The best off grid solar system is one of the most valuable innovations of today because it is economical in the long-term and eco-friendly.
It does not cause pollution or burn fossil fuel to run, but use the energy from the sun. It is also easy to install, use and maintain just like other most trusted solar products.
However, it is not easy to compare and find the right system if you’re clueless on the considerations to check as well as the top-tier among these solar systems on the market.
For this reason, it will help to read a buying guide and reviews that will give you a clear idea on good picks, each having features, pros and cons. If you’re ready, let us get started so that you can later make a better decision.
|Renogy Solar Systems
|WindyNation Solar Systems
|ExpertPower Solar Systems
|1.6 – 2.5 kWh
|4 x 100W
|4 x 100W
|6 x 100W
Top 10 Off Grid Solar System Reviews
1. Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Off Grid Solar Premium Kit
- Sleek design
- High efficiency rate
- Easy to install
- Durable frame
- Charging is weather dependent
You can be in charge on your solar power off-grid system with the help of the Renogy Premium Off-Grid Solar Kit. This solar kit is reliable and efficient, and they can perform the tasks that you want a solar kit to perform.
The kit includes a compact design with a 100W mono off-grid solar panel. The mono solar panel is sleek in design and size, plus it is also sleek in color and weight.
The panels are made from the top-tier solar cells that Renogy has developed, and they are efficient and effective.
Renogy Premium Solar Kit includes a Rover MPPT Solar Charge Controller that has a power tracking technology that can increase your solar panel charging power.
The most trusted off grid power systems also include mounting brackets, an adaptor kit, and a fusing component for the controller, a tray cable, and battery protection.
A Bluetooth power module is also included in the kit that allows you to monitor the parameter changes remotely and directly through the application called Renogy BT.
You can install this premium kit works on a boat, an RV, or even when you go camping. It can be installed in the ground with a mounting system or through a campsite off-grid.
The main purpose of this kit is to monitor and recharge a battery bank with 12-volts. Although you can’t run your direct current loads off the solar panel or the charge controller, you can run it by connecting your direct current loads to the battery bank.
Renogy offers a starter kit as well, but the advantage of having a premium kit is that you can get better panels, a Bluetooth module, an MPPT charge controller, and fuses.
If you have not used a solar panel before, you may be confused about the importance of MPPT.
MPPT is a method of regulating the power that finds the best operating point for your solar panel voltage and current. Because of its way of charging, MPPT charge controllers are 99% efficient.
For the premium kit with 100-watt and 200-watt, it is highly recommended to get a 12-volt 100 AH battery, and for a 300-watt and 400-watt kit, you will need a 12-volt 200AH battery.
With its amazing and sleek design plus a frame and structure that is durable, the Renogy Premium Solar Kit can give you the highest and top-rated efficiency per area, and it is the perfect item for those with off-grid applications.
Its rover charge controller has a peak conversion efficiency of 98% and a tracking efficiency of 99%. The kit as four stages of the battery charging process, they are rapid, efficient, safe battery charging and full.
You do not have to worry about the junction box getting wet because it is waterproof, and with a rating of IP65, it can withstand any harsh weather conditions.
2. WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Kit
- Complete kit and ready to install
- High efficiency solar panels
- Designed for off-grid living
- Ideal for cabins, homes and recreational vehicles
- May need battery replacement
- Charging varies from sunlight availability
When shopping around for a good off-grid solar system, you should also not miss the WindyNation. It is a complete kit that will give you the convenience and ease of installation as well as use. Choosing it, you will not have a hard time to set it up in your cabin, home, recreational vehicle or boat, among others.
One of the things that make the WindyNation a good choice is it’s a complete kit. This model includes a 100W polycrystalline solar panel, solar charge controller, solar cable, connectors, mounting hardware and so on. Buying it, you don’t need to buy any other accessories because it is ready to install.
Another thing that I liked about the off-grid solar system is that it comes with battery cables and AGM deep cycle batteries, which are maintenance free, too.
In addition, I liked the solar system because it is good as a remote and backup power source. You can also use it in boats and other applications you need power source. So if you’re living off the grid and want an efficient system, you might want to take a look at the WindyNation.
I would like to mention that this model is with adjustable settings for tis solar charge controller. This model has an LCD screen that can display voltage, amperage, temperature, amp-hours and DC load draw. All these features can add to the ease of use and convenience of this unit.
It is also one of the most reliable systems around for its solar panels that can offer an average of 1700-watt hours (150 amp hours) of daily charge, but it depends on the weather condition. More so, this system comes with a 5-year warranty on the solar panel, 25 years for the output and one year for all the rest of the components.
