There are three types of solar energy installations:
How are they different? Let us examine each one.
1. On-Grid System
- Can be used in parallel with the grid
- Imagine the grid as a form of battery in this case – surplus of solar energy can be “stored” in the grid,
- In cloudy days you can withdraw that “stored” energy from the grid.
2. Off-Grid System
- Used in areas without the grid. Therefore, it requires a (physical) battery as an energy storage.
- Similar to On-Grid system, surplus of solar energy is stored, but this time in a real battery.
- The most expensive type of solar installation because of the requirement to get batteries.
- Battery lifetimes stay only for 8 to 10 years while solar project is usually expected to last for 20 years. This means that the batteries will need to be replaced at least once during the project lifetime.
3. Hybrid System
- Using diesel generator as backup power.
- Similar to Off-Grid system, Hybrid system is installed in areas without the grid, therefore it requires batteries as energy storage.
- However, because there is now a backup diesel generator, the batteries need not be as large as Off-Grid system, meaning lower costs can be achieved. This economics advantage is the reason why Hybrid system is popular in remote areas which are not yet exposed to the grid.