Photovoltaic Power: 3 Ways to Use It

Switching to photovoltaic power not only saves you money, but it offers you energy independence as well.

Installing a solar energy system allows you to produce your own electricity, cutting your costs significantly while reducing or eliminating your dependence on the utility grid for power.

As you prepare to transition from traditional power sources to photovoltaic power, you must decide how much of a commitment you are prepared to make. Let’s take a closer look at your three main options for PV system configuration.

Grid-Tied Photovoltaic Power

Most business owners and homeowners choose to connect their photovoltaic power system to the utility grid, even if their panel array is capable of meeting all of their energy needs.

But if your PV system is producing all the electricity you need, why would you select a grid-tied installation?

The answer is simple: The sun isn’t always shining. Solar power works by capturing light from the sun and converting it into electricity. At night and on cloudy days, photovoltaic systems do not produce energy. Staying connected to the utility grid means that you’ll have electricity when you need it.

But grid-tied photovoltaic power systems have another advantage that appeals to many of our customers.

When grid-tied systems produce more electricity than is needed, the excess is fed back to the utility grid. Through the process of net metering, solar customers are paid by the utility company for the energy they contribute to the grid.

Off-Grid Photovoltaic Power

Do you live in a remote area, or have a weekend getaway or bug-out cabin? Staying off the grid actually may be cheaper than paying to have power lines extended to an isolated area.

But if your solar power system is not connected to the grid, that means you’ll be in the dark — literally — whenever the sun isn’t out. For that reason, not many people choose to be completely dependent on solar power.

Fortunately, you have a third option.

Off-Grid Photovoltaic Power with Battery Backup

The vast majority of customers who opt for off-grid solar install battery banks.

Batteries store excess energy created by the PV panel array so that it is available for use when the sun isn’t out. Installing a battery storage bank is essentially like having a backup power source.

Many customers living off-grid with solar energy also invest in generators. A generator can charge your battery bank as well as provide electricity to your home.

Going off-grid can require a larger investment than choosing grid-tied solar energy, as you must add the battery bank to your system. However, you’ll save more money over time because you’ll do away with your electric bill completely.

But even better, you will achieve true energy independence. For many customers, the ability to be self-sufficient is becoming more and more important.

Do you have questions about what type of installation is right for your home? Contact Intermountain Wind & Solar today. Serving customers in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado, we understand how important it is to save money and reduce your reliance on the power grid.

We look forward to helping you discover the benefits of photovoltaic power for your home or business.