3. ExpertPower LiFePO4 5KWH 12V Solar Power Kit
- Impressive 5kWh, 200Ah capacity
- Advanced, high-capacity lithium batteries
- High-quality solar system components
- 40A MPPT charge controller is highly efficient
- Bluetooth technology for hassle-free management
- Effortless installation with mounting brackets
- The solar panel cables are somewhat short
The ExpertPower LiFePO4 is a reliable powerhouse enabling off-grid families to enjoy modern technologies anywhere. By drastically lowering energy costs, the kit makes it possible to live comfortably and conveniently, even when one is in the middle of nowhere.
I am impressed with this solar power kit’s completeness and thoughtful design. Some brands only consider the quality of the solar panels and charge controllers, not the associated elements.
For example, this off grid solar battery system includes a pair of 200Ah lithium-ion power cells with advanced battery management technology. This feature is noteworthy, considering the product from ECI Power only provides a single unit of 100Ah LiFePO4 battery.
In addition, the six 100-watt solar panels that come with the kit are nothing to scoff at. Off-grid families can enjoy 5 kWh daily with optimum weather conditions. These photovoltaic cells should still collect photons and transform them into DC electricity, even in overcast skies, thanks to the monocrystalline panels.
The 40A MPPT charge controller is also more efficient than its PWM counterpart. Plus, the system’s 3kW inverter charger already features pure sine wave technology for cooler, quieter, and faster machine operation.
My favorite is this off-grid solar system’s BT-2 Bluetooth solar module, allowing me to monitor the panel, battery, and load statuses on my smartphone. It keeps a record of system parameters and enables me to tweak the settings for my needs.
Installation is never an issue because the off-grid solar system already has everything homeowners require, including the mounting brackets. However, having extra pairs of hands should make the setup faster and more effective.
4. ECI Power 1.3kWh 12V Solar Power System Kit
- Dependable-quality system elements: monocrystalline panels
- MPPT charge controller maxes at 30 amps
- Smart, safe lithium battery technology against over-voltage, over-discharge, etc
- Complete kit for quick and effortless setups
- Recommended for small off-grid homes, RVs, and boats
- May not meet most families’ electrical requirements (1,300-kilowatt-hour)
Some people only have modest electrical requirements, making ECI Power an excellent choice. Like many off grid solar power systems for homes, this product delivers pure and clean energy to power almost everything off-grid families need.
Like the ExpertPower model, this solar system kit has everything off-grid families need to enjoy life’s modern comforts and conveniences. The four monocrystalline panels deliver 100 watts each, while the MPPT charge controller maxes at 30 amps. It is the perfect solution for RVs, travel trailers, campers, and marine vessels.
A Bluetooth module complements high-performance off grid solar panels. LManaging this solar system’s input and output parameters and operational settings is a cinch. I could be lounging on my boat or hiding from the sun in my off-grid property and never miss crucial information about the solar system.
Although this system only has one 100Ah lithium-iron battery, it still offers peace of mind. The battery does not have an integrated BMS for the supply of loads, but the charge controller oversees its safe operation. The 30A MPPT protects the power cell from low-voltage, over-voltage, over-temperature, and over-discharge.
The 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter charger completes the kit, alongside 12AWG battery cables, solar panel cables, brackets, and mounting hardware. I will not be surprised if families set up this solar system within hours,
A 1,300-kilowatt-hour output might be insufficient for some off-grid families, although it should be enough for a small home. If one requires more electric production, I recommend the 5-kWh ExpertPower model.
5. ECO-WORTHY 1000 Watt 1KW Off Grid Solar System
- Versatile for many off-grid applications
- Complete kit with mounting brackets
- Easy to install and use
- Durable and heavy-duty construction
- Sleek and modern design
Are you looking for the top-rated off grid solar power system? Check out the ECO-WORTHY 1000 Watt 1KW Off Grid Solar System. It is a top-ranking product in the category, and for reasons.
One of the things that make it a standout includes its versatility for use in boats and recreational vehicles. In addition, this product is useful for dry camping and other applications involving off-grid purposes.
It is also a complete package that you can install immediately once you have set it up. This model is with 6 pieces of 160W mono solar panels, solar combiner box, solar cable, mounting brackets and charge controller. With these, you can set up the solar system and not buy any additional components.
This model is with efficient solar cells for top performance of the solar modules. They can also help in creating max output easily.
In addition, I would like to note that the product comes with a 25-year transferable output warranty that makes it a better choice among the rest. It is also rated to have a five-year and 95% efficiency.
