Take control of your solar energy with the right solar setup

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Published November 22nd, 2018 by Reposit Power

Take control of your solar energy with the right solar set-up

Take control of your solar energy 

In a world of infinite choice and an overwhelming supply of information, it can be hard to drudge through article after article, reading similar facts over and over again. Here at Reposit, we’re all about doing the hard work for you. When you’re starting your solar journey it can be daunting.  That’s why we’ve created a handy, detailed guide to help you choose the perfect solar set-up for your household.

Did you know there is more than one type of solar setup? In fact, there are three different types of solar setups:

  • Grid-connected solar setup
  • Off-grid solar setup, and
  • Hybrid solar set-up

But which one is right for you and your household?

 

Grid Connected Solar Setup

What is it?

Grid-connected solar is -  you guessed it - rooftop solar that connects to the electricity grid. Simply put, your accredited solar installer connects your solar setup to the main electricity grid.

How does it work?

  • During sunlight hours, your solar panels generate electricity from the sun, which you can use to power your household.
  • If you’re not using this electricity, it is sent to the electricity grid.
  • Electricity companies will pay you for any energy fed back to the grid. These are called solar feed-in-tariffs.
  • The amount you receive from your solar feed-in-tariff depends on which electricity company you’re with and what state you’re in.
  • Outside of sunlight hours (when your solar panels aren’t generating any electricity), you purchase electricity straight from the main grid for use.

Benefits of a grid-connected solar setup

Grid-connected setups are the most cost-efficient and popular option, as they’re easy to operate and require low maintenance.

By staying connected to the grid you will always have power when you need it, plus you get the added advantage of earning money from any solar your don’t use. When connecting your setup to a smart home management system like Reposit, you can keep track of how much solar power you’re using, versus how much you’re sending back to the grid.

Disadvantages of a grid-connected setup

Without a smart home energy management system like Reposit and a solar battery to store your excess solar energy, you only use solar power if you’re home during the day. As soon as the sun sets, you’re back to buying electricity off the main grid!

If you’re selling excess solar electricity for cheaper than you’re buying it for at night (as Reposit can cleverly tell you), then you’re not maximising your solar investment. For example, you could be selling your solar for 9 cents, but buying electricity at night for 27 cents.

Keep a track of how much you’re selling and buying with Reposit.

 

Off-Grid Solar Setups

What is it?

Ever wished for more energy independence? An off-grid solar setup is the remote country dweller’s best friend, especially in areas where main power grids aren’t readily available. It allows you to generate your own electricity without relying on the power grid. This means you’re completely self-reliant.

How does it work?

  • The electricity generated from your solar panels, powers your household needs.
  • If your solar setup doesn’t produce enough electricity, the main electricity grid isn’t there to back you up!
  • Many people who go off-grid have back-up power such as a solar battery, or small generator to power their homes during the night or when sunlight is lacking.

Benefits of an off-grid solar setup

For people in rural areas, going off-grid can be cheaper than connecting to the grid, and removes the need to purchase electricity from a electricity company. Off-grid systems can also be designed to power a single item, such as water pumps or large appliances, like a fridge.

Disadvantages of an off-grid solar setup

Off-grid systems only use the energy produced from your solar setup. If you use too much, your setup will shut down from low battery voltage. To keep your system completely off-grid, it’s likely you will need a backup source such as a solar battery or small generator.

Off-grid setups require specialist design and installation. The setup also requires regular maintenance, such as checking the battery electrolyte levels, although many new solar batteries don’t require this.

And last, but definitely not least, going off-grid means you aren’t able to utilise the full value of your solar set-up. You can’t sell your excess energy, or benefit from smart charging. For example, Reposit setups won’t be able to work their magic and sell your excess electricity back to the grid at the most profitable times.

Hybrid Solar Systems

What is it?

Want to be more independent from the grid, but don’t want to completely cut yourself off? A hybrid solar setup is what you’re after, and Reposit can help you achieve maximum efficiency.

A hybrid solar setup is a solar panel system coupled with a solar battery that is connected to the main electricity grid.

How does it work?

  • During sunlight hours, your solar panels generate electricity from the sun, which you can use to power your household
  • If you’re not using this electricity, it is stored in your solar battery.
  • If you produce more solar than your battery can store, the electricity is sent back to the main electricity grid
  • Electricity companies will pay you for any energy fed back to the grid. These are called solar feed-in-tariffs.
  • The amount you receive from your solar feed-in-tariff depends on which electricity company you’re with and what state you’re in
  • Outside of sunlight hours (when your solar panels aren’t generating any electricity), you can use the energy stored in your solar battery to power your home.

Benefits of a hybrid solar setup

The biggest advantage is that if you’re not at home during the day to enjoy your hard earned solar power, you can store it to use at night when you’re at home. This benefits you in two ways; the first is that you don’t have to pay expensive electricity prices at night, and the second is that you are decreasing the amount of coal-fired power you purchase from the grid.

Another big advantage is that in the event of a blackout, you can have power by connecting your solar battery to a blackout protection circuit - keeping your essentials on (such as your fridge).

Disadvantages of a hybrid solar setup

The initial cost of a hybrid systems can be expensive. Solar panels and solar battery prices have dropped in recent years and many governments have released subsidies for solar batteries. Get in touch with your local Government to see if you are eligible for a solar battery subsidy.

If you already have solar panels, not all solar batteries are compatible. But, a smart home management system like Reposit, can make different solar batteries and panels talk to each other.

Adding Reposit to your setup can maximise the value you get back from your initial solar investment. Reposit can predict the amount of electricity you will need, purchase extra electricity from the grid when it’s cheapest, and sell any excess electricity at the most profitable times. Find out more about how Reposit manages your solar setups.

Thinking about taking the next step? You can learn more about solar panels in our Beginners Guide To Solar Panels, or find out more about solar batteries by downloading our Beginners Guide to Solar Batteries.

Need help deciding on the right solar battery system for your home?