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Considering the improvements in solar technology, most homeowners are opting for the installation of solar power systems in their homes. This has caused many questions concerning either choosing on-grid or off-grid solar system to install in our homes. Remember that self sufficient energy is a form of security.

Freedom is one essential value that everybody deserves. So if freedom and self sustaninability really makes sense to you, then off-grid solar system is definately for you. Off-grid solar system ensures access to electricity at all times, this means you dont have to worry about power failure usually faced by the on-grid system.

The idea behind off-grid solar system is to build a self-sustaining power that powers all the loads in your house. This means that you have full control of the amount of energy you produce and consume per day. For most people, the feeling of self-sufficient energy worths more than saving money.

What is Off-grid Solar System?

Off-grid solar system is an alternative form of on-grid system which gives you access to store your own solar energy. Off-grid systems have no connection with the utility grid, this why most people call it a stand-alone power system (SAPS).

To ensure access to electricity at all times, Off-grid solar systems operate from the stored energy in a battery bank. Off-grid systems provide power to offset the grid power whenever the sun is shining and will even send excess power to the storage bank for later use. This means that you have full access to the power supply when the sun goes down.

The summary is that when you live off-grid, you simply don’t have to worry about the power failure of the utility grid(on-grid). And in as much as your solar storage bank is in good condition, you have no limit to a steady power supply.

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Components of Off-grid Solar Power System

While considering living off-grid, it’s good you know there are components which works together to ensure the success of your solar power system. These devices bring about the conversion of solar power(DC current) into alternating current(AC) which can be used to power your home appliances, maintain safety at home, and store excess energy. They include:

  • Solar Panels
  • Solar Inverter
  • Array Mounting Rack
  • Array Dc Disconnect
  • Solar Performance Monitor
  • Solar Storage Bank
  • Circuit Breaker/Breaker Panel
off-grid solar panel image
Photo Credit: Silicon solar

The explanation and working principle of these components were explained in detail in my previous post “solar power system“. So let talk more about how much an average homeowner can spend in order to live off-grid.

This is because the first step to determining the best off-grid solar system for you is to determine how much power you will need to produce and store.

How Much Does Off-grid Solar System Cost?

This question is of course a common one amongst others concerning solar power systems. But depending on your location, you may have different purchase prices. But I would state the cost based on the power generated. So its let for you to substitute the price in your locality.

According to National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s s(NERL), the cost of a residential solar power system has dropped with as much as 61% as of the year 2010. However, in recent years the cost solar power has declined significantly. In fact in 2019, off-grid solar system costs about a half of its cost in 2010.

I have taken my time to explain in detail the cost of off-grid solar system in my recent post “the cost of solar panel”. So I recommend you read that.

And if you have questions concerning how your off-grid storage bank costs, do well to read “solar storage bank” in my last post. So lets do a little comparison between “on-grid and off-grid solar system”.

What is On-grid and Off-grid?

The difference between on-grid and off-grid is really far apart. The choice might base on some criteria which I will talk about below. so keep reading!

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On-grid power system is when your power supply is connected to the utility company. This means that you pay bills every month. On the other hand, you might as well receive money from the utility company if your solar panel produces more energy than you consume. This process is called net metering.

Living on-grid is beneficial because you don’t have to buy an expensive battery back-up system to store any excess energy. But at same time, its not adviceable to live on-grid if your home is 100 yards from the ultility company. This is due to the high cost of over head transmission lines.

Living off-grid is somehow completely opposite of on-grid. Off-grid solar power system offers 100% self-sustaining power supply. This grid system allows you to store the excess energy to your storage bank for re-use at night. But the disadvantage here is that you have to purchase a complete home solar power system all by yourself.

Living off-grid is advisable if you are living in a rural area. This is because the cost of over head transmission line is high. Off-grid solar system is the sure way to enjoy 100% constant power supply. Make a quote to about “how to install solar power“.

Which is Best On-grid or Off-grid Solar System?

The question of either to live on-grid of off-grid is a challenge to many people. But I will state clearly to you that the choice depends greatly on:

  • Your Location
  • Financial Status
  • Lifestyle
  • Economic Feasibility
  • Availability of Power

However, our individual life matters the most. every individual’s mindset about a particular thing could be entirely different from others. As it usually said “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. So I will explain how this affects your choice of considering “on-grid or off-grid”.

Your Location:

Depending on your location, on-grid, and off-grid may be a good choice. For people living close to the transmission line, living on-grid is better because you don’t have to spend much on the cost of extending power lines.

However, if you are 100 yards away from the transmission line, then living off-grid is better for you. This because the costs of overhead transmission lines range from $174,000 per mile (for rural construction) to $11,000,000 per mile (for urban construction).

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Financial Status:

Most people consider the cost of installing off-grid as being high. The truth is that when you install off-grid solar, it can last for 25-30 years. This means you will not pay any utility bill to anybody and you have a constant power supply.

On the other hand, when you calculate the amount you pay every month as a utility bill. You will definitely know that its way too much than living off-grid. Thus, your financial status determines either to install off-grid at once or continue paying the utility bill every month.

Lifestyle:

Personally, our lifestyle affects our choice of either living on-grid or off-grid. Our hobbies are different, as such some people can’t stay with watching the television, playing music and others. And we need a power supply to do all these. Thus, such people definitely need to live off-grid because power backout can occur sometimes in on-grid solar system.

Economic Feasibility:

For homeowners that have access to on-grid, off-grid solar systems are usually out of question. This is because to ensure access to constant electricity at all times. Off-grid solar systems require a battery storage bank. And this batteries are expensive. In fact, batteries need to maintenance as the efficiency decreases over time. Though solar battery can last up to 10 years before replacement.

Availability of Power:

If you are the work from type, then living off-grid is better for you. Power failures on the utility grid do not affect off-grid solar systems. This is only possible if your battery storage bank is in good shape.

Typically, if your home consumes about 30kilowatt-hour(KWh) of energy per day. Then you need about 3 solar batteries because each solar battery produces 10KWh of capacity. For more clarification on how much solar battery to power your home. I recommend you read ” Solar Storage Bank” in my previous post.

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