I would like to note that the solar system is also ideal for backup power supply, homes and cabins. With this feature, you can look forward to flexible uses of the solar system. This model is also with IP65 rated junction box, reducing any drop in power due to shade.
It can also make sure of superior performance even in a low lighting environment or location. More so, this system can deal with strong wind loads and heavy snow.
This model is with short-circuit protection, over discharge protection and overcurrent protection, to name some, to ensure of non-damage of your solar system with proper use.
6. WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit
- Efficient Solar Charging of 1600 Watt Hours (Wh) or 135 Amp hours
- Cost saving due to complete kit in one purchase
- Solar Powered 1500 Watt VertaMax Inverter
- Package includes a Solar Charge Controller with LCD display
- Installation may be challenging for those with less experience in electronics and wiring
RV owners usually endure long travels with long lasting and heavy-duty solar panel kit to support their engine’s battery. Among the line of the finest solar kits on the market is made by WindyNation that they can read about in simple off grid system reviews. Enlisted below are its assets as well as a little imperfection.
What I appreciate the most on the product description of WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit is it offers a complete set of energy inverter and saver for various house appliances and vehicles.
Unlike the other vendor that sells piece by piece of these items, WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit has it all in one kit. Who wouldn’t love a cost-saving purchase and free solar powered set as it gains energy straight from the sun?
Take note that when you grab the WindyNation set, it feels like you really bring home the bacon. The list richly includes four pieces of 100 Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel. All of the solar panels are absorbent of sunlight that is a total advantage for your RV power needs.
Another device that can be found on the list is a 30-amp P30L Solar Charge Controller. It’s not your ordinary controller as it has an incorporated LCD Display.
I like it because it will be a great help for the operators to use as it has a screen where you can track the performance of the device itself.
Whether you go for a short vacation on remote areas via RV, the portable WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit is perfect. This set can sustain you with the power that you need for your car as well as for your appliances.
I just so impressed that the panels can charge for up to 1600-watt hours (Wh) or equivalent to 135 Amp hours of charge per day.
7. ECO LLC 900W 24V Complete Off Grid Solar System Kit
- Yields 2.5 kwh electricity output per day
- Compatible for 24 volt battery
- Corrosion Resistant and Waterproof
- With one-year warranty
- Cable wires might be insufficient
Another mighty Off-Grid Solar System Kit is found in the creations of ECO LLC. It already builds a respected reputation in producing efficient solar system necessities. Here are the pros and cons of their products.
If I’m going to shop for a new Off-Grid Solar System Kit, I’ll be highly keen to the completeness of the package as well as the quality. And I think ECO LLC has done us a favor in inventing their 900W 24V Complete Off Grid Solar System Kit.
As you scrutinize the product description, it is not so hard to notice that ECO LLC is generous to include all the vital parts in running a whole solar system. I suggest that you don’t let your 24-volt battery sit alone and wait for a perfect solar system kit. You should grab this one and save energy in the long term.
I think your money will be all worth it when you buy the whole set which includes 6 pieces of 150W 18V Poly Solar Panel, 6 String Combiner Box, 1500 24V to 110V Off Grid Inverter, 60A AMP LCD Charge Controller and a User Manual.
It is worth mentioning that the electricity output of this Off-Grid Solar System Kit is 2.5 kwh each day. That is strong enough to supply power for charging DC 24 volt appliances and gadgets inside cars, boats, RVs and other machines.
ECO LLC thought well the construction of their Off Grid Solar System kit. All the solar panels included in the package are made of low iron and 3.2mm high-transparency tampered glass.
Therefore, the said solar panels are corrosion-resistant to withstand outdoor climate pressures like snow and winds.
Meanwhile, its 60A AMP LCD Charge Controller is made waterproof so no more worries if it soaks wet when it rains. However, it is not to say that it is okay to submerge this product in the water, or it will be damaged. For the rest of the care tips, you might want to refer to its user manual.
What is more fascinating is its Combiner Box that has surge lighting protection quality. It is an innovative feature that protects the unit from damage during a bad weather when there is possibility of it being strike.
What I love more about ECO LLC is that they offer a one-year warranty so they can assist the valued clients in terms of their issues and concerns on the Off Grid Solar System Kit. With a good warranty, you can have peace of mind that you can get help if something goes wrong with your off-grid solar system.
8. ECO-WORTHY 240 Watt 12V Solar Panel Kit
- Durable and high quality construction
- Multi-purpose and versatile for homes, cabins and other remote areas
- Easy to install and use
- Convenient and reliable power source
- Waterproof and weatherproof
- Customer service can be an issue.
Eco-worthy solar is a company that manufactures solar panels and renewable energy products like the top-tier off grid solar kits since 2002. For years, they have made several amazing products, and one of them is the Eco-worthy Kit.
