Off-Grid Solar System

Off-grid solar is a way to get all your energy from the sun, without the need for electricity. This is possible by installing a solar power system that pairs with an energy storage system such as a solar battery at the location of power consumption (your house).

Because of its high space requirements and prohibitive cost, installing an off-grid system was once considered a fringe idea. Nevada Solar Group has made it easier and more affordable to install solar systems. It is now common to see country cabins and RVs that are entirely powered by off-grid solar energy.

You’ve reached the right place if you are thinking about buying an off-grid system. This blog will tell you everything you need to know about the off-grid system before you buy one. We will help you determine if an off grid solar system is right for you and how to purchase the best system for you.

What is an Off-Grid Solar Panel System?

Many people associate solar panels with off-grid solar, but the truth is that there are many components needed to make an off-grid PV system.

An off-grid system is equipped with all necessary equipment to produce, store and distribute solar energy on site. Off-grid solar systems are known as “standalone power systems” because they operate without any external power source.

Off-grid solar systems are different from other types of solar arrays like the grid-tied system. They rely on batteries for power to be generated when the sun isn’t shining.

However, batteries are more expensive than the solar panels with which they are paired. They are more expensive than grid-tied systems because they require large amounts of battery storage.

How does an off-grid solar energy system perform?

Off-grid solar PV systems operate using the photovoltaic principle. Once radiation from the sun strikes a solar panel, it generates direct current (DC).

The DC energy generated is fed to the charger controller, which controls the flow of charge and supplies the required power to the battery. Batteries play an important part in providing power for night and non-sunny days..

When the sun shines, the solar panel produces enough energy to power the load and charge the battery. Any excess energy stored in the battery can be retrieved later if required.

The DC energy from a solar panel or battery is converted into alternating current(AC) energy (as most of the appliances at residential/commercial buildings run on AC supply) with the help of an inverter. The AC energy converted is fed to the loads via the wiring connection.

What are the various uses of off-grid sun power?

Solar energy has many advantages. One is its modularity and scalability. This is how a system’s parts can be rearranged and combined for greater flexibility and use.

It can be used for small devices like solar phone chargers or a system that can run a factory.

These are the most popular uses of off-grid sun:

  • Charge a tablet or phone via USB
  • The appliances are powered by an electrical supply
  • Small cabins can be powered by electricity
  • Small, energy-efficient homes that can be powered

It is important to note that off-grid solar systems are not practical in areas where power is available. This applies to situations when one wants to power a house in a suburb, city, or town.

You can save even more by choosing a grid-tied, hybrid or grid-powered solar panel system. Depending on your local economics, you may also be able to stick with grid power.

What equipment is required for an Off-Grid Solar Panel System?

Here is a list of the equipment needed to run an off-grid solar panel system.

  • Solar panels
  • Solar charge controller
  • Solar inverter(s)
  • Solar battery
  • Mounting and racking system
  • Wiring
  • Junction boxes

How to size an Off-Grid Solar System

When it comes to installing an off grid solar system, it is crucial that you decide on the size system you will need.

This will impact the type of equipment that you need, the amount of work required to install it, and ultimately, the cost of the entire project. The size of a solar setup is determined by how much power it can provide.

There are two ways to determine the number of people you need. They are based on:

  • Your current usage
  • Load assessment

Solar setup size is determined by the amount of usage

This option is available if you want to keep your current lifestyle while switching from grid-tied solar to off-grid. You can use your monthly power bills as a guide to calculate your electricity consumption in kilowatt hours.

Then you can size an off-grid system that is the same size. However, to maximize solar efficiency you might want to go bigger.

Solar setup size is determined by load evaluation

A load assessment is the second option to determine how much power your system will need.

  1. Calculate your total electricity consumption

Start by listing all appliances that you intend to use and the hours they will be used. This will allow you to calculate both the power consumption for each appliance and your total power consumption over the day.

You can size your solar array by knowing how many kWh you use per day.

  1. Calculate the instantaneous load requirement

It is also necessary to determine how many appliances can be run at once. This will allow you to calculate the instantaneous power requirements.


  1. Determine the battery storage capacity

Next, decide how much energy storage capacity you need. Are you looking to provide backup for your daily usage or just a day’s worth?

Solar battery backup generally means that you need enough storage to last at most 2-3 days during peak usage times.

  1. From Steps 1 – 3, design a system around you number

The sizes of the three essential components, the inverter and the solar panels, is often enough information to allow solar equipment vendors to create an off-grid solution for you.

What is the cost of an Off-Grid Solar Panel System?

Prices for off-grid systems can range from $50 for a tablet charger or phone to thousands of dollars. Off-grid solar offers so many applications.

Prices for off-grid solar systems that can power entire homes range from $12,000 to $50,000.

Cost impact of battery type

The cost of your off grid solar system will be affected by the choice of battery technology.

The latest lithium batteries are more efficient and have a smaller, sleep-friendly form factor. However, they are very costly and will be a significant part of your overall costs if used.

AGM (Absorbent Gas Mat) acid lead batteries are bulkier and last for a shorter time, they are cheaper. They are a choice for off grid systems popularly due to their low cost.

Off-grid Solar: The benefits

More than 300,000 households are using off-grid energy sources to meet their energy needs. Here are some reasons that Americans prefer to live off-grid:

1. Freedom from the Grid

People in blackout-prone areas are attracted to off-grid solar because of this. You are dependent on the utility company for your power when you are connected to the grid.

