Understanding the differences between On-grid, Off-grid (Hybrid), and On-grid Solar Inverters with Energy Storage Systems

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Understanding the differences between On-grid, Off-grid (Hybrid), and On-grid Solar Inverters with Energy Storage Systems

Solar energy has emerged as a clean and sustainable alternative to traditional energy sources, offering individuals and businesses the opportunity to harness the power of the sun to generate electricity. As the demand for solar power systems continues to grow, it's crucial to understand the key differences between on-grid, off-grid (hybrid), and on-grid inverters with energy storage solar systems. Each system has its own set of advantages and considerations, catering to different needs and circumstances, and being able to understand the differences, the up and down sides of each system, as well as your own personal needs and usage requirements will help you better select the system that benefits you the most. 

We know these terms can get a little confusing at times. So here’s a quick beginner’s guide to the respective types of solar inverters.



On-grid solar inverters, otherwise known as grid-tied or grid-connected systems, are the most common and straightforward type of solar installation. These systems are directly connected to the local utility grid, allowing users to draw electricity from the grid when their solar panels are not producing enough power, such as during the night or on cloudy days. Conversely, excess electricity generated by the solar panels can be fed back into the grid, often earning users credits or compensation through net metering programs.

-- Advantages

  • Cost-effective installation: On-grid systems are generally more affordable since they don't require extensive energy storage. 

  • Cost-saving in the long-run: Since the excess electricity generated by the solar panels can be exported to the grid for credits or monetary compensation, On-grid systems can indirectly help to reduce electricity bills significantly.

-- Considerations

  • Grid Dependence: On-grid systems are vulnerable to grid outages, meaning users may experience power loss during blackouts unless they invest in additional backup solutions like batteries.

  • Regulatory Policies: Policies governing net metering and grid connections vary by region and can impact the financial viability of on-grid systems. However, if there are no issues with your area’s policy, an On-grid solar inverter definitely becomes a huge advantage for cost-saving purposes.

On-grid inverter system



Unlike On-grid solar inverters, Off-grid (hybrid) solar inverters operate independently of the utility grid, making them suitable for remote areas or locations where connecting to the grid is impractical or expensive. These systems incorporate energy storage solutions such as batteries to store excess electricity generated during sunny periods, ensuring a continuous power supply on days when there is lack of sun. 

-- Advantages

  • Energy Independence: Off-grid systems offer complete autonomy from utility providers, making them ideal for remote locations or areas with unreliable grid infrastructure.

  • Predictable Electricity Costs: You can gradually amortize the initial cost of purchase and installation over the lifetime of the system (another reason why you should always get a good quality and dependable solar inverter to avoid unexpected future repair costs), and get to avoid having to pay for the often high and fluctuating commercial energy costs. 

  • Resilience: Off-grid systems are immune to grid failures, ensuring continuous power supply even during emergencies or natural disasters.

  • Expandability: As off-grid systems are independent, they are easy to expand as your energy needs change over time

-- Considerations

  • Higher up-front cost: Off-grid systems require additional backup batteries which are bulky and expensive. 

Off-grid hybrid inverter

 Explore our Off-grid Solar Inverter series here



As solar technology continues to advance, the existing solar inverter systems evolve over time, offering even more efficient and customizable solutions.

Aside from just the on-grid and off-grid inverters, we also carry an On-grid Solar Inverter system with additional Energy Storage options. This system combines the features of both on-grid and off-grid systems, offering the best of both worlds. The On-grid Solar Inverters connects to the grid, and also incorporates energy storage solutions, allowing users to store excess electricity for later use or in case of power outages. 

-- Advantages

  • Optimized Self-consumption: On-grid solar inverter with energy storage systems allow users to prioritize self-consumption of solar energy, reducing reliance on grid electricity and maximizing cost savings.

  • Backup Power: In the event of grid outages, the On-grid solar inverter with energy storage system can seamlessly switch to battery power, ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply.

-- Considerations

  • Complexity: On-grid solar inverter with energy storage systems involve more sophisticated technology and control mechanisms compared to standalone on-grid or off-grid systems, therefore increasing the overall installation and maintenance costs.

On-grid inverter with energy storage

Explore our On-grid Solar Inverters with Energy Storage series here


A quick summary...

Choosing the right solar system depends on various factors, including your energy needs, location that you live in or intend to install the system, preferences for grid independence, and of course, cost issues. 

In most cases, the choice of on-grid system is generally preferred for residential houses as on-grid solar inverters due to its lower costs and reliability. Aside from the costs, on-grid solar systems also do not require bulky battery storage solutions, as well as fewer solar panels as compared to an off-grid system since there is no need to produce extra power when there is little or no sunlight. 

On the other hand, if you live in the outskirts whereby it is too far or difficult to connect to the local electricity supply, then an off-grid solar system would be a much suitable choice for you. 

If you are concerned about electricity price hikes in the coming years, but do not want to invest in a battery yet, then perhaps a “battery-ready” option with an on-grid system might be the best for you. 

By understanding the differences between these solar systems, you can now make informed decisions to meet their energy goals while contributing to a sustainable future.


Explore our full Solar Inverter series here

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