It has a monocrystalline solar panel that is suited for charging your 24V or 12V system. This panel can make sure that the top-tier performance is given in a low light environment.
It has a bypass diode that can help lower the impact of shade, and it also gives maximum light to the solar cells.
The monocrystalline cells of the panel are made with a single crystal of silicon instead of numerous silicon fragments that are melted together.
The materials of the solar panel protect the equipment from failing due to weather conditions and factory defects.
The solar panels have a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame that can be used for outdoor use. It allows the panels to last for years and withstand snow and harsh wind. The product is made of durable materials that make it ideal for use outdoors. It is one of the things that the manufacturer has ensured for their customer’s satisfaction.
The panel has a rating of IP65, so it is waterproof, the junction box is also waterproof and dustproof.
The solar panel is widely used; it can be used for telecommunication, lighting, oil and gas, security and surveillance, traffic, water pumping, utility monitoring and more. It is compatible with off-grid inverters, and it can be used in boats and RVs.
It is also very easy to install, it has pre-drilled holes on the back, and it allows fast securing and mounting.
This solar panel is compatible with ground mounts and other mounts that are offered by Tilt Mounts and Pole Mounts.
The Eco-worthy solar panel is made with high-quality materials, and it is meant to last for years, even with little to no maintenance.
The use of the latest technology gives the solar panel a consistent supply of needed voltage to work. As for the output, it offers 20A as a maximum rated charge.
Using it is also very simple; you can place it in front of the sunlight and connect the battery to the controller. You can then attach it to the solar panel. For all the rest, you can just refer to the specifications of installation for correct mounting.
This is all you have to do to be able to enjoy an unlimited supply of power. You can also mount it at any place that you find convenient, provided it is well exposed to sunlight. The unit will function more efficiently if under the direct sunlight.
The Eco-worthy includes 2 separate sets of mounting brackets, 2 pieces of solar panels with 120w, 1 piece of 100AH battery, 1 piece of 20A charge controller complete with LCD, 1 piece of 12V-110V off grid wave inverter (pure sine), 1 pair of cables with adapter about 16.4 feet and one pair of Y branch connector MC4.
9. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Solar Panel
- Portable and convenient
- Easy to fold and store
- Easy to use and maintain
- Waterproof to deal with changing weathers
- Durable and top quality construction
- Charging efficiency affects operation
If you are on a hunt for a portable and convenient power system, the Renogy Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase is the most trusted choice for you. It has a complete set of features that make it easy to set up and use. You will also appreciate its qualities that you will learn about in the following.
The Renogy Monocrystalline Portable Suitcase is comprised of a complete solar power system that is added into one complete kit.
This solar suitcase weighs about 26.60 pounds, this suitcase is a lightweight and includes two monocrystalline solar power panels that are 50 watts each, one 20-amp voyager charge controller that is waterproof with an LCD display screen that is intended for power system regulation.
It also includes one 10 feet cable tray with alligator type clips that is intended for you to be able to connect the solar panel’s battery and a durable protective casting that is for safe and secure portability. The Renogy Solar Suitcase makes charging easy.
The built-in five stages of solar charge give overcharge protection; it can help reduce fire risk. It also has a negative-ground charge controller that is compatible with boats, RVs, trailers, and other outdoor sites.
The Renogy Monocrystalline Portable Solar kit is compatible with sealed, gel, lithium, and flooded batteries. This kind of versatility is one of the things to check when shopping around for a good solar system for different applications.
The controller with the LCD display that shows data and operating information is waterproof so that it can withstand any weather condition. It can deal with harsh winds, snow, ice and rain.
The portable solar suitcase has a protective casing with heavy-duty latches and handles for longevity. It also has a low-voltage system that avoids electrical shock hazards to keep you safe. It is also adjustable with a corrosion-resistant stand made from aluminum and a durable handle and latch.
The folded size of this solar suitcase is 19 x 27 x 2 inches. The ideal output is 500-watt hours every day, but it will depend on the amount of solar energy that it gets.
The Renogy solar suitcase can be used anywhere; you can just fold it and go. It is easy to install and reinstall and is easy to use. I must say that it is one of my favorite features of this solar kit.
This portable solar suitcase is also perfect for camping trips as you can have everything ready in minutes.
Make sure that the solar panel is placed in a wide, open area, and it can absorb as much sunlight so that it can charge fully. It can also be used for hours after.
If you have any questions regarding the product, Renogy has a customer service hotline and email address that you can contact so you can be assisted immediately.
