As energy rates spike and frustrations with local utility companies continue to increase, a growing number of homeowners here in Massachusetts are seeking out ways to become more energy independent. We often get asked if it is possible to go completely off-grid with solar here in Massachusetts.
Installing solar is one of the best investments you can make for greater energy independence, and it comes with options which allow you to decide exactly how much energy usage to offset.
Will you reduce your reliance on the power grid significantly by installing a grid-tied solar PV system, or will you cut ties with your local utility completely by installing an off-grid system? Or, will you opt for an in-between, hybrid option? We’ll explain what each of these systems means and help you choose which solar system is right for your home.
One of the most important decisions you will need to make when you invest in residential solar is whether to install a grid-tied, off-grid, or hybrid system and understand what each of these mean. Here is a brief look at the benefits of each option, and what the implications are for your solar panel installation.
Grid-tied solar systems are designed to provide a large percentage of your electricity needs while still allowing you to draw from the power grid as needed. During the day when the sun is shining, your grid-tied system supplies free and clean power for your home. Then, at night, you draw any electricity you need from the power grid.
Grid-tied systems are a popular option here in Massachusetts because they have a lower upfront cost but still offset a significant portion of a household’s electrical needs. Plus, if your solar system generates more electricity than you need during the day, you have the option to “sell” that electricity back to your local utility for credit if your utility participates in net metering.
If you want to completely cut ties with your local utility company, you must install an off-grid system. Off-grid solar systems have more solar panels, plus a backup generator and enough battery storage to provide 100% of a household’s electricity needs.
Off-grid solar is typically only for properties that do not have access to the utility grid. If you are someone who heavily values energy independence and therefore want to minimize your reliance on the grid but not fully ready to go completely off-grid, you may want to consider a hybrid system.
If you are looking for something like a hybrid of grid-tied and off-grid solar, you might consider a grid-tied system with a solar battery. This option is similar to an off-grid system in that it features battery storage, but it is not large enough to provide 100% of your electricity needs.
With this option, you can enjoy the greater energy independence that solar-plus-storage offers, without installing quite as large or expensive of a system on your property. Keep in mind, however, that solar batteries are still relatively expensive compared to solar panels.
Let’s review your solar PV system options again:
|System Type||Upfront Cost||Energy Independence||Battery Storage||Grid Connection|
|Hybrid||Moderate||More than with grid-tied||Yes||Yes|
Ultimately, the best way to determine which solar system type is best for you is to talk to a local solar contractor. Boston Solar is the #1 residential solar installer based in Massachusetts, serving homeowners from the North Shore down to the South Shore and Western Mass over to the greater Boston area.
If you’re interested in reducing your energy bills and achieving greater energy independence with an investment in solar, get in touch with our team to get a free quote and discover your system options!