What Does Going Off Grid With Solar Mean?
Is going off grid with solar something you’re interested in? We will discuss the basics of going off grid with solar power. We’ll cover everything from what it means to go off grid to the benefits of doing so. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of whether or not going off grid with solar panels is right for you. Then take a look at our facts and numbers about solar panels.
When someone talks about going “off grid,” it usually means one of two things: either they’re planning to disconnect from the public utilities altogether, or they’re interested in generating their own electricity using renewable energy sources. In either case, solar power is often a good choice for those who want to go off grid.
Going “off the grid” with solar means becoming self-sufficient by generating your own electricity with solar panels. It allows you to live independently from the power grid and utility companies.
The Amount Of Energy Needed
The amount of energy you will need depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the home, the climate in which the home is located, the types of appliances that are used, and the lifestyles of the people living in the home.
On average, a comfortable house will use 5,000-10,000 kWh of electricity, and either together or separately, 10,000-20,000 kWh of heating. If you’re off-grid, you could have a combination of solar energy, bioreactor, LPG (mostly propane) and wood to power the home. That total amount will need to generate anywhere from 5,000 to 30,000 kWh of energy for you to be as comfortable as a standard on-grid home.
But let’s say you have a rurally-located smaller house, or you’re talking about an RV, boat, or even solar panels for vehicle like a tractor that’s part of the off-grid set-up, then maybe you don’t need as much energy – for instance let’s say a quarter to half the average house requirements which places your needs from 2,500 kWh to 5,000 kWh per year. For such smaller set-ups, not only can you scale down the number of panels, you can also opt for smaller panels like 200W solar panels that are inherently sized smaller.
What Are The Benefits Of Going Off Grid With Solar?
More and more people are choosing to go “off grid” with solar power, and it’s no wonder why. Here are some reasons why going off grid with solar is a smart choice:
1. Solar is a reliable energy option. Solar power is consistent in the sense that it’s independent of volatile fossil fuel markets and supply disruptions, unlike most other energy sources. A reliable source of energy, solar panels can keep producing juice so long as the sun shines. The variability associated with solar comes from cloud cover, which increases in winter, and snow, which covers panels briefly.
2. Solar power is eco-friendly. Since solar panels don’t emit carbon, they’re a greener alternative to fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. This contributes to the fight against global warming and the preservation of our world for future generations. The one consideration is at the time of production, a panel requires a lot of energy to produce.
3. Using solar energy can reduce your monthly energy costs. Installing solar panels will allow you to generate your own electricity, decreasing or eliminating your need to purchase power from the utility company. Over time, this might have a major impact on your energy costs. In places where there’s a feed-in tariff, that financial benefit is even better.
4. The installation of solar panels can raise your home’s worth when you disconnect from the grid. In addition to increasing your home’s resale value, solar panels are seen as a valuable amenity by many potential buyers. Having solar panels placed on your property may be an attractive feature to potential purchasers if you ever decide to put it up for sale. Just remember that panels degrade over time, so in 10-20 years, the panel will lose efficiency to 80-90% of what it started with.
What Are The Challenges Of Going Off-Grid With Solar?
There are a few challenges that come with making the switch to solar, here are some:
1. Cost: The upfront cost of going solar can be high, ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. However, there are many ways to finance a solar installation, such as through government incentives or solar leases. In addition, the long-term savings on your electric bill can make solar a very cost-effective investment.
2. Storage: It is only when the sun is out that solar panels can produce electricity. To keep your home lit up at night or during a blackout, you’ll need a battery backup system. You can also generate excess energy in the day time to feed into the grid and draw from the grid at night. That is called “net metering” and generates profits in the sense that peak power rates are higher than off-peak rates.
3. Maintenance: Solar panels require very little maintenance, but they do need to be cleaned periodically to ensure optimal performance. In addition, a storage battery will need to be replaced over many years.
4. Reliability: Solar panels are extremely reliable and have an average lifespan of 25 years. However, they can be damaged by severe weather conditions, such as hail or high winds. In addition, your system will need to be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure optimal performance.
5. Location: Solar panels are best in high sun regions and installed in the correct orientation and in order to generate electricity effectively. If you live in a shady area or have a lot of trees around your home, solar may not be the best option for you.
Despite these challenges, many people find that going off grid with solar power is a worthwhile investment that allows them to save money and live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
How To Go Off-Grid With Solar Power
Solar panels are an excellent first step toward energy independence from the utility company. Here are a few tips on how to go off grid with solar panels:
1. Do Your Research
Do your homework to see if moving off the grid is a good fit before you invest in solar panels. Your energy requirements, financial constraints, and geographical location are just a few of the many variables to think about. You can certainly talk to sales people for panels, but they’re going to give you the rosiest story possible.
2. Choose The Right Solar Panels
Selecting the most appropriate solar panels from the many available might be challenging. Before making a final choice, think about how efficient it is, how long the warranty is, and how much it costs. Cheaper panels now has a good chance of turning into faster panel degradation. But that’s ok if this is the best choice for your situation.
3. Install The Solar Panels Correctly
After you’ve decided on solar panels, having them installed properly is essential. As a result, they’ll be able to generate enough power to satisfy your requirements. This means putting them on the right parts of the roof (or even the yard) so they have the right orientation (north or south ideally, not east-west) and pitch (usually dictated by your roof).
4. Monitor Your Energy Usage
Even after you’ve installed solar panels, it’s important to monitor your energy usage and make sure that you’re not using more electricity than you’re generating. This can help you avoid any unexpected power outages.
Hybrid Solution: Staying Partly On Grid
When you go off grid, you are not connected to the main power lines that deliver electricity to homes and businesses. Instead, you generate your own electricity with solar panels, wind turbines, or other renewable energy sources. This means that you are not subject to power outages or other disruptions in service. It also means that you are not responsible for paying electric bills. When you generate your own electricity, you are free from the rising costs of utility companies.
It doesn’t mean you can’t draw from the grid still. Many homeowners have panels that generate energy during the day and at night they draw from the grid. And it even means with your new solar energy production capabilities, selling the energy back to the grid lets you make money. Of course, staying connected to the grid isn’t required. You’re free to be truly off-grid and disconnected from utilities with solar. Just remember, when the sun isn’t shining, you’ll need a solution for energy whether that’s propane gas tanks, a battery storage system, or other.
Other Off-Grid Energy Solutions – Geothermal
Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source that can be used to heat and cool homes. It works by tapping into the natural heat of the earth and uses that energy to heat and cool your home. This energy is renewable, meaning it will never run out, and it is more efficient than other heating and cooling systems. Geothermal energy is also cost-effective, as it can reduce your energy bills by up to 70%.
Geothermal energy can also be used to power appliances and hot water systems in your home. With the right equipment and installation, geothermal energy can provide your home with both heating and cooling for years to come. We carry out a light comparison of geothermal to natural gas for our readers.
So, is going off grid with solar right for you? Only you can answer that question. Solar power is a great option for those who want to reduce their dependence on the grid, save money on their energy bills, and help the environment. However, going off grid is not right for everyone.
It requires a significant investment of time and money, and it can be difficult to maintain reliable power during inclement weather. Before making the switch to solar power, carefully consider your needs and resources to decide if going off grid is the right choice for you.