10. ECO-WORTHY 200 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- Made from durable materials
- USB connection
- Product may not work well during rainy season and winter
The Eco-worthy Monocrystalline Solar Panel is an ideal industrial or home solar panel. It is easy to install, and it will give you a chance to save money on your electricity bills.
The installation of this monocrystalline solar panel is perfect on a large roof that can allow the panel to get enough sunlight. It is best if it is facing south with at least a pitch for 30 degrees to get enough solar power.
Solar panels can be placed on roofs of houses or RVs so that you can decrease your electricity bill, and since it is eco-friendly, it is great for the environment as well.
The width frame of this solar panel is 35mm, and it is made from durable aluminum, ensuring its durability. The promise of the power of this solar panel is 90% within ten years and 80% after 25 years of use.
The suggested battery is lead-acid, and the size is 39 x 20 x 1.4 inches, and the weight is approximately 18 pounds.
The battery voltage of the solar panel is 12v/24v, and it has four stages of charging, which are EQU, ABS, Bulk and float, and a PWM that charges automatically between battery and solar panel in the system.
To be able to avoid short circuits, connect the solar components as follows: battery, solar panel, and load. The rated solar discharge current is 20A, and it has a built-in industrial microcontroller.
The solar panel is easy to install and use with a massive LCD display that can show the data and status clearly, and you can conveniently switch to different modes and different parameter configuration that is most suitable for home, commercial, and industrial use.
The USB output is 5V/3A with two USB connection sockets, which supports two devices that can be charged simultaneously. The power that will be used is from the battery and not from the solar panel.
The kit includes one piece of CMG solar controller, two pieces mono solar panel, two sets of Z style mounting brackets, one pair of 5 meters of solar cables, and a pair of Y branch.
It is made to offer high power output. The design makes it the top-rated solution for a stand-alone system.
The charger comes with built-in short-circuit protection, reverse protection, overload protection, and open-circuit protection.
The charger is capable of giving outstanding performance in both series circuit and parallel circuits. To connect it, attach the controller with the battery and connect it with the solar panel.
The monocrystalline solar cells of the panel promise consistent performance. It is easy to connect and install, and it has a built-in protection mechanism.
It also comes with all the hardware for a secure installation and it is made from high-quality materials.
Why You Should Trust Us
You should trust CleanEnergySummit.org when looking for an off-grid solar system because we didn’t just create reviews of off-grid solar systems but we also made a thorough research on those to include in our buying guide.
First, we listed down the considerations, and from there looked for top-ranking products in the category. We reviewed each off the grid solar system and highlighted their pros and cons for your reference.
Using a system, we made insightful reviews to help you pick the right off-grid solar system later. And referring to our website for a buying guide, we do hope you can make an informed decision later.
What Is An Off Grid Solar System And Who This Is For
Solar power systems are great alternatives to your typical electrical systems. Aside from obvious benefits like energy-efficiency, solar power systems are also cheaper and are friendlier to the environment.
There are three types of solar power systems: 1) on-grid, 2) off-grid, and 3) hybrid solar systems. This article will tackle and focus more on the second type, the off-grid solar power system.
As in their name, solar power systems like a home off grid solar system operate on solar power. They then convert that solar energy into electricity.
Also called stand-alone power systems, off-grid solar systems are basically not connected to any electrical power grid. Because of that, they are equipped with a high-capacity battery bank to store the electricity harvested by the solar panels.
Because of the battery storage, an off-grid solar system is perfect to use in long winters, during adverse weathers or emergencies. During these conditions, there is a high possibility that power outages will occur which can sometimes last from hours to days to weeks.
With an off-grid solar system, your home will not be affected since the system can provide electricity for you. Just make sure that your solar system is designed to have the capacity to meet the electricity needs of your home.
This type of solar system is also perfect to use in remote areas located far from the local electrical grid or in areas that are prone to power outages.
Examples of these places include hunting cabins, off-grid homes, bunkers, rural and developing communities, far-away places, signs, outbuildings and the like.
How Does It Work
An off-grid solar system works by collecting solar energy via the solar array that is made out of silicon photovoltaic cells that are linked together. Just how many and what type your solar panel depend on your location and your energy consumption.
To get maximum production, ensure that your solar panels are installed safely and strategically. Aside from collecting solar energy, it also converts it into DC power.
DC energy is then stored in a battery bank, which is group of batteries, that are wired together. It is recommended that you get a model that comes with a battery monitor. That way, you can effectively track and supervise the status of your battery bank as it provides you with information, such as the status, the charge and the maintenance.
Another way to protect your battery bank is by installing a solar charge controller. This allows you to regulate the voltage and current your battery bank receives from the solar panel. That way, you can protect your battery from damages.
