Grid Tied Solar Power Systems

electricity meter grid tie

Grid Tied Solar Power Systems

Grid tied solar power systems are the most common installed systems for companies and households who have access to the national electricity grid. But what is a grid tied solar power system and what are its advantages and disadvantage?

What is a grid tied solar power system.

In layman’s term a grid tied solar power system is a solar powered system which is connected to national power grid. While the sun is shining the photovoltaic solar panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity. Electricity generated by the system can be used for your home and business. Any excess power requirements which your solar panels can not supply will be taken from the national power grid. When the power grid is running properly, your home or business will use power generated from your solar panels and/or pull electricity from the grid. If at any time you generate more electricity from your solar panels as your current power requirements this excess power will feed back into the national power grid. This excess power fed back into the national power grid can give you credit’s on your electricity bill.

Advantages of a grid tied solar power system.

The main advantage of a grid tied solar power system is that you can start small and gradually add on to the system depending on your power requirements and budget. Your power requirements should always be met. If you don’t generate enough energy through solar the national electricity grid will supply the extra power requirements. Excess power for example on weekends when a business generally requires less electricity can be fed back into the national grid. With A grid tied system you can start reducing your electricity bill with a relative low investment.

Disadvantages of a grid tied solar power system

The disadvantage of a grid tied solar system is it only works during the day when the sun is shining and when the national power grid is fully functional. If during the day the national electricity grid fails due to for example load shedding your grid tied solar power system will switch of automatically as well. All grid tied systems will switch off during a power outage because these systems are required by law to feature an automatic shut-off mechanism. These requirements are in place to protect workers working on the power grid during a power outage. This is known as an Anti-Islanding requirement.

So in short the system will not save energy during the night as you will be fully depending on your national power grid and they will not provide electricity during blackouts and load shedding.

Conclusion.

A grid tied solar power system will save money but you will always be depending on the national power grid for your electricity needs.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels can be divided into two different types. You have the Photovoltaic Solar Panels and then you have your Solar thermal collector. Both use the energy from the sun and convert it to power or hot water.

Photovoltaic solar panels & solar thermal collectors can be used independently of each other or in combination. They both serve a different purpose.

Photovoltaic solar panels.

Photovoltaic solar panels collect light from the sun and converts this light into usable electricity. These solar panels can be connected to a battery system to store electricity for use when the sun is not shining. You can have grid tied systems which means you are still connected to the main electricity grid. Off grid systems are stand alone systems where one is not connected to the main electricity grid to have uninterrupted power a battery backup system is required.

Solar thermal collectors.

Solar thermal collectors convert the solar energy received from the sun into hot water or hot air. These solar panels are commonly used in South Africa for heating pools, heating water for use in showers and baths. Considering hot water requirements for a modern household are a major contributor to electricity bills. Investing in solar thermal collectors is a worthwhile investment which should pay for itself. They are also a great solution for the many areas in South Africa which have not been electrified. It will provide cheap hot water for our daily needs.

Solar thermal collectors are more commonly installed than Photovoltaic solar panels due to the technology being simpler and more affordable. If electricity keep rising then we might see more installations of photovoltaic solar panels.

Solar Pool Heating

Solar pool heating is an affordable way to heat your pool to a comfortable temperature for a once of investment in Pool Solar Panels. After the initial investment there are basically no running cost to heat your Pool. Solar Panels for solar pool heating can be installed quickly by the professionals or you might opt for the DIY route. Either way solar panels for pool heating are an affordable investment which is going to give you years of swimming pleasure.

Some advantages of a solar pool heating are

  • You can extend your swimming season with a few months.
  • No running cost once installed. It uses the free energy from the sun
  • Environmentally friendly as it uses the sun to heat the pool.
  • Solar pool heating is maintenance free.
  • Solar Pool Heating is an investment and increases property value

The only requirement is that you run your pump during the day while the sun is shining instead of during the night. As you have to run your pump/filter in any case to keep your pool clean there should be no extra cost at all for a free heated swimming pool.

Combine the solar pool heating with a solar blankets, solar blankets also known as thermal blankets will stop heat loss from the pool at night. Another benefit of solar blankets is reduced loss of chemicals and a cleaner pool.

In conclusion invest in solar panels to enjoy your warm pool more and for a longer period at no running costs courtesy of the free energy provided by the sun.

Now if only the pool could maintain itself.

Solar Pool Heating

Heated Swimming Pool