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Living off the Grid

Grid-tie or Off-grid, which is best?

Solar energy’s time has come. Governments are subsidizing installations. Power companies are paying grid-connect system owners for the power they put into the grid. The price of components is going down day by day. In many situations, solar power is at or close to parity with fossil-fuel generated power in terms of production cost. It looks as though we are headed for a rosy, sunny, solar-powered future.

It isn’t quite that simple. Solar Power generation is heading for an important crossroads, and it is vital to be ready to deal with it.

The Corporate Backlash.

In the beginning, power companies welcomed domestic grid-connect power systems. They got energy from these systems at a price below what it cost them to produce it from their own plants, and sold it on to their customers at a profit. It helped to ease the pressure on over-stretched production facilities. The domestic system owners were happy. It seemed like a win-win.

As solar grid-connections began to proliferate, the power companies got a bit uneasy. Too much grid-connect solar power could be a problem. Energy corporations have a massive investment in infrastructure. Coal-fired and nuclear power plants are expensive to build, and need to be run at capacity over their long life-times to generate a sufficient return.

The Threat to Grid-connect Solar Installations

If the input from domestic solar reaches a certain point, there will be less demand on the big plants; they might have to reduce output, or even shut down plants that aren’t needed in periods of high solar input. Power companies have already begun to introduce measures to address this problem. We can expect them to progressively penalize grid-connect customers, in effect, charging them for the privilege of producing solar electricity, and dampening the incentive for new installations.

Stay Ahead of the Game.

The message is clear, and we need to take action early to avoid being caught in another corporate money trap. Our advice is, if you’re planning a new solar installation, make provision for off-grid storage, because the time may come where your grid-connect will become a liability. At that point, you need to be ready to go completely off-grid. You’ll be protected against corporate greed, and immune to the inevitable outages that global warming’s increasing climate disasters will bring. It’s the way of the future, so start preparing for it now.

If you’re ready to disconnect, check out our Off-grid Options section for the optimal solution.

About Rex

I'm an ex-navy radio man who is passionate about energy independence. I look forward to the day when all our power needs come from renewable sources.

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