How to Build An Off-grid Solar System? Step-By-Step Tutorial

How to Build An Off-grid Solar System? Step-By-Step Tutorial

Here, I’ll cut through the lingo and demystify the construction of an off-grid solar system.

  • Designing a DIY Solar System That Meets Your Needs
  • Choosing the Right Place for Your Panels is Essential
  • Ordering the Right Solar System Components
  • Building Your Solar Battery House Or Compartment
  • Installing Solar Panels
  • Wiring Up for Off Grid Solar

The sun has been sharing its energy with us for a long time, and we should utilize some of it. You don’t need to install solar panels on your entire roof; you can start small. For RVs and campers, a small off-grid solar array is a great solution. It can also be a simple way to run power to a shed.

Let’s examine the materials you will need and the steps involved in creating your own system.

Read More: How Does the Off-grid Solar System Work?

What Do You Need to Build An Off-grid Solar System?

An off-grid solar system requires the following four components to begin with:

Solar Panels

The system’s power-generating element—solar panels—comes first and foremost. Also known as modules, solar panels convert the energy in sunlight into electric current, hence the name “photo-voltaic”. Both polycrystalline and monocrystalline varieties are available.


The alternating current (AC), which is more useful for most electrical appliances, is created by an inverter from the direct current (DC) that comes from the panels. The inverter is frequently referred to as the heart of a solar system due to this similarity in function and significance.

Best off-grid solar system — Clean Energy Reviews

If you are running only DC loads, you may be able to set up a system without an inverter, but this severely limits your ability to run a variety of everyday household appliances.

A pure sine wave inverter is advised for proper efficiency and dependability among its various types.


Batteries are chemical devices that are capable of storing electrical energy through chemical conversions happening inside of them and are particularly important in an off-grid setting, where you cannot purchase grid power for consumption during darker hours and cloudy days.

The lithium-ion battery, one of the few main battery types, is currently the most advanced option because it has a higher energy capacity per unit volume and other advantages like improved safety and dependability.

Charge Controller

As the name suggests, a charge controller is an electrical component that controls the charge, or in other words, monitors the current flowing from the panels to the batteries for optimum charging and efficiency.

Besides the above four, the other major components that complete a solar power system are together known as the Balance of System (BOS), which includes:

  1. Solar Cables
  2. Breakers / Fuses
  3. DC Busbars / Fuse Box
  4. MC4 Connectors
  5. Cable Ties
  6. Metering Device
  7. Terminal lugs
  8. DIN rails

Lastly, there are tools that you will need to help you install the solar system:

  1. Wire Stripper
  2. Crimping Tool
  3. Plier
  4. Screwdriver
  5. MC4 Spanner
  6. Spanners

Let’s start the step-by-step procedure for designing and installing an off-grid solar power system now that we have everything we need.

DIY OFF GRID SOLAR SYSTEM : 12 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables

Steps in Installing An Off-Grid Solar System

An off-grid system’s design and installation aren’t particularly challenging, but they are complex and involve a fairly set order of operations.

Designing a DIY Solar System That Meets Your Needs

When preparing to construct an off-grid solar system, it is crucial to understand how much energy you will require as well as how your energy usage will vary throughout the year and day. Planning an effective system requires an understanding of the daily and yearly rhythms of your family’s energy usage because renewable energy systems are inherently variable.

Choosing the Right Place for Your Panels is Essential

Next, we take care to find and plan for the right site. The top of the house is frequently not the most effective location for an off-grid solar array. Choosing the right spot to prevent excessive shading and to ensure proper access and passive cooling for your solar panel can more than double the efficiency of your solar panels over their lifetime.

