of electrons. This aggressive vibration of electrons generates electric Direct Current (DC).
This generated current travels through wires and passes through charge controllers and enters the inverter. Here, it gets converted into Alternating Current (AC) which is usable by appliances. Direct Current (DC) cannot be used by appliances; therefore, conversion is necessary.
Once the requirements of all appliances are fulfilled, the remaining energy is transferred to the utility grid. In an on-grid solar system, the utility grid acts as a battery where all excess energy is fed. This is termed as banking of energy. Another interesting fact to learn about what is on grid solar system.
At night, in the absence of solar energy, loads import the banked energy from the grid. Similarly, in case of less power generation on a cloudy day, the grid will supply the required energy to the loads. Toward the end of the month, a bidirectional meter calculates the bill considering the export and import of energy.
Working of a Bidirectional Meter
3 types of readings are recorded by a bidirectional meter. A unidirectional meter usually displays only the total imported energy from the grid. A bidirectional meter records the following:
- The total amount of energy imported
- The total amount of energy exported (kWh)
- The net energy difference between imported and exported energy
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What are On Grid System Components?
For an on-grid solar system you need the following components.
1. Alternating Current (AC) Distribution box
This box connects the solar inverter to the grid supply.
2. Array Junction Box
Multiple solar panels in parallel connection are connected with an array junction box. The capacity of the solar system determines the size of the array junction box. Also known as DC Distribution Box it also has surge protection devices along with other protection devices to prevent any electrical hazard.
3. Bidirectional Meter
With an on-grid solar system, a bidirectional solar system is mandatory as it ensures a complete record of imported and exported electricity to and from the utility grid.
4. Direct Current (DC) Cables
The energy produced by solar panels is transferred through these cables; thus, they are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and varying temperatures (high and low) along with rains and storms. They need to be sturdy to last outdoors.
5. Earthling Components and Lightning Arrestors
These devices are paired together to protect the solar system from lightning and thunder. Solar panels mounted on roofs are susceptible to getting hit by lightning or thunder which may result in sudden current or voltage surges. This is harmful to the system as well as your household devices and other loads connected to the utility grid.
6. Mounting Structures
What is on grid solar system without mounts to hold up solar panels? Made from aluminum or Galvanized iron, these mounting modules help in mounting your solar panels at a certain degree for maximum sunlight exposure. The alignment and inclination of solar panels and mounting modules depend on the type of roof type.
7. Solar Grid Inverter
It is an essential component and its inbuilt charge controller regulates the power supply from solar panels. Different types of inverters used for solar systems are central, string, and micro inverters serving the purpose of converting DC to AC.
8. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Array
They are essential for the absorption and conversion of sunlight into electrical energy. With a set of efficient solar panels, good amounts of solar energy are produced to meet the energy requirements of your household. Solar panels are of mainly 3 types, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film (amorphous). Warranty, price, and efficiency differ in different types of solar panels but a minimum of 25 years warranty.
What is On Grid Solar System Advantages?
With the utility grid serving as a storage battery not being to only benefit of this solar system, take a look at the grid solar system advantages.
1. Better Return on Investment (ROI)
With the cost of batteries being eliminated the overall cost of an on-grid solar system reduces considerably. Also, this solar system generates the highest amount of power in comparison to other solar system types. Again, with a reduced monthly bill and minimal maintenance charges, you get around 25%-35% Return on Investment (ROI). As per this, the customer earns a good sum of money on the amount they invested in installing solar panel system
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2. Easy Maintenance
With no batteries involved maintenance of an on-grid solar system becomes easier. Also, the cost of replacing and repairing batteries is also eliminated. Plus, there is hardly any maintenance cost or special effort required to maintain. Get to know about what is on grid solar system advantages for better understanding before deciding.
3. High Reduction in Electricity Bills
With a bidirectional meter and a net meter, you need to pay only for the units consumed after stored solar energy is exhausted. With very little consumption of electricity from utility providers, your electricity bill will be gradually lesser than usual. Several consumers mentioned having reduced about 90% of their bills.
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4. Synchronize With Other Power Sources
In case of grid power is unavailable, you can connect a diesel generator to serve the purpose. This on-grid solar system can be synchronized with various power sources.
5. Increased House Value
An on-grid solar system increases the resale value of your house or business. With more and more people shifting to solar panels for electricity generation, look out for houses with pre-installed solar systems. It saves up their time and effort which you get to benefit from it.
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What is On Grid Solar System Disadvantages?
After learning the advantages, you should also consider looking at the on grid solar system disadvantages.
1. Dependency on the Grid
With an on-grid solar system, there will be no electricity in times of power outages. Though such situations are quite uncommon in urban areas, there are exceptions leading to such situations as human error on the grid, storms, or other weather conditions.
2. Suitability of House
Your solar panel system needs to generate enough power to meet the requirements and for this solar panels need a sunny location with little shading. Now, every roof type does not support solar panel systems, and installing the panels at irrelevant places leads to reduced productivity.
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3. Upfront Cost
From installation to equipment, the initial upfront cost is high for an on-grid solar system. Try looking out for financing options available in your region to reduce this cost.
So, the answer to what is on grid solar system is the solar system connected to the utility grid of your house or office. This system is beneficial in many ways plus it is not as complicated as the hybrid solar system. I guess you understood what is on grid system working. Why not share this information with a newbie with green energy resolution to help him or her in deciding which solar system is better for them?
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