Living off the grid is an exciting prospect for those of us who value self-sufficiency and independence. But off-grid living is also a challenge. To do it successfully, you need access to a number of resources, including your own power supply.
Off-grid solar panels are the best option for producing your own electricity. With an off-grid solar system, you can generate and store 100% of the power you need with zero reliance on outside sources like the electric grid.
In this guide, we’ll cover the key components of an off-grid solar installation and explain everything you need to live off the grid with solar.
Key Components of an Off-Grid Solar System
To live off the grid with solar, you will need a complete off-grid solar system with batteries.
All solar panel systems start with the same components:
- Solar PV (photovoltaic) Panels: Absorb sunlight and generate electricity.
- Solar Inverter: Converts direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity.
- Mounting System: Solar panels can be mounted just about anywhere—on a house, shed, garage, or ground mounts.
To operate off the grid, you need additional components:
- Solar Battery Bank: Stores solar energy for later use.
- Solar Charge Controller: Controls the flow of electricity into your battery bank to prevent overcharging and maximize efficiency.
Grid-tied solar systems may also include battery storage for backup power, but it’s optional. To live off-grid with solar, you absolutely need battery backup since you won’t be able to draw power from the grid at night or on a hazy or overcast day.
How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Run a House Off-Grid?
Off-grid solar systems are almost always larger than grid-tied systems because they need to generate all the power a home needs, not just some of it. The exact number of solar panels you’ll need for an off-grid set-up really depends on how much power you need. If you’re installing off-grid solar for a small cabin in the woods you only use on the weekends, you won’t need that many panels. But if you want to live fully off the grid in a large homestead with high-powered equipment, you will need a lot more panels.
Try out our free sizing calculator to estimate how many panels you’ll need to go off-grid with solar!
How Many Batteries Does it Take to Run a House Off-Grid?
Off-grid solar systems need large battery banks to keep things running after dark since they don’t have a grid connection. How much battery storage you need for off-grid solar depends, again, on how much power you need. The more power you use and want access to, the more storage capacity you will need.
The Most Important Component of an Off-Grid Solar System: Installation
Installation is an important part of any solar project, especially when it comes to off-grid solar systems. Off-grid solar panels do not have a connection to the electric grid. That means there is no backup plan—if your system fails or malfunctions, you will be without power until it’s repaired.
Since the stakes are so high with off-grid solar, the system design and installation need to be perfect. If you live on the North Coast, Six Rivers Solar is the team for the job. We specialize in off-grid solar and battery storage design and can get you the reliable solar you need for off-grid living. We’ve been the local leader in renewable energy since 1980 and are the go-to solar company for off-grid and microgrid installations on the North Coast.