In this blog, we’ll explain what an off-grid solar system is, how it functions, and what advantages it has.
Off-grid refers to a system that operates independently and is not connected to any utility’s power grid. To store solar energy produced by this system, batteries are used. Examine how off-grid systems differ from conventional grid-connected solar systems, how much they cost, and the things to take into account before installing an off-grid solar system.
What is An Off-Grid Solar System?
Renewable energy sources provide consistent power and diversify fuel supplies, enhancing energy security and lowering the risk of fuel spills while lowering the demand for imported fuels. The nation’s natural resources can be preserved with the help of renewable energy. The situation calls for them.
The world looks to renewable energy sources to meet its power needs as electricity consumption and costs rise. Solar energy has emerged as a significant renewable energy source in recent years due to its decreased costs and rising efficiency.
An off-grid solar system is essentially a cutting-edge invention that gives you independent energy derived from the sun. The following parts make up an off-grid solar system.
- Solar panels
- Charge controllers
- Battery bank(s)
- Not having to pay any electricity bills. You won’t receive an energy bill from your utility if you use an off-grid system.
- Energy independence. The electricity you use will be completely self-produced.
- Safeguarding against power outages. Even if the power grid is down, your off-grid system will still function.
- In remote or rural areas by offering dependable electricity. Some isolated or rural areas are not connected to the power grid. Electricity in these situations is provided by an off-grid system.
- Can come with a higher price tag. Systems that are not connected to the grid have different requirements and may cost more money overall.
- Some states or counties do not allow it. Disconnecting from the grid is prohibited in some places. Before investing in an off-grid solar system, be sure to determine if you reside in one of these areas.
- More susceptible to bad weather. You might run out of electricity that has been stored if it has been raining or cloudy in your area for a number of days.
- Cannot draw electricity from the grid or take part in net metering programs. You are unable to use the grid in the event that your battery storage runs out with an off-grid system or receive credits from net metering programs. Off-grid solar is very risky for the majority of consumers, therefore.
Components of An Off Grid Solar System
Below are the basic components of an off-grid solar system:
The first component, an individual solar panel array, will vary in size and output based on the region’s sunlight availability, the roof’s usable space, and the amount of energy required.
To keep the house running after the sun sets, you’ll need a solar battery. Throughout the day, as solar panels produce extra electricity, solar storage devices will charge. A battery allows for the storage of excess solar energy so that it is not simply lost. A single battery or even a battery bank may be used, depending on the amount of energy needed.
A solar inverter, also known as a solar converter or a PV inverter, is necessary for solar power systems in order to convert the direct current (DC) collected by solar panel array into the alternating current (AC) for running the majority of common household appliances and electronics. Use a stand-alone inverter for a system that is off the grid.
Solar Charge Controller
Batteries must be charged using a solar charge controller or battery charger. In order to avoid overcharging and damage, the controller controls the voltage and current that the solar battery receives.
Alternative Energy Source
It might be wise to take into account a backup energy source for the system. This is necessary for the dead of winter when solar production is at its lowest. When using off-grid systems, many owners pair them with a generator that can supply all of the electricity needed in the house.
How Does An Off-grid Solar System Work?
Off-grid solar systems are considerably more complex than standard solar systems, but this complexity enables them to do much more. Most people who construct an off-grid solar system aim to completely rely on solar energy. That implies that they would be entirely self-sufficient. As a result, a lot of these systems are frequently discovered in more remote areas with limited access to electricity.
An off-grid solar system is made up of four main parts: a solar panel, a solar inverter, a battery, and system balancing. Similar to conventional systems, the panels collect sunlight and transmit it to an inverter, which transforms the energy into power. Last but not least, it is delivered to a battery inverter, where the energy is stored until required. If you want to use DC applications (12V), like fans and lights, a charge controller is necessary.
An inverter is required to change the DC voltage to the AC voltage needed to run AC appliances (220V). These days, all inverters run automatically, so the electricity produced by the solar system immediately powers appliances while also charging batteries. In addition, in the event of a power outage, batteries directly power appliances.
