The Difference Between Off-Grid Solar and On-Grid Solar
We get a lot of questions regarding on and off-grid solar. In this blog, we are going to cover both. We’re also going to cover batteries and when and why you would need them.
Off-Grid Solar is Illegal.
First of all, it’s illegal to not be connected to the grid. California state law and with SDG&E, they mandate that. You can’t just choose whether you want to be connected to the grid or not.
Let’s go through this process. You move into a new home, have been there for a year, and you see you’re using X amount with SDG&E for your power and are paying a two hundred dollar average bill.
You start thinking about how you can lower your bill with solar from what you’ve heard online and what people have been telling you. Your neighbors have it, say it’s cheaper, and you start wondering how it all works.
Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to get that solar put on your roof and have it turned on. That’ll take about 30-60 days at longest. As soon as it’s turned on, you now have solar power.
Why You're Connected to the Grid
Does it stay connected to the grid, the SDG&E’s utility grid? The answer is yes. In fact, solar will be, during the day, pumping energy into those panels for you. Those panels are going to collect that energy and put it into your home.
If you’re not using that energy and it’s attempting to see if you need it in your home like you have lights on, or are using some form of power, what it will do is put it right back into SDG&E’s grid system. SDG&E is going to take that and use it for what they need for other customers or your neighbors.
Why don’t you get that power? Well, your solar energy system is designed to cover your average power bill in most cases. That’s how we do it and why you’re connected to the grid.
The Grid Gives Back Power at Night
What’s cool about being connected to the grid, SDG&E in this example, is they’re going to give you that power back at night when you need it, and they’re going to give it back to you at the rates you’ve already agreed to with the solar company. It’s not like you’re buying that power again from them at a higher price or something. You don’t have to worry about that.
SDG&E and the solar companies out there already have that agreement in place with a net meter. A net meter reads your energy forwards and backward, and your solar pumps it in. It’s just keeping track of the power you’re using through that net meter. That’s what its job is.
It's Worth The Connection Fee
If a solar company or your neighbor tells you to get solar and you’ll never have to pay SDG&E or whoever your power company is ever again, they’re lying or misinformed. You will have some kind of bill from your new utility company.
It might only be a $10 connection fee per month, but there is still a bill regarding your connection with them.
Regardless, you’re going to save a massive amount of money. It’s worth the connection fee.
Another question we want to address is, why do people get batteries? Sometimes we get power outage warnings, or a storm comes and shuts down the power. This is where having a battery comes in handy.
If you have a backup battery with your solar system, your solar system is connected to the grid. The batteries connected to your solar system and its intelligence software are working together to say if the power goes out on the grid, kick the battery into gear, and pull power from the battery.
There's No Need for a Generator
You can program the battery in different ways. There are options on an app to tell it when you want to use that battery power or not. It’s pretty neat. It’s an automatic switch that happens when the power goes out. It’s not like starting up a generator.
Having a battery means you don’t have to worry about having a generator and putting gas in it or whatever fuels the traditional generators. That battery replaces that option.
Going Solar is Cheaper and More Convenient
Primarily solar in every shape and form, if you do it right and get the right system in place, it’s going to be cheaper and more convenient. And it’s going to allow you to face any circumstance that may come up with power now. If the power goes out, who cares? You got a battery if you chose one.
If the power goes out and you don’t have a battery, it’s still OK. When the power comes back on, so does your solar and the power is still going, and everything’s fine and safe. It’s a win-win either way. If you choose to be with or without a battery, you’re going to be connected to the grid, and solar is still going to save you money.
We hope this clears up any confusion around these topics. If you have any questions on these topics that we didn’t cover here, leave a comment and we will do a blog addressing your questions.