After that, DC power is then converted into AC via your solar inverter. DC power is not usually used by your common appliances, hence, the need to convert it. A stand-alone inverter is highly suggested in off-grid solar systems.
Once it is converted, AC power is then used immediately by your appliances and other electronics. In cases of excess, it is then converted again into DC energy and stored inside the battery bank. In this way, you can use the energy saved up by the battery bank even during nighttime.
Lastly, a good small off grid solar system needs a back-up generator. In case of emergencies, or during long winters or overcast days, the back-up generator provides an alternative power source. This way, you will still have a continuous supply of electricity. A diesel-powered generator is typically suggested.
What Are The Different Types Of Off Grid Solar Systems
There are typically five types of off-grid solar systems. Before you purchase and set up your off-grid solar system, it is important to know more about the product. This article will explain the different systems.
DC only system
DC only systems are smaller that are designed to power mainly lights and low energy consuming devices like your monitoring equipment. They are also perfect to use on DC-powered appliances having 12 voltages or lower.
This system either uses a solar panel or wind generator that generates DC power. This power is then used to charge the battery bank.
Here, there is no solar inverter. DC power is directly fed to your lights and/or appliances. This system typically has no back-up generator; hence, you need to ensure that your system is sized to handle your loads in emergency situations.
Mixed DC and AC system
This hybrid system is similar to your DC only system but with the addition of an AC inverter. This is still designed for powering light or low energy equipment.
With the AC inverter, you are able to power appliances that have 230 volts.
Nevertheless, since it is a small system, there is also no back-up generator. Thus, it must be designed in such a way to ensure that it can handle your loads during emergencies.
AC only system
This system is designed to handle bigger loads and is equipped with a solar array rather than one solar panel. The solar array collects solar energy and then converts it into DC power. This power is then stored into the battery bank.
With the solar inverter, the DC power is converted into AC power that can be used to run your typical household electronics and appliances.
In this type of system, a back-up generator is also absent. Hence, you need to ensure that your system can handle your loads in case of power outages and emergencies.
AC system with wind and solar
As in the name, this off-grid solar system runs on two sources of energy: solar and wind energies. The solar array collects and converts solar energy into DC power which is then stored into the battery bank.
During cloudy days, wind energy is collected via the wind turbine. It is then converted into DC power and stored in a battery bank.
DC power is converted into AC power via the inverter and is fed to your home appliances.
AC system with back-up generator
This system is just your AC system with the addition of a back-up generator. It works on the same principle. However, with a generator in hand, you have an advantage. Your home will be able to have a continuous power supply even during emergencies or power outages.
Generators are powered through diesel, petrol or LPG.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Off Grid Solar Power Systems
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of a product is needed to make an informed choice about it. with this, you’ll know what to expect and be ready in cases of damage.
Like all devices, an off-grid solar system has its own share of advantages and disadvantages.
Reduce electricity costs
One of the main advantages of solar systems is the reduced electricity costs. For one, solar energy is free unlike your electricity. This is especially advantageous to people living in sunny areas.
Moreover, you can also save in terms of oil and gas prices. Since you rely on solar power, the continuing rise on fossil fuels won’t bother you.
Since off-grid solar systems rely on solar power, they are also the friendlier choice in terms of the environment. Not only is it cheap, you can also do your part in saving the environment by going solar. Moreover, you can reduce your own family’s carbon footprint.
Great for remote areas
Off-grid solar systems are also beneficial to those who live in remote areas. Instead of spending on extending your power lines, you get to save by living off the grid. You also have the freedom of choosing where you live since you can generate your own electricity.
Living off the grid is also suitable for those in areas that are prone to power outages or have power failures.
With this, you would not have to suffer through days or weeks without electricity since you will be able to have a continuous power supply. Just make sure that the energy stored in your batteries is enough for your consumption.
In case it isn’t, opt for an off-grid solar system that comes with a back-up generator. that way, you’ll still have electricity when your battery bank runs out.
Off-grid solar systems are generally sturdy and do not require a lot of fuss in terms of maintenance and aftercare. You just need to clean the body a couple of times and they’re still good as new. The only components you need to change are the cables, the inverter and the battery bank. However, each of them has a generally long lifespan, the shortest being 5 years.
Moreover, these systems generally have long warranties (about 20-25 years), so in cases of damages, you can always return them.
High Initial Price
Since it is still fairly new technology, the initial cost of off-grid solar power systems is initially high. In fact, according to a study, the high upfront costs of off-grid solar systems are one of the reasons why households get discouraged of living off the grid.
