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What exactly is a solenoid?

Hi everyone,

I'm looking into buying a regulator and have decided to buy from M3 (Monolith Marine Monsters).  They offer a CO2 system deluxe for $149 and a CO2 System Econo for $99 which is identical to the CO2 System  but without the Solenoid Valve. You may buy the Solenoid Valve separately.

I'm not really sure what a solenoid does and if I need one or not.  Is it worth the $50 difference.  Do you plug it into the wall? I'm running out of outlets already. My tank is a 75 gallon with 160 watts of light.

Below are the features of the CO2 System Deluxe:
Most compact & sturdy construction 
Solid chrome-plated gas regulator & pressure reducing valve assembly 
Dual gauge pressure indicators 
Industrial-grade Precision Needle Valve (upgradable to Super Precision Metering Valve) 
Integrated 110V Solenoid (Magnetic) Electrical Valve 
Compatible with various sizes of US & Canada CO2 Cylinders (from 12 oz to 20-lb). Compatible with Japan & Germany CO2 Cylinders w/ optional adapter 
6-Month Prorated Replacement Warranty (freight prepaid) 



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