There are three main solar power systems – grid-tied (on-grid, grid-connected), off-grid (stand-alone power system (SAPS), and hybrid solar (battery storage with grid-connection). Since I’ve already written about grid-tied systems, in this post I’ll give some basic information about off-grid residential solar power systems.
An off-grid solar power system is a solar panel system not connected to the grid. This means that you are completely independent of the utility grid and your solar system produces clean electricity for all your energy needs. The system consists of solar panels, an off-grid inverter, charge controller and rechargeable battery storage. An off-grid backup generator is an optional component.
Before buying and installing an off-grid power system you should know your daily power needs. This will help determine which size system is appropriate for you. You can check out this off-grid system calculator to determine the size of the system for your off-grid home. Your solar panel system can be mounted on the roof or on the ground.
The off-grid solar power system just like the other solar power systems works by generating electricity from solar panels. That electricity is direct current (DC), so it is converted using an inverter to alternative current (AC) and then it powers your home electronic appliances. AC is the standard form of electricity for anything that “plugs in” to utility power and it is a necessary form for the household appliances to work.
When solar panels generate excess electricity it charges a solar battery (DC) via a charge controller. The charge controller is an essential component because it regulates the voltage and current that solar battery storage receives, to prevent overcharging and damage. And by saving the solar power in battery storage, it is possible to run your home appliances with energy from the sun, even at night or on cloudy days when solar panels produce less electricity.
The off-grid solar power systems are much more expensive then on-grind systems due to the high prices of the batteries. It is suitable for one family home if you would like to gain complete energy independence, holiday houses, and especially for houses and farms in remote areas far away from the electricity grid. But although the off-grid solar power system is expensive this is a long-term investment that will save you money and deliver green, reliable power for decades.
See also: Solar Power Calculating Tools Online