Ordering the Right Solar System Components

You will be able to choose and order the appropriate parts for your system once you have decided where to place the solar panels. This will give you an idea of the site’s potential for power generation. There are many choices to make at this point including:

  • The number and size of your solar cells
  • The type and size of your charge controller (MPPT vs PWM, etc)
  • Your battery bank capacity, while considering battery type
  • Choosing the overall voltage of each leg, as well as which loads should be AC vs DC
  • The rating of your inverter, if any

Building Your Solar Battery House Or Compartment

You would be prepared to construct your battery house, which could be a room in your current home, a portion of the garage, or a separate shed, once you have the components ordered. Batteries take up a fair amount of space, and they must be kept away from children or animals that could get hurt by touching the contacts or accidentally damaging the battery and releasing internal acids.

How to Build An Off-grid Solar System? Step-By-Step Tutorial

Additionally, most battery types require some degree of temperature control, and they perform poorly in freezing temperatures. If you decide to use less expensive unsealed batteries, you will need to incorporate ventilation into your battery house to prevent the buildup of explosive hydrogen gas, which these types of batteries release in minute amounts when charging.

The charge controller(s) and inverter(s), along with safety shutoffs, fuses, and breakers, are typically found in the battery room of solar installations to help keep costs down.

Installing Solar Panels

The solar array must now be installed, followed by the construction of the panel support. Solar panels are far more efficient when they directly face the Sun, and they last longer when they are rigid and well-cooled. Depending on the materials you have on hand and the skills you possess, there are numerous ways to construct a suitable solar support structure.

I suggest, at the very least, constructing a south-facing A-frame structure out of wood or metal with the ability to manually adjust the tilt of your panels during the summer and winter. This can increase your power output by up to 40% with essentially no additional cost.

You could also go all out, and build your own one-axis or two-axis tracking system. Check out the panel installation guide below for more ideas on how to make this work.

Wiring Up for Off Grid Solar

With the panels up, now comes the time for wiring the system. There is no need for this step to be difficult. When you live off the grid, your electrical system can be much simpler than gird tie systems, whether you have a boondocking RV, a rustic cabin, or a permaculture homestead.

How to Build An Off-grid Solar System? Step-By-Step Tutorial

Installing an all-DC system is a possibility when going off the grid and can be straightforward and effective. However, the DIYer is capable of installing replacement AC systems throughout the entire house.

However, if you want to use your solar system and connect it to a house that is already powered by the grid, you will probably need to hire a licensed electrician to install the wiring for your system. You will also need additional hardware from your utility provider to make your own energy system compatible with a line power.

How Much Does An Off-grid Solar System Cost?

Depending on the components you choose, the price of an off-grid solar system can be very high. Below is the average cost of each material for your reference:

  • SOLAR PANELS – $5,000 – $30,000
  • HYBRID INVERTER – $3000 – $13,000
  • BATTERY BANK – $10,000 – $30,000

The size and type of your off-grid system you have installed will ultimately determine its overall cost. Naturally, the material could cost more the larger it is and the higher its capacity.

Nevertheless, you can’t really avoid it, especially if you have a lot of appliances at home. For this reason, before making a purchase or building your own, you must consult a solar energy expert.

Conclusion: Build An Off-grid Solar System

To design and install your own off-grid unit, all you need to do is determine the specifications, perform a few simple calculations, and comprehend the fundamentals. After that, you will be well on your way to creating a self-sufficient off-grid haven.

Regardless of whether you live in a rural or urban area, getting the best off-grid solar system is a significant investment. In a bad climate where electricity is typically cut off, it can help you get power-ready.


How Much Solar Power Do I Need to Go Off the Grid?

Firstly, you’ll need about 20 solar panels, but those can easily go on the roof. Furthermore, you’ll need room inside to keep the batteries. This could be up to 30 batteries, depending on how big your installation is.

How Many Batteries Do I Need to Go Off-grid?

Typically, you only need one solar battery to keep the lights on when the grid is down. If you want to go off-grid completely, you’ll need far more storage capacity, more along the lines of 8-12 batteries.

Can You Live Completely Off-grid With Solar Panels?

A home battery will offer immediate backup power to your home in the event of a power outage. When paired with solar panels, you can survive “off-grid” until the utility grid is fixed, with the solar panels providing power and charging your battery during the day, and your battery providing power at night.

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