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Off Grid Solar PV Systems To Become a Reality for Homeowners

Off Grid Solar System

Solar panels provide homeowners with incredible value, saving thousands on utility costs. Learn how off grid solar power systems are creating energy freedom.

Going off-grid is no longer an elusive dream only bold adventurers chase.

Thanks to the leaps and bounds that technology is making today, it’s becoming a reality for a large number of people. Solar panels and inverters are getting more efficient by the day, while their prices are going down.

Other trends, such as financial innovation and public policies, have contributed as well. We’re on the way to the stage of mass-market adoption.

As for homeowners, they are eager to bid farewell to utility companies and their bills that suffer a continuous growth. Off-grid solar power systems are one of the main pathways to energy independence.

On top of that, we have the opportunity to chip away at grave environmental monsters of our age. We’re talking about problems like greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Even if money is your only concern, there’s plenty to be happy about. Read on to learn more.

Solar Plus Storage – A Match Made in Green Heaven

Off-grid renewable sources are gaining traction across the globe.

Solar power is right at the epicenter of this rapid development. The regulative climate is changing and prices are dropping. Small, self-powered devices are popping up left and right.

Households can now generate enough power to escape grid dependency. This proposition is associated with a wealth of benefits. But, before we get into them, let’s examine how solar systems work.

They essentially convert sunlight into DC power via a process known as a photovoltaic (PV) effect. It then stores this power in a battery or uses inverters to turn it into AC power. The end result is a source of power one can leverage to run home appliances and systems.

Off-grid setup is one of the three main types of solar systems (alongside on-grid and hybrid). It also goes by the name of the stand-alone power system (SAPS).

Note that all these three types share common components:

  • Solar panels
  • Inverters
  • Electricity switchboard

Due to a lack of grid connectivity, every off-grid system also includes battery storage. In the case of AC coupled systems, you also require a battery inverter and a battery bank.

Success by Design

Merely putting solar panels on your roof doesn’t mean you’ve left the grid behind.

Off-grid systems must be designed in a way to produce and store ample solar energy throughout the year. The main goal is to meet all the electricity needs of the household.

In practice, systems generate more power than needed during the day. When the night falls, their production dips significantly.

The real challenge, however, arises in low-sunlight periods, especially in the dead of the winter. Then, it’s quite tempting to rely on utility providers. However, this isn’t an off-grid way.

Instead, you have to harness the power of solid batteries and inverters. The idea is to have storage for all your excess energy and prevent power waste. This is certainly technically feasible.

Alas, the main problem is battery components can be quite pricey. Namely, units designed to operate off-grid are more expensive than grid-connected ones. This makes off-grid systems a hefty investment.

Therefore, they predominantly emerge in remote areas, where access to the grid is poor or nonexistent.

The Economy Behind Batteries

The good news is battery costs are in steady decline.

Leading manufacturers feature price tags that sit at historic lows. We can observe these prices as gross sums or price per relative capacity. Nowadays, most batteries fall in the $5,000 – $7,000 range.

This is to say you pay between $450 and $750 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). And that’s all just the price of batteries, not counting costs of installation and additional equipment.

The variance in price isn’t hard to understand. Some batteries have built-in inverters and smart meters that others don’t. Materials they’re created from can vary too.

Of course, it’s important to remember home-grade solar batteries are still relatively new technology. The downward trajectory in price trends should continue in years to come.

We should also point out that domestic energy prices are soaring. This trend has fostered a market for off-grid systems in many urban areas.

Furthermore, smart installers make sure to sweeten their deals. They include affordable batteries and banks in their offers (“solar plus storage package”).

All in all, many homeowners have a unique chance to break the ties to utility companies. They can insulate themselves against price volatility, blackouts, and other disturbances.

The Importance of Due Diligence

Before you go all-in on solar, there are a couple of things do to.

For many, the million-dollar question is how long it takes to recoup the investment. Well, the answer isn’t cut and dried. The economics don’t work for every homeowner.

It all depends on several key factors:

  • Size of the property
  • Energy consumption patterns
  • Geographical location
  • System design and efficiency
  • Available financial incentives (tax cuts, zero-down loans, rebates, etc.)
  • Electricity rates in the region

Feel free to utilize online solar calculators to streamline the process.

Finally, remember the system changes the appearance of your home and increases its price. Going off-grid is a long-term investment, a strategic game of patience.

Off-Grid Solar Power Systems: A Declaration of Independence

It took a while, but solar has become a worthwhile investment.

This isn’t to say installing off-grid solar power systems is a no-brainer. You should run the numbers before taking the plunge, and we don’t mean some back-of-the-envelope calculation.

Make sure you’ll be able to consistently generate enough electricity to cover all your needs. Estimate cost-effectiveness and the payback period by taking into account all the variables.

You can start small, with a few panels, and work your way toward grid independence gradually.

This is a way to trim your energy expenditure and boost the household budget. In the process, you also have a chance to sow the seeds of a better, greener future. That’s what you call a true win-win.

Check other entries to our solar energy category. Stay in the know.

Article written by:

I write about the renewable energy sector, electric cars and climate change issues. I love nature and good food, so I travel all over the world to see new places and meet new people. Magda Savin

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