With solar, you get a few different type of typical setups:
- On-grid without storage,
- On-grid with storage,
- or Off-grid.
An on-grid installation consists of solar panels connected to an on-grid inverter. An on-grid inverter cleverly manages power input into your household or business premises, by first using solar power and then supplementing and missing power with power from the grid. These types of installations are well suited for households or businesses that have heavy power usage during the day and want to save on their electricity bills.
These on-grid installations can not provide any solar power during the night.
On-grid with storage
An on-grid installation with storage is similar to an on-grid installation except that you have some form of method to store solar power collected during the day. This is typically done through either deep-cycle or lithium batteries. These setups can be configured to best suit the household / business power requirements in terms of battery charging priority, etc.
These on-grid installations can provide stored power during the night and during power outages.
An off-grid installation can by quite costly and is meant for someone that wants to go completely off the main utility's power grid or do not have access to utility power at all. Off-grid installations consist of solar panels connected to off-grid inverters that are linked to some form of power storage (deep-cycle, lithium, etc.). These systems are typically designed to use solar power to store power for night time use, but a sufficiently sized installation can both store power for nighttime use and provide power for daytime use.
All solar installations are only effective when combined with lifestyle changes, as documented in our answer about solar panel suitability.