Tips and Information for Going Off the Grid with Home Solar
You may think that setting up and maintaining an off-grid solar electricity system is too difficult for you to achieve, but you could not be more wrong. In fact, getting your own off-grid solar electricity system is not all that difficult at all. The parts and installation may cost you some money, but in the long-run you will end up saving on energy costs. A lot of times off-grid systems make financial sense in rural areas where it is difficult and costly to run power lines, however, in terms of overall cost efficiency and the benefits that renewable resources have in terms of conserving our environment solar electricity systems make sense for any household. Let's explore some things that you will want to consider and keep in mind when planning an off-grid solar electricity system.
Research The Kind of System You Want
There are many different kinds of solar electricity systems and they can accomplish different things for you so the first thing you are going to want to do is to come to an understanding of what you want. In order for your system to safely transmit electricity you will need system balance equipment to not only condition the electricity but to also transmit it and/or store it for later use. If storing electricity is something that you would like you system to do while it is not producing, you are going to have to get a battery storage system and a charge controller as well.
Analyze Your Power Usage
Once you have a good idea of the kind of off-grid solar electricity system that you want it is important to analyze and understand your electricity load and how your energy needs fluctuate over the course of a day and ultimately over the course of a calendar year. Consider the energy efficiency measures that you can put into place because the more energy-efficient you become the less capacity your system is going to need. This is a great time to have an energy professional come to your residence and do a full energy assessment so that you can see where you can be more efficient with your energy usage. If your off-grid system is going into a home that is being newly built work with your builder to incorporate renewable energy measures into the design of your home.
To do your own home energy assessment simply take the wattage of each appliance and multiply it by the amount of hours it is used per day. This type of information can generally be found on a metal plate or tag on the power cord of the appliance. When making calculations be sure to include room for seasonal variation.
Determine the Rules for Your Locality
Unfortunately, once you have gone through the above steps you are not ready for installation until you determine the legality of such an installation in your locale. Every jurisdiction has a myriad of different rules and regulations regarding energy, including off-grid systems. There are a lot of building codes, regulations, and rules regarding everything from the type of system that can be installed to who can actually install these systems. To find out about all of the codes, regulations, and rules governing your locale you can contact your state energy office, your local officials, or your local renewable energy organization.
Once you have taken all of the above into account, you can start installing your off-grid system. Not only will these systems save you a lot of money in the long-run on your energy bills, but they are also very positive, as are all sources of renewable resources and energy, for our environment.
Converting Existing Solar Array System to Off-Grid
For users who already have a solar array system but are also tied into the grid it doesn't take a whole lot of extra work to convert your system to function and store energy off-grid. You can either remove your grid interactive inverter and replace it with a standalone inverter. This will require you to have a maximum power point tracking charge controller as well to match the high voltage output of your solar array. Another way to convert your system to off-grid is to install another, larger battery bank with matching inverter/charger. You keep your current system the same and just add more batteries. The new battery inverter creates a separate micro-grid so that when your array is generating more power than your house is using the new battery bank stores the excess energy making your battery system more autonomous and ensuring that your solar system continues working even if the grid goes down.