Important Factors to Consider When Estimating Off-grid Solar Systems
- Daily average energy consumption (kWh) – Summer and winter
- Peak load (kW): The maximum amount of electricity consumed by loads.
- Average continuous load (kW)
- Solar exposure – Location, climate, orientation & shading
- Options for backup power – During inclement weather or a power outage
The main battery inverter-charger is the core part of an off-grid power system and is frequently referred to as a multi-mode inverter because it can frequently operate in both off-grid and on-grid modes.
Cost of An Off-grid Solar System
Without taking solar tax credits and rebates into account, the average cost of a 5-kilowatt solar system in 2022 will be between $15,000 and $25,000. Because there are many different sizes, uses, and components that affect the price, the cost of an off-grid solar system has an even wider range.
A very small off-grid solar kit, for instance, might cost less than $100 and only be able to charge a phone or tablet. Other off-grid solar systems can cost up to $50,000 and can power an entire house.
Off-grid solar systems must have solar batteries, but their overall cost may increase. A solar battery typically costs $5,000 to $20,000 on average. You might need more than one solar battery, depending on the size of your off-grid system and the amount of energy your home uses.
The Tesla Powerwall is one of the best solar batteries on the market and costs $8,500 before factoring in installation costs. The 13.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of capacity in this battery are almost half of what a typical household uses in a day of electricity.
In light of this, an off-grid solar system would require two or three Tesla Powerwall batteries to complete power a home, raising the price of solar batteries to between $17,000 and $25,000.
How Can You Calculate An Off-grid Solar System?
The majority of household appliances, such as fans, televisions, coolers, air conditioners, and water pumps, can be powered by this system. For a 2-4 BHK house, a 1 kW off-grid solar system, for example, is adequate.
However, if you also wish to power a 1HP water pump in your home, a 3 kW off-grid solar system might be used. A 5 kW solar system is advised if you plan on using an air conditioner. Use a 10 kW off-grid solar system for commercial purposes like a shop, clinic, or small mill.
It is the most common type of solar power system for backup. It operates both during the day and at night. The solar panel charges the battery during the day while also supplying electricity to home appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, and submersible pumps. The inverter uses battery power to run your home appliances when the sun isn’t out.
Utilizing an off-grid system has the primary benefit of not requiring any electricity from the public grid. But it costs more than a solar system that is connected to the grid.
What is the Difference Between An Off-grid and On-grid Solar System?
The main differences between off-grid and on-grid solar systems are-
- An Off-Grid solar system will continue to operate even if power is lost, however, an On-Grid system would not.
- Solar systems that are grid-connected are less expensive than those that are off-grid.
- An on-grid solar energy system, also referred to as a grid-tied solar energy system, is connected to the utility grid but an off-grid solar energy system is not.
- You won’t be charged for electricity if your PV system isn’t connected to the grid. If you opt for a grid-tied system, even though your solar system generates all of the energy you need, you might still see a few small expenses on your electricity bill.
Conclusion: Off-Grid Solar Meets Off-Grid Living
Nowadays, people hastily define “off-grid living” as occurring in a remote area of a forest or eating only food they grow themselves. Living entirely off the grid is what is meant by “true off-grid living,” though. Living off-grid means using solar power or other energy sources besides the mainline grid to meet your electrical needs.
Consider all of your home’s energy requirements before selecting an off-grid, grid-tied, or hybrid solar system. Cost, energy production, storage, and dependability are all crucial considerations that need to be taken into account.
What is Off-grid Vs Hybrid Solar System?
Off-grid inverters cannot synchronise with the utility grid. These are created to function independently. A battery- or solar-powered off-grid inverter can’t connect to the utility grid to transfer power. On the other hand, the hybrid inverter has the ability to feed back power to the utility grid.
Which is Cheaper on Grid Or Off-grid Solar System?
A grid-connected solar system is less costly than an off-grid solar system. As opposed to on-grid solar energy systems, which are also referred to as grid-tied solar energy systems, off-grid solar energy systems are not connected to the utility grid. You won’t get an electric bill if your PV system is not connected to the grid.