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Last updated: November 23, 2023

Solar Panel Systems Guide US 2024

Find the Right Solar Panel System for Your Home

Solar panels systems for homes

Solar panel systems use the natural energy of the sun to produce electricity, giving you the option of using clean, green energy. With a nearly 40% rise in energy bills over the last decade, people have started realizing the benefits and importance of clean, green energy. Moreover, this clean, renewable energy is available at a fraction of the utility bills you pay to the companies offering power through the grid.

Our guide talks about the different types of solar panel systems, their benefits, and factors you should consider before opting for either of the solar panel systems. Our comprehensive guide will help you make an informed decision regarding which system to opt for.

If you’re thinking of going green and reducing your carbon footprint, now’s the time. Fill out the form below and get up to three free quotes for solar panel systems. Our service is free with no obligation.

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How Solar Panel System Works?

Solar panel on rooftop

A solar panel system is usually placed on the rooftop of your home. Several solar panels, made of semiconductor material silicon, or other such material, are placed together. These panels are equipped with PV cells, which absorb the sunlight. This creates an electric charge, which is then passed through the wiring of the solar panel system as direct current (DC). The DC is then converted into alternating current (AC), which provides electricity to your home.

Is Solar Energy Clean and Renewable?

This form of energy is clean and completely renewable. The parts used for the composition of solar panels can be recycled, which further reduces your carbon footprint. Moreover, solar energy is comparatively quite cheap, allowing you to be free from the fear of higher energy bills.

The Different Types of Solar Panel Systems for Homes

If you’ve decided to go green and reduce your carbon footprint, it is important for you to be aware of the different types of solar panel systems that you can install. Depending on several factors such as the area of your residence, you can select the system that best fits. There are three main types of solar panel systems that you can install:

  • Grid-tied solar system
  • Off-grid solar system
  • Hybrid solar system

Now that you know what three types of solar systems you can install, let us delve into understanding what each of these systems is and how they work.

Grid-Tied Solar System

Grid-tied systems are by far the most commonly installed solar systems in homes across the US. This system is typically connected to the power grid of a local utility company. There are three key components to a grid-tied system that help generate electricity in your home. These three components are explained below:

  1. Solar Panels: Solar panels consist of photovoltaic (PV) cells which absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. As mentioned above, solar panels are typically installed either on your roof or in an area with maximum sun exposure.
  • Inverter: The solar panels, upon absorbing sunlight generate direct current (DC) electricity, which passes through the wiring of the solar panel system. Most of your home appliances require alternating current (AC) instead of the DC that is generated by solar panels. This is where the inverter jumps in and converts the direct current into alternating current. This current can then be used in your home and also sent back to the grid.
  • Net Meter: A net meter is used for measuring the amount of electricity generated by the solar system and the amount consumed from the grid. If the electricity generated is less than what is consumed in your household, the surplus electricity is fed back into the grid. At this point, the meter starts running backward, crediting you for the excess power generated by your solar system.

Now that we know what a grid-tied solar system is, let us take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Grid-Tied Solar Systems

  • Save on energy bills
  • Simple to install
  • Affordable
  • No backup power
  • Grid dependent

Like every system, a grid-tied solar panel system comes with its own set of pros and cons. The pros and cons listed below will help you make an informed decision regarding your choice of solar panel system.


One of the major advantages of a grid-tied system is cost savings on your energy bills. A solar system allows you to generate your own electricity along with giving you the benefit of net metering. Upon generating excess electricity, the system is able to feed it back into the grid, giving you a credit on your energy bills.

These systems are simple to install as they do need battery storage of any kind. This also makes them more affordable since you will save on additional battery charges.

Another advantage of installing a grid-tied system is that you can always rely on the grid for power supply in case of insufficient production of solar power.


One of the major disadvantages of a grid-tied system is that there is no storage of power, which means there is no backup power available. If there’s a grid outage, you’ll lose power supply despite having a solar system. This is mainly because, during power outages, the system automatically shuts down for safety reasons.

This also means that you are completely dependent on and have to rely on the grid for power supply. This may become a problem, especially if you’re living in an area with frequent power outages or unreliable grid infrastructure.

Off-Grid Solar Systems

Off-grid systems are standalone or independent systems that aren’t connected to the utility grid. These systems are specifically designed to generate and store enough electricity to meet your entire household’s electricity needs without having to rely on the grid.

