Once you have weighed all the solar energy facts and determined that it is the right move for you, your next step is to decide which system works best for your situation. It’s important to keep in mind that while this information may seem daunting and tedious, SolarPanelLeverage(s) specializes in making this process as enjoyable and cost effective as possible for you.
Below is designed to help guide you through the benefits of an off grid solar energy system; however, since installing any kind of solar energy system is an investment and a commitment on your part, it is highly recommended that you appeal to an experienced solar energy installer to help answer all of your questions.
There are two primary solar photovoltaic (PV) markets: off grid systems and grid connected or grid tied systems. Off grid systems are generally used in remote locations where utility-provided power isn’t available and bringing it to the building would prove too costly. On the other hand, grid connected photovoltaic (PV) systems are used when a facility cannot compete directly with the cost of utility-produced power. Off grid systems may also be installed where blackouts and brownouts are frequent. This is often the case in off the beaten path cabins and businesses.The ultimate difference between an off grid and a grid tied system is in most cases, a grid tied system is designed to supplement a home or businesses energy demands, thus reducing the amount of energy required from the utility grid while an off grid system is responsible for providing all of the power to the household or business appliances and tools.
Of course, as with anything beneficial and worthwhile, an off grid system does require a higher out of pocket initial investment than a traditional grid tied or grid connected system, but this is due in large part to a greater demand for off grid power systems. Everyone dreams of achieving an independence from the utility company and the good news is if the off grid photovoltaic system provides more power than the customer uses, excess or unused electricity is fed back into the grid and the utility’s electric meter counts backwards. This is referred to as “net metering.”
When designing a power off grid solar system, you always want to take the bigger picture approach and look to the finished product as opposed to the process. This strategy is essential when deciding each detail such as something simple like the type of light bulbs that should be used, which by the way, should be standard incandescent lighting as it is extremely energy inefficient. Moreover, you may also want to consider using fluorescent or LED lighting.
In addition to being more of an all encompassing energy source over grid tied systems, off grid systems are also bigger. This is because in order for the power off grid system to be fully independent and self sufficient, a system must have a greater array of energy-producing panels. This increases the amount of batteries required to store the charge as well as more equipment to regulate the charge. It’s important to keep in mind here that despite the higher initial investment, the off grid power system will save you thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime.
Below are the main components to a power off grid solar system:
- Solar Array is a group of solar panels which absorb solar energy and convert it to DC power. The number and type of solar panels determines precisely how much energy you can produce. Just as important to this analysis is your geographic location.
- PV Combiner Boxes usually include Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) which protect your solar power system from equipment damage caused by power surges and short circuits. Another nice feature of the off grid power system is that you can shut down your entire solar power system without warning in the event you need to service, inspect or repair it.
- Charge Controllers ensure that your batteries do not receive any unnecessary current, thus never allowing for a battery overcharge. Battery overcharges can cause serious damage even destroying the battery completely.
- DC Breaker Boxes include a disconnect that regulates the relationship between the battery bank and the inverter so it can be shut down without warning to service, inspect or repair the batteries.
- Battery Banks store energy collected through your array allowing ample back up energy to power your home or business until your batteries are able to be charged again.
- Inverters are responsible for taking DC power and converting it to AC power. Basically every electrical system you’ve ever come in contact with ran off of AC power.
- Back-up Generators are extremely important as they make up for whatever your array may have missed due to interruptions caused by weather.Once again, by contacting SolarPanelLeverage(s) today, you will be taking any guesswork and apprehension you have regarding an off grid solar energy system and replacing it with experience and results.