Off-Grid Solar: Everything you need to know

Just as the name suggests, an off-grid energy system is not connected to the electricity grid. In this guide by Westside Energy, we will explain everything you need to know about off-grid systems, how they work, how to transition to an off-grid solar system, and everything in between.

 

Off-grid: How does it work?

Sometimes referred to as a Stand-alone Power System  (SPS), off-grid  uses a number of components to generate and store electricity separate from a city grid. There are a few key components that you will need in order to successfully operate an SPS system listed in sections below.

Why go off-grid?

There are quite a few reasons you might choose an off-grid solar system. Perhaps you live in an area with little to no electricity, or your local electricity is extremely expensive to connect to you. Perhaps you suffer from frequent blackouts or energy shortages.

Electricity can be expensive, and not all electricity grids are built the same. Sometimes it might make sense to focus on an SPS system in order to save money or create a more consistent and independent lifestyle for you and your family.

Off-grid systems often need to be larger than other types of PV systems in order to charge your batteries and sustain you completely.  A PV system connected to the grid doesn’t necessarily need to handle your energy needs at all times, whereas a SPS system does – therefore it must be more robust.

Components Needed for an Off-Grid System

In order to run an effective off-grid solar system, you will need:

  • Solar panels
    • The exact size and number of panels will vary depending on availability of sunlight and the usable space on your roof, as well as your individual energy consumption trends.
  •  Solar Batteries
    • These act as a storage unit for all the excess energy that your solar panels will generate throughout the day. A solar battery is absolutely necessary in order to allow your home power after the sun goes down or when solar power generation isn’t enough. Depending on how much electricity you use you might only need a single battery, or a larger battery bank.
  • Inverters
    • An inverter converts the electricity generated by your solar panels (DC) into usable electric currents that your household appliances use (AC). 
    • A successful off grid system will need a solar panel inverter and potentially a battery inverter, as solar batteries also use DC. 
  • Solar Charge Controller
    • A solar charge controller is also called a battery charger and it is vital to your home PV systems house. The controller regulates the voltage and current of electricity that goes into the battery preventing it from overcharging, becoming damaged, or at worst frying.  This piece of equipment is necessary to your off-grid success.
  • Bonus:  Alternative Energy Source
    • Many homeowners that use off grid systems combine them with a backup generator just in case. It is worth noting that these types of backup systems are handy especially in cases of inclement weather or in the off chance that something goes wrong with your system.  Westside Energy recommends generators to complement your off-grid setup.

How to Effectively Transition to an SPS system

Here is where we can help! Westside energy has expert off-grid installers on staff and ready to help. We can evaluate your power needs and recommend a type of off-grid power system that can be built according to your budget and needs.

We work with tier-one manufacturers to make sure that you will be satisfied with your system for years to come. All our products are time-tested and guaranteed to last.  Westside energy prides itself in our services, and our ability to go above and beyond each and every time. 

 Let’s chat today about your energy needs.

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