Technological advances have made solar power setups more affordable than ever. Today, it’s not uncommon for homes, apartments and buildings to have a system that collects the sun’s rays for energy and use it to power appliances, devices and the like.
Looking to get your own solar system set up for your home or business? Off Grid Solar is quickly becoming a popular option nowadays because it has some very useful benefits and applications.
What Is Off Grid Solar Energy?
Off grid energy systems, or otherwise known as standalone solar or independent solar power, do not require the electricity provided by your energy company’s power grid. This kind of solar setup will not have any backup in terms of drawing power from external utility sources, hence the term “off grid”.
In simpler terms, off grid solar systems produce energy strictly on the energy that you’ve collected from the sun and on the attached battery bank. When put on a side-by-side comparison with other solar systems, an off grid will typically require larger capacity battery packs or banks as compared to grid-tied systems and battery-backed setups.
While it may seem that off grid solar is inferior, the fact that it’s more portable and easier to move makes it the ideal energy solution to use in remote locations. For example, off grid power beats grid-tied systems when you need to power in remote locations such as cabins, temporary camps, etc. What’s more, an off grid setup may be combined with other energy sources such as AC generators, hydro turbines and windmills. When this is done the setup is called a hybrid power system.
How To Set Up An Off Grid Solar System
An independent solar system is typically made up of the following:
– Solar Panels. Used to collect energy from the sun, which is then converted into safe, usable energy.
– DC Array Disconnect. Used to cut the flow of energy coming from the solar panels.
– Charge Controller. Regulates the charge stored in the battery bank.
– Battery Bank. Holds energy to be used as electricity.
– System Meter. A dashboard you can use to monitor your system’s status, power usage, etc.
– Inverter. Converts direct current to the more usable alternating current.
– AC Breaker Panel. Receives and distributes electricity from the battery bank to your site.
– Generator. May be attached to the inverter for back up purposes.
A typical off grid setup can still function and collect energy from the sun on a typical cloudy day. Users can use a generator as a reliable backup in cases where the weather won’t allow efficient energy collection.
In sunny days, an off grid system collect energy from the solar panels. Come nighttime, the system can provide power that’s collected in the battery banks. If the power from the banks are all used up, then the user can still turn on the generator if needed.
Benefits Of An Off Grid Solar Setup
A typical off grid power setup is more expensive as compared to a grid tied solar systems, but they can prove to be more economical and save you more money while providing renewable energy in the long run. The most obvious example is if the location is so remote that you’ll need to have utility poles or power lines installed before you can do a grid-based solar solution.
A standalone power system using solar energy won’t have to connect to energy company grids ever again. Users will be forced to use available electricity or get bigger battery banks based on their usage. No ties to the grid means you won’t ever get an electricity bill. You get savings for using alternative energy, which builds up as time goes on.
Individuals or families who want to go green and off the grid can opt for an off grid solar setup. This kind of system is great for those who have the initial investment as it pays for itself over time. Once you get it installed, connected and operating, the solar system generates free electricity for you and your household for approximately 40 years or more.
Maintenance will still be needed for off grid systems. Users will typically need to replace battery banks every 10 years or so, and they will still need to keep an eye on the charge level and make sure that the batteries don’t get overcharged.