Solar panels let you be your own utility company! This is particularly helpful when utility power is unavailable or is too expensive to be brought into your home or cabin or to any place of requirement, for that matter. It lets one live in peace, without the disturbance that is part and parcel of generators. Solar power that is off-grid comes in many variations and you could pick yours based on your needs and budget. No matter what your selection is, all depend on solar electric panels for power generation and a bank of batteries as well, for power storage.
How does it work ?
Off-grid DC Solar Power Systems
These are solar power systems that are most frequently used to power appliances that run on DC in boats, recreational vehicles, cabins etc. These systems are also used in farms/ranches to power cattle gates and telecommunication systems when utility power isn’t available or accessible. The remarkable aspect here is that DC solar power turns out to be much less expensive than AC solar power, as there is no requirement of an inverter to convert the stored power in the batteries from DC into AC. However, DC power is not able to power appliances that run on standard AC power.
Off-grid AC Solar Power Systems
This system also stores the generated DC power in batteries, but it has the addition of an inverter which makes it possible for this system to convert the DC from the batteries to AC which allows the powering up of any appliance that runs on standard AC power. This is a huge advantage as most common household appliances are designed to run on AC power. While this type of power system costs more than the Off-grid DC Solar Power System due the presence of the inverter, this one lets the less expensive, regular appliances be powered! The choice of appliances that can be powered is wider as well.
Off-grid Solar Power for Remote Telecommunications
In locations that are far off from power lines, small Off-grid Solar Power systems could be employed to power tele-communication systems.
Off-grid Hybrid Systems
Off-grid Hybrid Systems employ a combination of power generating systems – wind generators, solar panels, gas generators etc. The gas generators are however, the most notorious, as they are very difficult to get going, are noisy and require a lot of maintenance, when compared to solar panel power systems. On top of these, this one also requires you to haul in fuel. We think we’ve just warned you enough!