In recent years, going off grid has become a hot subject for homeowners all over the country. As electricity costs keep rising, more and more people are considering alternatives to achieve total energy independence. Naturally, as energy experts, we constantly hear a recurring question from potential and current clients and that is — can I go off grid with solar panels? That’s why we’ve decided to take a deep dive into off-grid systems and help you decide if solar panels are the right choice for your home.
Solar Panels and Off Grid Energy Production
Generally speaking, living off grid means that you are able to meet 100% of your electricity needs on-site. Usually, people achieve this through alternative energy sources such as solar power. However, while going off grid with solar panels is entirely possible, they are just one piece of the puzzle.
More specifically, you’ll need the following equipment to maintain a prolonged off-grid lifestyle:
- Solar panels
- Solar inverters
- Mounting and racking systems
- Solar charge controller
- Solar battery
- Junction boxes
Although you may be able to create enough electricity without some of these devices and tools, you won’t be able to store it. In other words, whenever solar panels are unable to capture sunlight, such as during the night or on cloudy days, you’ll have a hard time covering your daily consumption.
The Pros of Going Off Grid
Switching to an off-grid system can prove beneficial to your home in a variety of ways:
- Savings: Disconnecting your home from the local grid means that you won’t have to pay a monthly power bill ever again. Sure, installing solar panels is a costly endeavor. But it provides a great return on investment, especially since energy prices are expected to rise considerably. And thanks to government incentives, you’ll be able to further reduce the price of solar panels.
- Blackout-proof: If you’re using solar batteries, you can draw power whenever you need it. That means your home is protected from blackouts, whether they are caused by storms, rains, or power grid overloads.
- Eco-friendly: Using renewable energy allows you to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Thus, you’ll be able to protect the environment and help combat global warming.
- Limitless building potential: Off grid solar systems are perfect for homes where there’s no direct connection to a national power grid, like a cabin in the mountains. As a result, you can build your dream home wherever you want while also having access to clean and affordable energy. Plus, you won’t need to hire a company to install power lines out to your home, further reducing your initial installation costs.
The Cons of Going Off Grid
Apart from their many benefits, off grid systems also have a couple of disadvantages that are worth mentioning:
- Cost: If you want to provide enough electricity for your home, you’ll need a large energy system. Its cost depends on the power usage and size of your home. But usually, it ranges between $30,000 and $48,000. However, as mentioned above, you can take advantage of solar incentives such as the Federal Tax Credit or local cash rebates.
- Limited backup power: Unfortunately, if something goes wrong with your energy system, you won’t be able to use the local grid as a backup. Although solar batteries will help reduce the risk of blackouts, even they can fail. That’s why it’s best to choose a high-quality solar battery to cover any problems that might occur with your system.
Is Going Off Grid Worth it?
All in all, going off grid using solar panels is entirely possible. But is it worth it? The bottom line is that installing a system that’s powerful enough to cover your home’s consumption can be expensive. Additionally, you’ll lose benefits such as net metering and reliable backup power.
However, if you can afford it, an off-grid system can guarantee your independence and protect your home from blackouts and ludicrous energy bills. As a result, you should first analyze the pros and cons before deciding on what type of system to install. And remember that Atlantic Key Energy is always ready to help, so you can make the best decision for your family!