Answer: ‘Grid connect’ solar energy systems are the most common of solar energy systems in Australia, and just as it sounds means that your system is connected to the electricity grid. This has two benefits for you. Firstly, any solar energy you produce but do not need can be exported to the grid and provide you with a small credit from your electricity retailer. And secondly, you still have the electricity grid there to provide your home or business with electricity at times when your solar energy system is not producing enough solar energy to cover the amount of electricity that you need at that same point in time.
‘Off grid’ (or standalone) solar energy systems are a bit different, in that they are not connected to the electricity grid. These systems are most typically installed in remote areas that have a limited or no available connection to the grid, or areas where the grid electricity connection is unreliable or unstable. Unlike grid connect systems, off grid systems do not have the electricity grid as a backup and therefore they must be designed with enough battery backup and/or a diesel generator to supply the property with sufficient electricity during periods of inclement weather or low solar energy production.
Whilst the idea of going completely “off grid” is attractive to many people, you should always consider what your main electricity goals are when determining what sort of system would suit you best, and also what your budget is. Your ZEN Energy consultant will be able to help guide you through the options and determine a solution that fits your needs and budget.
Answer: A standard solar energy system consists of photovoltaic (PV) panels mounted to your roof, and an inverter or inverters that converts the direct current (DC) electricity that the panels produce into alternating current (AC) power that is used in your home or business.
If your system does not have a battery connected to it, any solar energy you produce and do not consume straight away will be exported to the electricity grid and you will receive a small credit from your electricity retailer for this exported energy.
If your system does have a battery connected to it, any solar energy you produce and do not consume straight away will first be directed to your battery to store the energy for use later on when you need it (for example at night or when it is cloudy). Any extra solar energy will then only be exported to the electricity grid once your battery is fully charged.