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Pros and Cons Of Off-Grid vs. Hybrid Solar Systems
Pros and Cons Of Off-Grid vs. Hybrid Solar Systems

Pros and Cons Of Off-Grid vs. Hybrid Solar Systems

Published on:
May 30, 2024

If you’re thinking about long-lasting, cost-effective energy, you should consider renewable energy like solar power. There are three types of solar panel systems: on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid. 

Today, we’ll look closely at the most common system, the hybrid setup, and compare it with the off-grid option. Also, we’ll learn about the pros and cons of off-grid vs. hybrid solar systems. 

If you want to be sustainable and save on energy costs in the long run, you should look into renewable energy systems. For solar power, you need to choose between off-grid, on-grid, or hybrid solar systems 

Picking the right one can help you save money on energy and give you a good return on your investment over time. 

One type of solar panel system might be great for some homeowners but not for others. Each system has its advantages, so understanding the details and benefits of each will help you make the right choice.

Off-grid solar systems

An off-grid solar system is a setup where your home generates all its electricity and is not connected to the utility grid at all.  

The solar panels collect energy, which is then stored in the home’s batteries through a charge controller. When you need power, it comes from the batteries through an inverter to run your appliances. 

An off-grid system requires solar panels, a lot of battery storage, and usually a backup power source like a gas generator. These systems are often used by people in rural areas or remote cabins where the utility grid isn’t reachable. 

Off-grid systems allow people in these remote areas to have electricity. They also make you more self-reliant since you don’t depend on a utility company for power. 

However, off-grid systems are costly because you require a lot of batteries to store enough power for your home.  

Also, living off-grid requires some lifestyle changes. You have to be very careful about how much energy you use and keep track of your solar energy production to make sure you have enough electricity.  

How Much Do Off-grid Solar Systems Cost?

Off-grid solar systems typically cost between $50,000 and $65,000. This is about $30,000 more than a grid-tied system.  

The cost comes mainly from the battery storage, which alone can cost at least $20,000, depending on the appliances you want to power in your home. 

Some people try to save money by installing the system themselves, but this can be dangerous and should only be done if you are very sure you have the skills needed.  

What Equipments Do Off-Grid Solar System Uses

off-grid and hybrid system

Typical off-grid solar systems need the following components: 

  1. Standard solar equipment: This includes solar panels, racking, and wiring. Off-grid systems often use ground-mounted arrays, which are installed differently than rooftop panels.
  2. Solar batteries: These store solar energy for use when the panels aren’t producing enough electricity. Off-grid systems usually use lead-acid batteries, but lithium-ion batteries can also be used.
  3. Solar charge controller: This device is placed between the panels and the battery to prevent the battery from being overcharged.
  4. Off-grid inverter: Inverters convert the DC electricity from the solar panels into AC electricity for home use. Since they aren’t connected to the utility grid, off-grid inverters don’t need to match their phase.
  5. Additional DC disconnect: All solar systems have AC and DC safety disconnects, but off-grid systems have an extra DC disconnect between the battery and the inverter. This switch stops the current flow between the two, which is essential for maintenance and fire safety.
  6. Backup generator (optional): Since off-grid systems are not connected to the utility grid, they often include a backup gas generator to ensure there is an additional power source if needed. 

Hybrid solar systems

A hybrid solar system combines solar panels with batteries and the utility grid. In this setup, the solar panels send electricity to an inverter to power the home.  

Any extra energy goes to a charge controller and is stored in the batteries for later use. If the home requires more energy than the panels and batteries can provide, it can still get power from the grid. 

Hybrid systems are typically called solar-plus-storage systems because they include both solar panels and batteries. These systems are popular in places with frequent power outages or where full retail net metering isn’t available.  

Without a battery, solar panels can’t keep your home running during a power outage. Solar batteries help by storing energy for use when the panels aren’t producing power, reducing reliance on the grid, and increasing the use of clean energy. 

