What You Must Consider Before Going Off Grid With Solar?

As far as power cuts and an increase in the price of electricity is concerned, almost everyone would like to generate their own electricity for consumption purposes. That way, they don’t have to pay hefty bills for it, there is almost zero chance for power cuts and you are not answerable to anyone.

Independent electrical grid and consumption of electricity at one’s own convenience might sound like a really good idea. They do, in fact, have a number of benefits for which they are so popular. They react positively with the environment and do not harm or exhaust the natural resources of the earth in any way, they provide much greater security in terms of electrical security and one doesn’t need to keep a track of the amount of energy consumed and they definitely do not need to pay the bills to enjoy that luxury.

However, this attractive deal or idea does come with a few buts and like in most such cases, there are a few things that one must consider before going off-grid with solar. People need to know everything there is to about these factors and then think about taking that path.

Things you need to consider before seeking independence from an electrical grid

There are certain homes and commercial spaces that have gone completely ‘off-the-grid’ and can no longer be linked to the utility grid. They are more than capable of producing their own electricity by natural means and sustaining. However, they all have had to consider the following factors before following through with this. Some of the most important factors that you need to consider are as follows:

Choosing the right size of the solar system – Once you have made up your mind about going totally off-grid with solar, you need to fixate upon the appropriate size of the solar system that you want to install. You need to determine how much energy is consumed by you and your family. In short, you need to get a rough estimate of the energy consumed by the household. You can get a rough idea by taking a good look at the previous bills paid for electricity consumption.

The next thing you need to do is cut down on the consumption of electricity, irrespective of the size of a solar system that you are going with. You need to stop spending and living lavishly when it comes to electricity and keep it to a bare minimum. Unnecessary consumption needs to be curtailed. Also, you need to determine the peak hours of sunshine in the area that you are living in. There are certain tools online that can help you in that zone if you are looking to buy a complete off-grid system.

Choosing the right battery for the system – Another thing you need to consider is the choice of the right battery. A lot of people get this wrong and that is why their solar system doesn’t perform optimally. If you are going off-grid with a solar system then it is essential that you get the right battery bank. Lithium-ion batteries have recently become very popular. They might be a little on the expensive side but they are the right investment.

If you want to get the most of the solar system, then you need to consider and pick out the right battery bank for it. Lead-acid batteries have proved to be the best choice so far when it comes to off-grid solar systems. There are three extremely popular flooded types available as well: L-16s, Industrial batteries, and golf-cart batteries. However, these batteries do not last for too long and need to be replaced approximately every five years or so.

The size of the battery – Once you have decided on the kind of battery that you want to get, you will need to consider the right size of the battery bank to install in your solar system. Things like how many days you want your system to survive without sunlight and so on help decide on the size of the battery bank that you need. It is best to consult with professionals before choosing the size of the battery bank in any case. Usually, solar systems are built to last the household without sunlight for around 2-3 days at a stretch. That calls for a different size of the battery bank.

Some people, on the other hand, have backup generators for this cause and they need a smaller sized battery bank. Another thing that should be considered is the lowest temperatures that the battery banks will experience during the cold season. Low temperatures are known to tamper with their effectiveness.

These are the three most important factors that one must consider before deciding to go with a complete off-grid system. While it is beneficial to generate electricity on your own, you must know what goes behind being able to do that successfully.

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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