What is the difference between a whole home back up solar system and a critical loads solar backup system with grid tied.

With solar systems there are two common systems used as indicated above.  These two systems are used on a grid tied electrical system.  Grid tied meaning that you are both creating your own energy with solar and also connected to the energy provider.  Each system will reduce your energy consumption but one one can actually eliminate your energy bill if the system is sized correctly to do so.   That requires a properly sized solar array to generate the solar energy needed for the amount of energy consumption in your home.  It also requires a properly sized inverter to rectify the DC energy to AC energy that your home needs to use, and a properly sized battery storage to shift the loads during the hours of 4 pm to 7 am.  See my article on load shifting for more details on that topic.

Whole home back up is as it says it is.   You are providing all the power needed from the solar system to all of the circuits in the home.  The inverter can be installed between your meter and your main electrical panel in your home as is done with the All in One Inverters, or you can install a breaker in the main panel that the inverter feeds to back up the whole home.  Of course, this inverter needs to be sized correctly to handle the complete load of the home.  These methods provide power to all the circuits in your home, therefore a whole home backup system.

The critical loads system would be installed to only power a critical loads panel or panels with separated circuits as you classify as critical circuits for your home.  With this system it is often smaller and cannot eliminate your total energy bill from your provider.  It also would  require you to isolate the critical load circuits  during the installation of this system or have had it previously isolated during construction.  Each of these systems have their advantages and disadvantages.  With the whole home system, the cost is higher which could be considered as a disadvantage.  However the advantage to this system is that when the power goes out your whole home is still energized if you have battery backup when the solar is not available.

With the critical loads system, when you lose power from the grid, only the critical.loads receive power from the system using batteries when there is no solar production.   This can be seen as a disadvantage. The critical loads system is often less expensive so that can be considered as an advantage.   

These are important points to consider when talking to the installer and when picking the right system for you.  If you have any questions please contact me at sunnysidesolarcr@gmail.com or what’s app or cell at 506 6330-5137.   Ask for Neil.   I’m always happy to answer questions. Please visit my Facebook group called Costa Rica Solar Installation Reviews where you will find many other useful solar topics to help you through the process of understanding solar and all its benefits.  Until next time, have a great week.