There are four main types of solar power systems on the market. Some you may know of, and some you may not. The most common solar system for the commercial and the residential market is the grid connect solar power system. This is the system that allows homes and businesses around Australia to sell solar power back to the energy retailers.
Types of solar power systems
Recreational & portable solar
(Portable solar traditionally used when camping, boating and fishing)
Grid connect solar panels
(Most popular with the domestic and commercial solar market)
Battery storage or off grid
(Also known as stand-alone solar power and battery backup solar power)
Hybrid solar power
(This is reasonably new and combines grid-connect solar with battery storage)
Grid connect solar, battery storage or Hybrid?
Out of the above installation types, the most common residential solar power system setup is a grid connect solar panels.
With a grid connect solar panels, any excess power that you generate can be sold to your electricity retailer. This is a major incentive for many homes and businesses to install solar panels.
Be aware though, each of Australia’s state governments have their own set of rules relating to selling excess power back to the electricity retailers. We’ve broken this down for you on the solar panel rebates page. It’s also a good idea to ask your electricity retailer what the going rate is in your location, prior to committing to purchase.
Q: Will solar panels supply energy for my home during a power blackout?
This is because your grid connect solar inverter comes standard with an automatic cut-off sensor designed to protect electricians from being electrocuted whilst they are working on the issue that’s causing the blackout. So in the unlikely event of a blackout, you will not be making money from your solar power system and you will not be able to power your household appliances. Unless you purchase a hybrid system, which we will touch on later on.
The alternative to a grid connect solar system is a stand-alone solar power setup.
This option is more common in rural areas where homes are not connected to the main electricity grid. As you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult to charge your phone or use a hair dryer in the middle of nowhere, so in this case an off-grid solar setup is an an excellent alternative to ‘No Power’. An off-grid system is also more affordable than connecting to the mains in most cases, hence the boom in battery storage.
Hybrid solar installations are becoming more and more common these days thanks to the advancements in technology and we could soon see this option increase in popularity. Again, the cost can climb with this type of setup and when you weigh up the solar power return on investment, in most cases it’s not an economically responsible choice compared to grid-connect.
Disadvantages with battery storage and hybrid solar power
- Batteries need to be maintained regularly and this can be expensive
- Batteries need to be replaced every three years or so, this can also be expensive
- Batteries require significant storage space, so you will need to have a shed or spare room available.
- As more electrical components are required, there is more that can go wrong
- You need an expert off-grid solar installer to design your system. Otherwise you may be left in the dark.
In our opinion grid-connect solar power systems are defiantly the way to go.
Both stand-alone and grid connect solar power systems have their pros and cons, depending on your location and what you aim to achieve by installing solar power.