Off-Grid or Stand-Alone

Off-grid systems are not tied to any utility power lines and are most common in remote areas where connecting to the utility grid is more expensive than purchasing an off-grid system. In off-grid systems, the solar electric system represents the home’s main source of power. Batteries store unused solar energy for use at night. Generators, small wind systems, and other fuel sources are sometimes used as backup power when the solar power stored in the batteries is not enough to meet household needs. These systems consist of the following:

  • Solar panels mounted on the roof or ground
  • An inverter to convert electricity produced by the system from DC into AC energy
  • A rectifier (sometimes used to change AC to DC and back again to get the most use out of a system)
  • A charge controller to prevent overcharging the battery
  • A junction box that connects the solar panel wiring to the breaker panel on the home
  • A junction box for backup power supply from a generator
  • A utility meter that displays the amount of power used, produced, and stored in the battery bank



Grid-Connected

Grid-Connected with Battery Back-up



Types of Solar Electric Systems

Grid-Connected

Grid-Connected with Battery Back-up

Off-Grid or Stand-Alone

Types of Solar Panels

Silicon Solar Panels

Thin-Film Solar Panels

Future Solar Panels

Costs & Incentives
Financing
Incentives
Net Metering
Red Flags for Solar Scams
Choosing a System
Purchasing Solar
Solar Leasing
Community Solar
Installation and Maintenance
Choosing an Installer or Contractor
Questions to ask a solar installer
What should my solar bid include?
How Solar Works
Types of Solar Panels
Types of Solar Electric Systems
Resources
Solar Legislation
Reports and Publications
Training Programs
Solar Related Terms
Local Government Resources
Solar Press

Solar Photos

Office of Regulatory Staff
Energy Office
1401 Main Street, Suite 800
Columbia, SC 29201