With energy costs constantly climbing, the idea of disconnecting from the power grid completely can certainly sound appealing. After all, who wouldn’t love to say goodbye to their monthly power bill? However, if you’re considering going off-grid using solar power, there are a few things that you should know. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Off-Grid Isn’t Always an Option
Many cities require that homes within city limits remain connected to the grid, regardless of whether or not they have alternative power sources. This would mean that you can’t actually build an off-grid system for your home if you live in one of these areas. However, you can still add battery backup power to your solar power system and achieve energy independence by relying solely on the solar power your system produces; you simply need to maintain that grid connection. If you want to truly disconnect and go off grid, you may need to move to a more remote location.
You’ll Need a Larger System
When building a grid-tied or hybrid system, under-sizing the system a little bit isn’t a major issue. You’ll still have grid power to provide energy if solar isn’t available or your backup power sources run out. When you’re off the grid, however, you don’t have that safety net. You’ll need to oversize your solar power system in order to ensure that you always have enough power, even on days when solar energy production is lower than average.
You Need 2 Backup Power Sources
As stated above, you don’t have the grid as a safety net when solar energy isn’t available. Instead, you have to create your own safety net. Most off-grid solar users do this by having two backup power sources. Typically, a solar battery bank provides regular backup power to an off-grid home by storing solar power throughout the day and supplying it to the home after the sun goes down. However, if you have a longer period of cloudy weather and your solar energy production is low for several days, there’s a chance that your batteries will run out of energy completely, since they won’t be able to recharge during daylight hours. When this happens, you’ll need a secondary backup power source, like a generator, to get your batteries recharged and restore power to your home.
It’s important for off-grid solar users to invest in not only the best batteries for solar off-grid, but a quality generator and fuel to keep on hand for those emergency situations. For example, comparing your costs with the most affordable electricity rates in Texas might help you understand the long-term financial implications of choosing to go off-grid.