There are several advantages to maintaining a grid connected solar system. Though it’s absolutely possible to run independently of a power grid connection, doing so allows you to bypass the costs involved in energy storage by allowing you to feed unused solar energy directly into the power grid, where you will receive a feed in tariff from your retailer. With this approach, you use natural resources when they are available and use the traditionally available power from the grid for the remainder of your energy needs.
Stand-alone solar power systems are incredibly useful in areas with limited (or completely unavailable) utilities. Using a completely off grid solar systems requires some extra equipment in the way of batteries and/or other energy storage devices, but the result is complete independence from any outside utility provider. One of the pitfalls of the off-grid solar system is that you often waste unused energy, as battery storage is limited. In certain places, there are also regulations that dictate that residences and businesses must be tied into a grid. Going off-grid means complete utility freedom, but if this is the route you take, it’s best to invest in some heavy-duty solar storage devices and to double check all local laws and regulations to make sure off-grid is an option for your area.
Though it does require additional investment in the form of batteries, it is very possible to get the best of both worlds by building a solar system that only uses traditional utility power as a back-up. In this scenario, rather than funnelling your excess solar energy back into a power grid, you store it yourself. If you plan well and create enough storage, you can put yourself in a position of only using the power grid for cases of extreme energy use or very limited sunlight availability.