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Learn about Off-Grid Solar Panel

Off-Grid Solar Panel

Photovoltaic (PV) systems produce electricity directly from sunlight. They produce no on-site pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. PV systems are relatively simple to install, at any scale, from the smallest cabin to a large home. When used in an off-grid home, the solar PV system includes batteries for storing electric energy so that you can have power day and night. When you make your house off-grid, it means you don't have a connection to the utility electricity supply system. This can be because you are far from a power line, or because you prefer to be your own power company.

Get a proper assessment of your electricity needs and your solar potential at your property. You'll need to identify out how many solar panels, what size of battery bank, and what capacity of inverters will suit your needs so that you can get a cost estimate. You are investing in providing all your power, so you want to be well prepared. If you are concerned about never being out of power, you can size a larger battery bank to get through more extended cloudy periods. Note that off-grid homes often use other fuels like wood, propane, and solar thermal energy, not electricity, for big heating loads like home heating, water heating, cooking, and drying clothing. For large appliances like electric refrigerators and freezers, choose the most efficient models available.

Solar PV is a relatively simple, very reliable, and zero-emission way to generate your electricity. The PV modules are long-lasting, producing for 40 years or more, though gradually declining in output over the years. The most common and affordable type of batteries - deep cycle solar, lead-acid batteries - require maintenance about four times per year and replacement every 10 to 15 years. The benefit of supplying your electricity is that it encourages you to design for using less electricity. This will also help to reduce the cost of your power system. Typical off-grid homes use about 1/10th as much electricity as average on-grid homes.

Back in the 1920s, thousands of farms across the central prairies of North America had small off-grid power systems to run lights and a radio to keep up with the news. These off-grid systems had lead-acid batteries in refillable glass containers. Solar PV systems were not available yet, but the batteries were charged using plentiful wind energy in this open landscape. All of the appliances used DC power, which comes straight from the batteries and doesn't require complicated electronic inverters.