For them, it is still better to purchase a small solar system to save a little bit on electricity but still generally rely on the grid for their needs.
If you want to produce and store more electricity, you would typically need to upgrade and install more components to your off-grid solar system. For one, solar arrays require a lot of space on your roofs. If you install it on your yards, it might not produce enough solar energy.
Aside from the costs, your system would definitely occupy a huge amount of space that may not be feasible for some homeowners.
How We Picked And Tested
Just like when buying off grid solar batteries, you must carefully consider your options on the available off-grid solar systems on the market to ensure that you’re making a good decision.
A good off-grid solar system is one that is fully capable of handling your load and one that is made out of high-quality materials. To ensure that you get the top-tier quality for your money, consider these steps.
Calculate the load
Before you buy the components to your off-grid solar system, you must first calculate the total load of your home. This number is important to know since it dictates the quality and the power of your other components.
To start, you need to choose what devices you want to run and calculate how many hours they will operate. After that, check their specification charts for their respective ratings.
Then, get the watt-hour for each device by multiplying the power rating by the run time. Then, get the total watt-hour by adding all the watt-hours of your appliances.
Now that you know your total load, it’s time to choose your components.
First, you need the battery to store the electricity. There are different types of batteries available in the market. Choosing one depends on how much storage you need, the number of appliances you wish to run, and the amount of power sources you have.
For solar systems, lead acid batteries are suggested. You can also use Ni-MH or lithium ion batteries if you’re only powering a small load.
Moreover, as a larger system requires a bigger bank and vice versa. If you only want to power low energy consuming devices, then a 12V battery bank is suggested. However, you want to use 24V to 48V if you wish to power 200 watts or more.
Most households typically use batteries ranging from 12 volts to 24 volts.
To get enough energy to satisfy your load component, you need to ensure you get enough “sun hours”. Sun hours refer to the number of hours the sun is shining on your solar panels. With this, you’ll have an estimate on how much solar power you can generate.
There are different types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous. The crystalline solar panels are generally more preferred since they generate a decent amount of electricity. In fact, out of the three, the monocrystalline panels generate the most electricity; however, they are also expensive. On the other hand, amorphous solar panels are perfect for small loads.
The number of solar panels depends on your location and the time of year. If you live in cloudy areas or places that have winters, consider getting a generator for back-up power.
A charge controller regulates the voltage and current as to protect the battery. Like the other components, there are also different types of charge controllers: On/off models, PWM and MPPT. Choosing one depends on the number you get after diving the watts from the solar energy by the battery’s voltage.
However, as a rule of thumb, choose between PWM and MPPT since they are the most efficient. In fact, the MPPT is the most efficient; however, they’re also expensive.
Generally, a PWM charge controller is suggested if the solar array is equal to the battery’s voltage. So for example, for 200 volts or above, you must use an MPPT charge controller.
If your appliances mostly run on AC power, then you need an inverter. An inverter converts the DC power you get from the solar panel into AC power for your appliances to use. However, if your appliances are DC powered, you can skip this step.
To know what inverter to get, know first if your devices use either 120V or 240V. This also depends on the voltage of your battery bank. Some inverters are stackable and can be wired together.
There are different types: square wave, modified sine wave and pure sine wave. A pure sine wave is generally preferred since it is the most efficient and is suitable to all devices. Moreover, it also protects your items and is also safe.
On the other hand, the square wave is the cheapest but is only suitable to select devices whereas, the modified sine wave inverters is not suitable if you’re planning to power powerful appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, and the like.
Balancing the system
Aside from getting the essential components, you also need these to balance the system. This includes:
- Breaker boxes
- Solar panel mounts
- Fuses and breakers
A bonus component is the back-up generator. If you are living in areas where there are long winters, or there are typically overcast days, or in remote or rural areas, then investing in a back-up generator is a great idea.
In case the sun will not be available, the back-up generator will be there to power your home. They are powered by different fuels such as diesel, gas or the like. Choosing one is usually a matter of preference for the user.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does an off grid solar kit cost?
Families can expect to spend anywhere between $45,000 and $65,000 on off-grid solar power systems, depending on the kit’s completeness, project size, as well as the type and quality of individual components. Budget-conscious families can set up a system for only $20,000, while more robust platforms can cost up to $100,000.
A 10kW off-grid solar system price of $63,000 is common, although it can go up as high as $72,000. These figures are for the materials alone. If you include labor, the total expenditure can increase to $70,000 or $80,000.
Off-grid families with a solar-powered AC electrical system with generator as the backup could spend $40,000 to $70,000 for the kit. Installation requires shelling out an additional $4,000 to $10,000.
How big of a solar system do I need to go off-grid?
