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Grid-tied PV systems are the most common and simplest installations.
Their size and capacity is calculated such that over the course of a year you produce as much power as you yourself use. During the summer you will have overproduction and build a $credit with your power company. During the winter months you will be using this credit to supplement your power usage by buying power from the Power company. This is know as Net metering.
These systems are virtually maintenance free. They depend on the power grid to function. In a power outage these systems cannot produce power and you will have no power. AC or DC coupling with battery backup can be added to existing or new systems to provide power to the whole house or critical appliances during a power outage. The additional cost for such add-ons would be $5,000-$10,000 depending on the capacity of the back-up and the desired days of autonomy.
A typical household will need a 5000–8000 Watt PV array to offset their power needs. Installation cost are $3.25 to $4.25 per Watt.