Renovating Resources

There are three different types of solar PV electricity system: remote area power systems, grid-connect systems and combination systems.

Choosing a Solar Power System

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

Solar PV system types

A 3kW solar PV system on a good roof pitch.

A 3kW solar PV system on a good roof pitch.

There are three different types of solar PV electricity systems: grid-connected systems, stand-alone systems and hybrid systems.

Grid-connected solar PV system

A grid-connected, or grid-interactive, system is more often found in the city and suburbs. With such systems, solar panels produce energy that is fed directly into the mains electricity grid via a device called an inverter. The inverter allows electricity from the solar system to be used in the house, with any excess electricity simply flowing out into the mains grid.

Grid-connect system

Conversely, when the panels aren’t generating enough electricity to power the house, the grid will supply the extra power needed.

This is the simplest type of system and requires little or no maintenance, other than the occasional check to ensure it is still operating and maybe cleaning the solar panels if excessive dirt builds up.Solar PV Inverter

In some states, if you have a grid-connected system you may also be eligible for a feed-in tariff and get paid for the clean, green power you put back into the mains grid. When installing a grid-connected system ask your electricity retailer what feed-in tariff they offer as some are more generous than others.

Stand-alone solar PV systems

Stand-alone systems are not connected to the electricity grid. These are usually found in remote areas where there is no access to the mains electricity grid. For homes without a grid connection, energy storage must be supplied, as it is unrealistic to expect all energy use in the home to coincide with power production from the solar panels. This storage is usually provided by batteries.

Back-up generators usually running on some form of fossil fuel are also often included in stand-alone systems.

Hybrid solar PV systems

The third system is essentially a combination of the other two, where you have a grid-connected system that also has battery storage to allow home owners to utilise more energy from their solar PV system. Some inverters are designed to work with both a battery bank and as grid-connected, giving you the best of both worlds.

A hybrid system is similar in design to a stand-alone system, except for the grid connection. Combination inverters allow for not only a hybrid system, but can also charge the battery bank from grid power during off-peak times – a very handy feature.

A typical solar PV installation costs between $2000 and $8000

 

Sources:

  • Feature image credit to ©iStock.com/cierra45
Centre for Liveability Real Estate

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

In addition to their expertise in residential real estate, The Centre for Liveability Real Estate also works collaboratively with the sustainable design, construction, manufacturing and assessment and industries in the development of information on this site.

Leave a Reply