Although you can use an online calculator to determine the solar system size appropriate for off grid living, you can manually calculate the solar requirements by assessing and analyzing a few variables.
Check your monthly electric consumption and divide that by the monthly peak sun hours. Suppose your average monthly consumption is 1,000 kWh and the average daily peak sun hours in your place is 6.5. In that case, the monthly peak sun hours are 195. Dividing 1,000 kWh by 195 hours gives us 5.13 kW- the required amount of solar energy.
Then, you must multiply the total solar energy requirements by 1000, thereby getting 5,100W. Suppose a solar panel delivers 200W, meaning you need to divide 5,100W by 200W to get 25.5. Hence, this off-grid setup requires 26 200-watt solar panels. You can make do with 13 solar panels if 400-watt photovoltaic cell panels are available.
In short, the formula to calculate the number of solar panels you need for your system is:
How much solar power is needed for an off-grid cabin?
The average off-grid cabin can consume at least seven kilowatt-hours daily, with batteries (at least three) and six high-wattage solar panels. Households with above-average electric consumption might require at least ten kilowatt-hours every day.
What are the most trusted off grid solar system brands?
There are many off grid solar system brands, so it can be hard to compare which one the top-tier for you is. For an idea, some of the most trusted brands include ECO-WORTHY, WindyNation, ECO LLC and Renogy.
How to build an off-grid solar system
After purchasing all the components required, it’s now time to set-up your off-grid solar system. You can always ask and call for professional if you are unsure, but if you want, you can install the system on your own.
- Mount your Solar Panel
Before mounting it, first choose a location where the solar panel can get the most sunlight. You can install it either on your rooftop or on the yard provided that there’s nothing to obstruct its view.
As for the mounting stand, you can either purchase or make your own. Make sure that you tilt them in an angle that will obtain the most sunlight. You can use a compass for this step to know what direction to mount your panel.
After that, you can choose to pour concrete on it to ensure its durability. Otherwise, you can skip this.
Thereafter, you mount your solar panels and proceed to wire them.
- Series and Parallel Connection
This is especially when the solar panel and battery bank is purchased separately. You have to wire these two components together to match the system. You can choose either series or parallel connections, according to your preference.
In a series connection, you connect the end of one device’s positive terminal to the other’s negative terminal. Remember, that the individual voltage of each device adds up and the current doesn’t change.
In a parallel connection, you connect one positive terminal to the other and one negative terminal to the other. With this, the voltage is constant but the total current of the unit is the sum of the devices.
You can also choose to place your inverters and battery bank in a stand to protect them. Like the solar mount, you can choose to either buy one or make one.
Next step is wiring all of your components together. First, wire the charge controller to the battery bank for it to get used to the voltage. You will know when you’ve successfully installed it when the charge controller’s indicators light up.
Next, connect the controller to the solar array via a MC4 connector. Then, connect it to the DC load or light for the final step.
If you want, you can place additional switches and fuses for added protection.
If you want to know the energy production or consumption, then you can also install energy meters. This way, you can track and monitor your production and consumption.
What is the warranty?
Just like any other products we buy, an off grid solar system does not come with the same warranty. Some may have one year and others five. It depends mostly on the manufacturer of the product. Compare it for peace of mind when finding an off-grid solar system.
What are the most trusted places to buy?
You can find these products in different stores like clean energy product shops and other home improvement stores. However, you might want to get yours at Amazon. Com if you want the best deals and prices. In the online marketplace, you can also buy from the manufacturers themselves.
How to install and use?
Refer to the specific product you bought. Instructions for installation vary from one model/brand to another. Check them out for your guidance before installing and using the off grid solar system.
How to care & maintain?
Just like in installation, care and maintenance can be specific from one manufacturer to another. Thus, you should check the user manual included in your purchase to ensure of proper usage, storage and maintenance, among others.
When shopping around for an off grid solar system, it pays off to read reviews and know the features to check. Knowing specifics of these products, you won’t feel overwhelmed even if there are many choices on the market.
In addition, you don’t have to research for yourself because we already did it for you. So saving time and effort, you can better focus on studying your options well and choosing the off grid solar system for your needs.
We do hope that you can find the right one for your specific requirements after reading this buying guide and knowing the answers to the most frequently asked questions on these products. Buy the best off grid solar system today!
Hi, I am Eddie, Cleanenergysummit’s content editor. It’s so much joy to work alongside Justin, as the idea of providing knowledge about using clean energy excites us.
I’ve been working to address any concerns or questions you may have as you transition to using solar electricity to power your home. Tune in to hear our advice and suggestions on anything clean energy. Welcome!