There are four key components of an off-grid solar system that help generate electricity. These four components are:

  1. Solar Panels: Solar panels, just like in a grid-tied system, are used to generate electricity by capturing sunlight.
  • Charge Controller: A charge controller’s function is to regulate the charge going into the battery bank. This is mostly for the purpose of avoiding overcharging and damage to the batteries.
  • Battery Bank: Since this system is independent of the utility grid, there is nowhere to feed the excess electricity generated. An off-grid system is equipped with a bank of solar batteries that store the excess electricity, which can be used during the night or times with low sunlight.
  • Inverter: An inverter converts the DC electricity generated and stored in the batteries into AC electricity for household use.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Off-Grid Solar System

  • Autonomy & freedom
  • Suitable for remote/rural areas
  • Energy Storage
  • High upfront costs
  • Regular battery maintenance
  • Difficulty determining system size


One of the major advantages of installing an off-grid system is that gives you complete autonomy and freedom over the generation and storage of electricity. Your solar system is completely independent of the utility grid, which also means that grid power outages will not affect you.

An off-grid system is especially beneficial if you’re living in rural or remote areas, where the grid connection is either expensive or difficult to get.

The battery bank stores the excess electricity generated by the system. This means that you’ll have power even during grid outages, days with less sunlight, or seasonal changes.


The autonomy and freedom of an off-grid solar system come with a higher upfront cost. The cost goes comparatively higher because these systems require larger solar arrays and battery banks for storage of excess electricity generated.

An addition to the overall cost is regular battery maintenance. The batteries used require regular maintenance and replacement, which adds to your cost.

Off-grid systems being independent of the utility grid need to be able to meet the energy demands of your house. Determining the system size is therefore very important and quite challenging. The system installed should be able to meet the energy requirements as well as accommodate periods of time/days with low sunlight.

Now that you know what an off-grid solar system is, it’ll help you make an informed decision regarding installing the system. You should note that each of the systems comes with specific configurations and components that vary based on factors such as energy consumption, location, local regulations, and individual preferences.

It is advisable to consult a solar panel system installer to determine the best fit for your home. However, the process of contacting installers one by one, explaining your requirements and requesting quotes is a tiring, time consuming process. At GreenMatch, we can make the process simpler. Simply click on the button below and we will get you in touch with up to 3 installers and their quotes for you to compare.

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Hybrid Solar Systems

A hybrid solar system, as the name suggests, comes with a combination of both grid-tied and off-grid systems. These solar systems are connected to your local utility grid and are equipped with a battery bank for storing backup power. As a result, you can enjoy the best of both worlds, save on energy bills through net metering, and yet enjoy electricity during grid outages.

During grid power outages, your system will automatically switch to battery power. This allows critical loads to continue running even during power outages. Some hybrid systems offer time-of-use optimization, which means that the system will use stored energy during peak electricity pricing hours. This will further help you save on energy bills.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hybrid Solar System

  • Independence
  • Backup power
  • Time-of-use optimization
  • High initial costs
  • Regular battery maintenance


One of the major advantages of a hybrid solar system is that it not just gives you independence from the utility grid for power, but also stores backup power. This will allow you to use solar power and reduce your carbon footprint, save on energy bills, and access backup power during grid outages.

Some of the hybrid systems support time-of-use optimization, which allows you to use stored energy during peak electricity pricing hours, further helping you save on energy costs.

Hybrid systems help enhance your home’s resiliency and ensure that critical loads continue to operate during power outages.


Similar to off-grid solar systems, hybrid systems have a higher initial cost. There are additional components such as batteries that add to the upfront cost.

Similar to off-grid systems, hybrid systems require battery maintenance and replacement over time, adding to the overall system cost and maintenance requirements.

Factors to Consider Before Installing Solar Panel System

  • Assess Energy Consumption
  • Location of Your House
  • Roof Inclination
  • Cost & Finances

Installation of solar panel systems needs to be considered carefully. Several factors will affect your decision and choice of the solar system you install. If you’ve decided to opt for a green, renewable alternative to a power source, then you’re in the right place. Below, we’ve briefly explained the factors you need to consider, to help you make an informed decision.

First and foremost, you need to assess the energy consumption of your entire household. Studying your past energy bills will help you evaluate and determine your average monthly and annual energy consumption patterns. Energy Consumption: Assess your household’s energy consumption patterns. Review past electricity bills to determine your average monthly and annual energy usage. This will help you understand and assess the appropriate size of the system and also maximize your savings on energy bills.

House location is another important factor that you need to consider when thinking of installing a solar system. There should be enough open space available around the house for solar panels to receive adequate sunlight. It is important that there are no trees or nearby buildings that could hinder the sunlight. Roof inclination is another important factor to consider. A proper roof inclination ensures the solar panels get a good angle to absorb the sunlight.

Cost and finances are two other factors that you need to take into consideration. Installing a solar panel system makes you eligible for tax credits and rebates at the federal, state, and local levels. The cost of installing a solar system is also something you might want to evaluate, whether it fits your budget or not. Maintenance requirements and costs should also be evaluated along with the upfront cost of the system.

Considering the above factors, it would be advisable to compare quotes from different installers to get the best deals on costs, warranties, and services offered. At GreenMatch, we can make this process simple and fast for you. Simply click on the button below and we’ll get you in touch with up to 3 installers and their quotes for you to compare.

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