WHAT IS A GRID-TIED SYSTEM?
A grid-tied system is a hybrid, semi-automated system that generates and stores solar energy in photovoltaic cells, before converting that solar power into usable electricity, which is then connected to your city’s utility grid.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Grid-tied systems use solar inverters to convert the solar power into a form of usable electricity. The inverter connects to the local utility grid with a meter, which shows the you the number of kilowatt hours generated by your solar panels. When there is not enough electricity - for example, when the sun is not shining - the grid-tie system draws energy from the main grid to make up for the lack. However, when your solar system generates more electricity than needed, it is sold back to the main grid. Its semi-automated energy storage system generates electricity and links to the main utility grid, feeding any extra energy back to the city's grid.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GRID-TIED SYSTEM?
This hybrid system allows for residential or commercial properties to rely on either solar power or the main grid, depending on the circumstances. This is especially useful for businesses which rely on large amounts of power, as the grid-tied system allows them to save money by utilizing solar (a renewable resource), while still falling back on the main grid if the solar panels cannot generate enough electricity to meet their needs. For residential properties, the solar system also offsets the cost of the city's utility grid - and sometimes allows for families to earn a small amount of income in the course of selling energy back to the mains.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF THE GRID-TIED SYSTEM?
Because your solar energy is tied to the local public utility grid, you will lose power if the main grid goes down. Your solar power will do no good if there is a power outage in your city, because your power will immediately be shut off as well. This is not because you solar panels become ineffective in the event of a power outage, but because the energy can feed back into the public grid, damaging it or harming utility workers attempting to fix the system.