Types of photovoltaic installations: off-grid and grid-connected.
In today's article we are going to look at the different types of photovoltaic installations that exist and how they differ so that you can choose the one that best suits your needs and circumstances. It is important that you know these differences so that you can make the right decisions when installing solar panels.
There are two main groups into which solar installations can be classified: The isolated installationswhich are totally disconnected from the electricity grid and use all the energy generated by the panels for self-consumption, and grid-connected installationsThese are still connected and can draw energy from the grid at specific times if production is not sufficient or feed surplus energy back into the grid when it is not consumed.
It is also important that you know what is a photovoltaic kit. A solar kit is the set of all the components that enable a photovoltaic system to operate. as a power generator. There are many configurations for these kits depending on each case, but there are always some elements common to all installations: solar panels, the solar inverter and, in the case of off-grid installations, the batteries and the charge regulator.
What is an off-grid solar installation?
These are installations that are disconnected from the grid.. These may be installations that are in localities that are too remote or do not have access to the public electricity grid for other reasons. Rural installations such as cottages, farms or rural hotels; lighting systems for isolated areas; telecommunication huts and antennas, beacons or signalling buoys or water pumping installations would be examples of isolated installations. These may be installations where the owners have decided to disconnect from the grid of their own free will and dedicate the entire production of their panels to self-consumption, so that they are no longer dependent on the electricity companies for their day-to-day operations.
This type of installation always includes batteries so that the energy generated during the day can be stored and used at night or on cloudy days.
You can see an example here: Isolated installation for sprinkler head
What is a grid-connected solar installation?
These are installations that remain connected to the electricity grid, also known as direct self-consumption.. These facilities use the electricity grid to collect energy when plate production is not sufficient or to dump surpluses when the panels generate more energy than is consumed. These are the most common installations for homes, communities and companies and the model used by large solar parks to sell the energy they produce in their panels.
You can see an example here: Grid-connected installation for self-consumption in Alumbres
Differences between off-grid and grid-connected systems
The main difference is that grid-connected installations remain connected to the public electricity grid and can draw or dump energy into it, while off-grid installations cannot. The other major difference is the elements they need. Solar kits for grid-connected installations require a inverter that converts the direct current generated by the panels into alternating current for daily consumption and a meter that measures the power generated, the power consumed and the surplus. Isolated installations need, apart from the inverter and the meter, batteries to accumulate the energy from the panels and a regulator to monitor the state of charge and ensure that cycling is done as efficiently as possible to extend the life of the system.
How much does a photovoltaic system cost?
The short answer is that depends on the power you are going to consume and the type of installation you make. You should not measure the cost of a self-consumption installation by the initial investment that you are going to make, but by the savings in energy consumption that it will bring you. Nowadays, thanks to advances in materials and technology, an average photovoltaic system pays for itself in just under 7 years. After that time, it is all about savings. In a standard installation for a house with an average consumption you could save up to 80% on your electricity bill. while connected to the network.
And now that you know the different types of photovoltaic installations... Go for self-consumption with the installation that best suits your project!
We can help you!
If you have the itch and want to switch to self-consumption, but still have doubts, Contact us! Our professional team, which is also the official service for two of the world's leading solar energy brands, Fronius y Victronhas more than a decade of experience in the sector with hundreds of installations behind it. And if you already have an idea, but you need to carry it out, Ask us for a quote!