Off-Grid Solar Systems – Self Sustainable Solar Energy
Newer, more efficient solar panels and inverters have been in the news recently, but advancements in solar technology aren’t limited to standard equipment. Energy storage is also moving closer to mass-market adoption, and more installers are offering solar batteries and solar panel battery banks (a.k.a. solar-plus-storage) as an option for homeowners.
Solar-plus-storage systems include a battery that captures and stores the excess solar energy generated by the PV system, opening the possibility of going “off the grid” – a tempting proposition for homeowners who want to sever their connection with utility companies by using renewable energy.
What does it mean to go ‘Off The Grid’ ?
Installing solar panels on your roof doesn’t mean that you’re off the grid. Most solar systems can’t consistently generate enough electricity to be a home’s only power source, which is why most solar homeowners maintain a connection with their utility company. When you generate more power than you use, your utility gives you a net metering credit on your electricity bill. When you need to, you can then spend your credits to supplement your solar power with electricity from your utility company. If/when you don’t have credits, you’re simply charged the going rate for electricity at that time. For the average solar homeowner, this process typically means you’re generating more power than needed during daylight hours, and less than needed at night.
If your solar panels can generate over 100% of your home’s electricity needs, then the credits you receive from your excess power generation could theoretically cover the costs of electricity needed in low-sunlight periods. However, this process requires that your home still stay connected to the grid. By truly going “off the grid”, you would need to sever your connection to your utility company. By doing this, you would lose the ability to purchase electricity from your utility in low-sunlight periods. Therefore, your home would need solar batteries installed to stay powered at night.
What is an Off Grid Solar Energy System ?
An off-grid system is completely independent of the electricity grid and it requires that the solar panels can produce enough electricity to cover 100% of the energy needs of the building. Most homes have higher energy demand in the evening or at night, so off-grid systems usually use either a battery (to store energy produced during the day) or a backup source of energy (like a generator). Off-grid systems are more complex and less flexible than grid-tied systems.
Off-grid systems are most common in remote locations without utility service. Off-grid solar-electric systems operate independently from the local utility grid to provide electricity to a home, building, boat, or RV (or remote agricultural pumps, gates, traffic signs, etc.). In all off-grid scenarios, electrical usage must be monitored and kept below the maximum output of the panels and batteries as there is no grid-source to supply excess power.
Working Of an Off Grid Solar System
- When sunlight hits solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, electricity (or solar energy) is produced.
- The electricity runs from solar panels through an inverter. The inverter turns the power from direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), providing solar electricity to power electronic appliances in the home or office.
- As solar power is being produced during the day, and if appliances are in operation, solar power will run through a switchboard, thus powering appliances.
- Any appliance that is AC powered can use solar powered electricity; lights, dishwashers, electric hot water cylinders, to name but a few.
- If electrical appliances are switched off, or if excess solar power is being produced, the power gets sent to the grid and is measured by the meter box. Electricity retailers apply credits in exchange for energy produced. During the night, when solar power systems are not producing energy, power can be drawn from the grid. This can be paid for with credits earned
Advantages of an Off Grid System :-
- Reduced electricity bill
- Protection against power price increases
- Allows you to consume 100% renewable energy
- No need for costly battery storage
- Environmental concerns—a desire to use less energy and make as much as possible from renewable sources
About Green Brilliance
GreenBrilliance is established with the mission to provide solar energy solutions in the DC, MD & VA areas. GreenBrilliance is a vertically integrated; end-to-end Solar Energy Services Company headquartered in the DC metro area delivering turnkey solar EPC solutions to homes, businesses & utility large scale projects at very competitive prices.
As a top-quality EPC provider, we have in-house engineering & design teams, our vertical integration across the value-chain enables us to achieve operational efficiencies leading to cost & time savings for our customers & ensures delivery of superior products at an unmatched value. At GreenBrilliance we realize & appreciate the significance of our role in educating & delivering PV systems to our customers. “An educated customer is the best customer.” We believe in excellent customer service both pre-&-post installation.
GreenBrilliance recently ranked 33rd in the top hundred installers in the world by the list published by the renowned ‘Solar World Online’ with a fantastic portfolio including the prestigious “Ronald Reagan International Airport” in Washington DC.
Core Capabilities & Services:
- Solar Consultation
- PV Design & Engineering
- Permits & Utility Interconnection
- Operations & Maintenance
Our Expertise :
- Design & engineering
- Grid-tied Distributed Solar Systems
- Off-Grid/Micro Grid Systems
- Commercial/Utility Scale Systems
- Solar Storage Systems
Compiled By : Nishanth Mahankali – Solar Design Engineer – GreenBrilliance LLC