Basic Charges Are Unavoidable
Keep in mind that even if you design and install a solar energy system that can offset 100% of your energy consumption, you will still have to pay basic charges from the utility company if your system is grid-tied. These may include a monthly base charge or minimum charges.
Talk to your utility company ahead of time to determine what your power bill will look like if you choose to go solar, and be sure to ask them about their net metering policy.
What To Do If Your Solar System Doesnt Produce Enough Energy
You may wonder, what do I do if my existing solar system doesnt produce enough electricity to cover my needs. In that case you have two options reduce your usage or increase production.
Before investing on more power input, it is always prudent to investigate whether an upgrade of appliances, more efficient lighting, or completely removing an unnecessary power consumer would solve the problem. For many off grid homes, saving power is much cheaper than increasing production.
However, you may find yourself in the situation where you need to increase your overall power production. The first thing to do is to make sure you are getting the most out of your existing panels . After that, it is time to consider adding additional solar panels to your system.
To add more solar panels, if your system is relatively new, maybe a year or less, then the simplest thing to do is to buy more of the identical solar panels that you already have, and add additional parallel strings. Check out my solar free designers guide if you are not clear on series and parallel solar panel wiring
Which Solar Panel Power Rating To Choose
The most common solar panels used for residential solar energy systems have power output ratings of 250 to 400 Watts.
If two panels have the same dimensions and assuming one is rated at 270 W and the other at 400 W, the latter is more efficient and typically more expensive.
We recommend going with the most efficient panels available to you, because the more power output per panel, the fewer the panels especially if your usable roof area is limited.
However, if budget is the issue rather than the usable roof area, lower efficiency panels could be a good fit for you.
The calculator will give you the roof square footage required for your solar array based on the power rating you choose for your panels.
Keep in mind that roof square footage does not equal your homes square footage. As a rule of thumb, your roof square footage equals approximately 1.5 times your houses square footage.
Diagram Hybrid Solar System Combination Of Off
A hybrid solar system is permanently connected to the power grid but also uses bartteries
Solar energy should be about saving money and living greener. A model solar system should be efficient and finically feasible. While the off-grid solar system seems to allow for flexibility and self-sustainability, it is way more expensive.
On top of that, it is not reliable on cloudy days or at night. The ultimate solution is to go for the grid-tied solar system.
You will not have to purchase backup batteries or struggle with financially straining maintenance costs. It is the go-to solar system if you are after predictability and security.
How Much Does An Off
The prices of off grid systems range from about $50 to tens of thousands of dollars. Thats because off grid solar has such a huge variety of applications.
If we talk specifically about off-grid solar kits that can power an entire home, then prices range from $12,000 to $50,000.
You can get an idea of pricing from the table below it shows popular off-grid kits for different end-use requirements:
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How Much Energy Do You Want To Offset With Solar
Typically most people want to offset as close as possible to 100 percent of their consumption. However, not everyone can afford to offset all energy consumption with a stand-alone solar system as the overall cost of the full home solar power system and its installation can get quite expensive.
Installing a smaller system and participating in the net metering program is still a great way to reduce your electricity bill up to 50 percent or more.
How Do Solar Panels Work
Simply put, solar panels absorb photons that then tap electrons free. Once theyre free from the atoms, it creates electricity! Solar panels take in light and directly turns it into a flow of electricity to use.
- Solar panel cells absorb sunlight
- They convert the light into DC power.
- All systems need some type of inverter to convert that power to AC power.
- The electricity is then sent through wires into your home
- That powers everything connected to it
- Any excess of electricity produced is then fed into the electric grid
Solar systems are not complicated and easy to understand once you have the basics down. Now that you understand how they work, lets take a look at how long they last
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How To Calculate Solar Battery Bank Size
Our solar battery bank calculator helps you determine the ideal battery bank size, watts per solar panel, and the suitable solar charge controller. If you choose to build an off-grid system, it’s important to size your system based on the month with the least amount of sunlight. That way, you will have access to a sufficient amount of energy at all times. There are several steps to follow when calculating your solar battery bank. Let’s review them below:
How A 100% Green Electricity Plan Is A Great Alternative To Solar Panels
With its perpetually sunny climate, Texas ranks in the top 10 U.S. states in its cumulative solar capacity. As a result, the Texas solar industry has grown rapidly in terms of electricity generation and the number of people it employs. With it, household enthusiasm for solar panels has also increased. However, the two main concerns people have when it comes to solar panel installation are production capacity and costs.
