Renewable Energy can be applied in three different ways, depending on your energy needs;
A system not connected to the "grid". These systems are installed in remote areas where there is no utility-supplied power, like holiday cabins or acreages. These systems run on a battery bank that stores power from solar or wind for consumption.
It is often less expensive to install a renewable energy system than having electricity cables run to the site. Excess energy is stored in batteries for use during times where there is no sunshine or wind.
Grid Tie (& Net Metering Agreement):
A system that is connected to the "grid" (utility supplied electricity), but the owners wish to produce free energy with NO battery back up. With no battery bank there is a substancial cost savings. These systems will not supply your home with power in the event of a power outage.
In most Provinces any excess energy produced can be sold back to the utility company. Your local utility provider (listed on your power bill) may install an electronic bi-flow meter which tracks the energy consumed and/or being produced by your system. When customers produce more than they consume, they receive a credit that goes to their account and can be applied against future consumption charges. At an anniversary date, the customer will be credited for any excess generation.
Grid Tie Back-up:
A system connected to an unreliable "grid" or one of poor quality. These types are usually installed in areas where power blackouts occur. This system is connected to the grid but also includes a battery bank. Power is taken from the grid while operating to charge batteries to provide a back up generaton for power in the event of an outage. A small system will service the most important electrical appliances and lights, but a larger system will be required to keep the majority of the house running during a blackout.