Home Solar Power Systems

Choosing a Residential Solar Power System

There are four types of home solar power systems available to homeowners. Which one is best, which is the most affordable, and which is right for your needs?

picture of home with solar panels on roof to illustrate home solar power systems

First, let's look at the different types of residential solar power systems.

Here are the current choices available to homeowners wishing to install a solar system:

  • A small stand-alone system
  • A complete stand-alone system
  • A solar panel/grid system that is connected to an electrical power source
  • A hybrid solar power system which combines solar, electric and a generator.

How do these types of solar power systems differ? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each?

Small Stand-Alone System Solar Power System

The small stand-alone system is designed to provide electrical power without incurring much cost. RV's, cabins, lights, backup power systems and portable power systems are perfect applications for this type of home solar power system.

The battery stores up the sun's power during the daytime and then the battery supplies the power required to the inverter upon "request".

The advantage of this type of solar power system is that it's an economic choice and it has the ability to store power overnight. The drawback to this type of system is that it only operates when the sun is shining.

Stand-alone home solar power systems are a great choice for operating small ventilation fans, circulation pumps, and water pumps as well as for smaller spaces. Batteries are required for storing energy.

Complete Stand-Alone Solar Power System

If you're looking for the most efficient home solar power system, the complete stand-alone may be your best choice. Do you want to go completely off-grid? Would you enjoy receiving a check from the power company?

This type of system allows people to be self-sufficient, regardless of their geographic location. Complete stand-alone systems require up to 2 inverters to enable larger appliances within the home to operate efficiently.

The one drawback is that you must have the necessary storage area to store the batteries required to store solar energy. This system is fantastic for rural or remote locations.

Solar Panel and Grid System

This type of home power system is designed specifically to operate in conjunction with and is connected to a grid, or electrical power. A grid-tie system is ideal for adding to an existing house that is currently relying on the power company for energy.

One of the biggest benefits of home solar power systems like this is that there are several tax credits and incentives available through your state or federal government. This type of system will also reduce your energy costs and possibly your check to the power company.

However, perhaps the biggest drawback with this type of system is that there is no battery storage unless you add one as a backup in the case of a power failure.

Hybrid Solar Electric and Solar Generator System

Home solar power systems of this type are ideal for those homes located in climates or geographic locations that do receive sunlight, but perhaps at a rate that is less than most other places in the world.

Even if the sun isn't shining, the hybrid system can charge the battery and deliver power. One excellent benefit of this type of solar home system is that the solar panels are connected to a generator that will turn on when the solar panels can no longer produce power under their own.

Remote locations can benefit greatly from this type of solar energy generated system.

Homeowners need to consider what energy needs they have and the geographic location for which they want to use home solar energy system. These two factors will help anyone trying to decide between these four systems and help to guide them toward the best system for their location.

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