Going Off-Grid with Solar, Part 1: What Does it Mean and How Much Will it Cost?


| 8/12/2019 9:40:00 AM


 

This is Part 1 of a two-part series that explores the economics of going completely off-grid with solar. Part 1 focuses on what it actually means to go “off-grid” and how to start thinking about calculating the costs for cutting the cord with your utility. Part 2 discusses two real-world examples of sizing an off-grid solar energy system, along with the feasibility of going through with an off-grid solution.

The notion of living off-the-grid is becoming increasingly popular. Given the rising cost of electricity throughout the country, it’s hard to not at least consider cutting the cord every time a utility bill comes through the mail. But what does it really mean to go “off-grid”? For such a simple concept, the logistics of going off-grid are in fact rather complicated and very costly.

What Does It Mean To Go “Off-grid”?

Taking your home off-grid from an electricity perspective means completely removing any connection to the larger electric grid, which powers the large majority of homes, buildings and businesses throughout the country. This means that to go off-grid, you’ll need to meet all of your household needs with electricity produced on-site.

Importantly, installing solar panels on your roof does not mean that you’ve gone off the grid. Most solar energy systems are not designed to consistently generate enough electricity to be a home’s only power source, which is why the vast majority of solar homeowners maintain a connection with their utility company.



In these cases, a policy called net metering allows you to put the electricity produced by your solar panels back onto the electric grid when you aren’t using it, and to then pull from the grid when your solar panels aren’t producing, at night or when the weather is less than ideal. At the end of the month or year, you’re billed by your electric utility on the net of production from your solar panels and the electricity you used from the grid, hence the term net-metering.

Andy Li
8/23/2019 5:19:32 PM

Great article. You do save a few installation dollars when you purchase 3 PowerWall at once. You can buy less battery by completing all the chore during the sunlight hours because solar energy can be converted directly from PV panels to power your appliances. In the other words, the more works you complete two to three hours before and after the noon, the less battery you will have to invest. Also, if you live in the areas where high wind is expected during the late evening or early morning, installing a H-Axis wind turbine will help reduce the investment made into buying battery. At last, lithium battery is much better choice these days because of the advance on EV.




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