Additionally, batteries can save money if you don’t have full retail net metering, though they are expensive, and the savings might also cover the cost.  

Hybrid Solar Systems Cost

An average hybrid solar panel system costs at least $32,000. The total cost depends on the size of your system and the battery you choose. Installing a Tesla Powerwall costs about $14,000. 

The good news is that batteries qualify for the 30% federal tax credit. There are also local battery rebates and incentive programs available across the country to help reduce battery installation costs.  

What Equipment Do Hybrid Solar Systems Use?

Hybrid solar systems use similar equipment to grid-tied solar systems but also include components to connect a battery.  

Here is some standard equipment used in a hybrid solar system: 

  1. Standard solar equipment: This includes solar panels, racking, and wiring, which are essential for all solar installations.
  2. Solar battery: In a hybrid system, the battery stores excess solar energy and can also charge from the grid. Most residential hybrid systems use lithium-ion batteries.
  3. Hybrid inverter: This inverter converts energy from the solar panels, batteries, and grid, allowing them to work together. Some home solar batteries have the inverter built-in.
  4. Charge controller: This device prevents the battery from overcharging and ensures it operates safely.
  5. Additional DC disconnect: Hybrid systems have an extra DC disconnect switch between the battery and inverter to stop the current flow between them when needed.
  6. Updated electric meter: Your utility company may install a new or additional electric meter to track your energy use from the grid and your solar energy production. 

Pros and Cons Of Off-Grid vs. Hybrid Solar System

off grid

A hybrid solar system is grid-tied with battery storage. It uses a unique ‘smart’ inverter that can send direct current (DC) power to and from your batteries and direct alternating current (AC) power between the grid and your home when required. 

Hybrid systems give you complete control over your power while keeping you connected to the grid for emergencies. 

An off-grid solar system is not connected to the utility grid. This means you depend entirely on your solar panels for power. 

With an off-grid system, you require solar batteries to store energy and a backup generator for long periods of bad weather when the batteries might run out.

Pros of Hybrid Systems

Here are some advantages of a hybrid solar system: 

Reduced grid electricity use: Hybrid systems are grid-tied but come with battery storage, allowing you to use more power from your solar panels and less from the grid. 

Expandable and future-ready: You can expand hybrid systems by adding more panels or batteries. They may also work with new technologies, like using an electric vehicle (EV) as a battery. 

Cost savings with power management: Power management systems can optimize your energy use by running large appliances during peak sunlight hours, leading to lower utility bills and faster return on investment (ROI).


Higher upfront cost: The initial investment is higher because you need to install more equipment, like the smart hybrid inverter. Even though you might need fewer batteries than an off-grid setup, the cost is still significant. 

Pros of Off-grid

Complete energy independence: You won’t face power outages or changing power costs since you produce your power. This gives you great freedom as long as your energy needs are low. 

Eco-friendly and sustainable: Without a grid connection, you can reduce your carbon footprint. Your system won’t cause water pollution or greenhouse gas emissions, except when using a generator occasionally.  

Cons of Off-grid:

No grid backup: You can’t rely on grid power during bad weather or when your system requires maintenance. 

Higher initial costs: To power a whole home, you require more solar panels and large-capacity batteries. Batteries and generators are expensive and require maintenance. 

Complicated energy management: You must use power carefully, which might mean significant lifestyle changes, like using most of your power during the day and limiting nighttime activities.  

How to Pick the Best Solar System for You?


If you often have power outages, a hybrid system might be better for you. If you want to be energy independent and use the most renewable energy possible, a solar plus storage system could be ideal. 

Off-grid systems are less practical for most homeowners but are great for remote areas like mountain cabins. 

Both off-grid and hybrid systems can be good options, depending on your situation. There are many details to consider, especially if you’re busy building your dream home.  

For expert advice, contact Solar Emporium today! We can find you the best solar system for your specific needs. Get a free solar quote from us to get the best renewable energy solutions.

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