Your power supply is affected if the grid goes down. This dependency doesn’t seem like a problem until you experience blackouts or power outages, as the California blackouts of 2019, can attest.

2. It’s good for our environment

Carbon emissions are reduced by going off-grid. Because most electricity is generated from fossil fuels, it’s important to produce your own power using renewable resources like solar, wind, and hydro. This will drastically reduce your carbon footprint.

3. Encourages a more energetic lifestyle

It’s easy for you to forget about your power consumption when you’re connected to a grid. You consume electricity, pay the bills when they come, and that’s it. It cuts you off from the source and destination of electricity.

When you are off-grid, your attitude towards power will change completely. You will need to monitor your electricity generation closely and reevaluate your energy use.

4. Sometimes, the only option is to do so.

If you are trying to power a building out of reach, such as a hunting cabin in the woods, there is a high chance that there is no grid available.

The utility will likely tell you that your area is not covered if you try to connect. They may offer to lay the wire, but at a high price.

This means you will need to generate your own power. Although you could use a backup generator to provide power, it’s expensive and not practical in many places. Solar power is the only viable option for off-grid power.

Off-grid solar: The downsides

There are many valid reasons that the vast majority of US households prefer to stay connected to the grid even though solar panels offer great benefits.

There are some key points to consider when you go off the grid.

1. Off-grid living may be illegal where you live.

Although solar panels and the ability to generate your own electricity are gaining popularity in the US, it is illegal for some counties to unplug completely from the grid. These legal restrictions on going off-grid tend to be more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas.

2. Solar systems that are off-grid can be very expensive

It is not common for a solar panel system to provide all of the energy needed by a home to be extremely expensive.

An off-grid system is more expensive than a grid-connected system. It requires more panels and an inverter that has a greater voltage capability.

You will need a backup generator that is either gas- or diesel-powered, as there is no grid. These are also very costly to operate. Because generators can’t be trusted for too long, this makes it more urgent to repair faults in your off grid system.

3. It takes time to go off-grid.

It is not easy to make the commitment to produce enough electricity to supply all your household’s needs.

It is necessary to have a good understanding of electricity’s workings. You will need to spend some time calculating how much power you require based on your energy consumption patterns.

You will need to spend time ensuring that you keep power waste to a minimum. You will need to monitor your power supply as power generation can change rapidly.

Also, you must be familiar with the equipment that generates power.

4. California off-grid solar is not eligible for a SGIP rebate

California’s Self Generation Incentive Program is the largest battery storage incentive in the country. Eighty percent is dedicated to battery storage in the incentive budget.

The SGIP rebate can help people save thousands on batteries, especially if they are in fire hazard areas. The catch is that SGIP only applies to grid-tied solar systems that have battery backup, and not to pure off-grid systems.

5. There are better options for backup power

You may not want to go off-grid because there is simply a better option.

Installing a grid-tied solar array with a backup battery is the best and easiest way to prevent blackouts. A hybrid solar system is another name for this type.

These hybrid systems that use battery solutions like the Tesla Powerwall are more affordable than traditional off-grid systems. They also qualify for incentives such as the SGIP rebate.

6. Off-grid solar entails major lifestyle sacrifices

Ask anyone who has an off-grid solar system and they will all tell you the exact same thing: Relying on off grid power requires that you reevaluate everything about energy.

Off-grid solar is expensive so homeowners have to invest in small systems. Inclement weather can also limit the amount of power available. A cloudy day could result in a 50% reduction in power output.

You will be in trouble if you run out of power. Either wait for the sun’s return or use a backup diesel generator to generate power (if you have one). While the first option is more convenient, the second option can be very expensive.

These restrictions can have a negative impact on every aspect of your daily life. For example, many off-grid people say that they must conserve water because water pumps use a lot of energy. This means less frequent flushing and shorter showers. Air conditioning is a bigger power guzzler and can only be used for short periods of time if at all.

Are you looking for off-grid solar power near you?

When access to the grid is difficult or impossible, off-grid solar can be the best option. It is hard to imagine a camper abandoning solar for a generator that is noisy and expensive.

It is also usually the best option for those committed to a low carbon footprint, sustainability-minded lifestyle. Hydropower and wind are more expensive than other renewable energy sources like wind and hydropower. They also need reliable water and wind supply.

However, if you’re a homeowner who lives in or near a town or city, then off-grid may not be right for you.

Off-grid solar systems are costly and rarely offer savings over utilities power. Due to the high cost of off grid solar, homeowners must install small systems. This can result in major lifestyle compromises for the residents.

Grid-tied solar systems are a better option if you’re looking for financial savings. These systems are the most affordable way to go solar and can save you up to $100,000 in some states. You’ll always have power access if you have a connection to it.

Learn more about Grid-Tied Solar Systems

Hybrid solar systems are a good option if you need a backup battery like the Tesla Powerwall. Hybrid solar systems can be grid-tied systems with batteries. Hybrid systems can be more costly than traditional grid-tied systems, but they offer greater savings and are still much cheaper than an off grid setup.

Off-grid system installation is a specialized skill that Nevada Solar Group solar companies offer. The performance of the setup is critical to the system’s continued operation. We can connect you with qualified our best off-grid installers. All you have to do is fill out our off-grid quote application form.


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