Solar panels in residential settings currently face limitations since most homes have no way of storing extra solar power on sunny days when solar panels create more electricity than the home can use. Thankfully, further technological progress will likely address this storage problem, as it plagues the entire industry.
In regard to costs, regular electricity companies can offer lower rates on traditional electricity plans than those powered by solar energy because of an economic concept called economies to scale. In essence, the costs for each additional unit of output decrease as more output is created. In other words, because more households are connected to the Texas electricity grid than use solar panels, the average cost of electricity is lower for each household than it would be with individual solar panels.
Click here to learn how Chariot Energy is cutting out the middlemen and providing customers 100% clean, renewable solar energy.
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What Does It Mean To Go Off The Grid
Many people use solar panels to offset the cost of electricity, but this does not mean that they have gone off-grid. Using solar energy to offset energy costs means you are still connected to the local power supply and can use it if you need more energy than your panels produce.
To go completely off-grid, your entire home must run on electricity or energy that you produce yourself using solar panels and batteries. Your home cannot use any electricity from the town power supply. Installing solar panels is not enough to be considered off-grid, and most people who use solar energy still rely on electricity from an outside source. To go completely off-grid, you also need a storage system to smooth out energy production and usage over time. Finally, you need a way to transfer energy into the batteries and convert it to electricity.
Hybrid Solar System Price
Many people going off-grid choose more than one energy source. This is a good idea because you have a backup system in case of failure. Hybrid systems may include wind and solar or solar with a backup generator. The total system cost depends on the hybrid type, home size, and your power needs. Expect costs to range from $20,000 to $80,000 on average for a hybrid solar system.
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Make Sure You Solar Panels Are As Cool As Possible
While solar panels are black, they do not like being excessively hot. Over heated panels produce less power, and they wear out much work quickly. A proper solar panel set up should have at least 6 inches behind the panels where air can flow freely and cool down the panels. Roofs are not great because they tend to be excessively hot already, and while you can buy solar panel mounting racks that do allow for ventilation on the roof, putting them down where its cooler may save you a lot of extra money in the long run.
In terms of overall cost of the system, it is best to put the solar panels as close as you can to your home, while keeping them in full sun.
Encourages A More Energy
When youre connected to the grid, its easy to be unaware of your power consumption habits you consume electricity, pay the bill when it comes, and thats that. It disconnects you from where the electricity is coming from and where its being used.
Your attitude when it comes to power changes completely when you go off-grid. In order to ensure you dont run out of electricity, you will have to closely follow your energy generation and also re-evaluate and rationalize your energy consumption.
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Why Use Solar Panels To Power Your House
Today, solar arrays large and small can be seen on the roofs and property spaces of residential areas in nearly every US city. With millions of homeowners adding dispersed solar generation alongside commercial and industrial installations, solar energy capacity in the United States has skyrocketed over the past decade.
So why are people installing solar panels? Well today, solar energy is a perfect solution for both people and the planet. As a renewable source of emission-free electricity, modern solar panels have an extremely low carbon footprint. High-quality solar panels are designed to last for 20 years and more, and most components can be recycled.
In terms of finances, solar energy is free to produce, which is extremely convenient as it is also the most abundant source of power on the planet. With decades of production at no additional fuel expense, wise solar power investments can save electricity users tremendous amounts of money on long-term energy expenses.
Do You Live In Your Home Year Round
A solar systems size depends on how often you or a family member are occupying a home.
Some homeowners use a vacation home for the winter and then move back north in the summer. This is important to consider because it can drastically change the sizing of your solar installation. If you are only planning to live in one home during the summer months, you may be able to build a smaller solar panel installation. There is more sunlight each day in the summer, and you can maximize your energy efficiency.
If you plan to live in a home run by solar in the winter, it may need to be sized larger to account for fewer hours of sunlight each day. Because the suns energy varies by the time of day, solar modules also produce different amounts of clean energy. Solar panel efficiency is affected by what time of year the PV system is generating solar electricity.
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Questions Chat With Us
Wil has been a part of the solar industry for over 20 years as an electrician, solar installer, support technician, and more. He’s also been living off-grid since 1996. Wil and the rest of the Unbound Solar team are here to answer any questions you have about designing a system that will fit your needs.
Prepare For Stretches Of Bad Weather
Going off the grid is definitely achievable but its going to take some work. You have to be prepared for bad weather. Rainy, cloudy, or snowy days lower solar panel power production to between 10% and 25%. Your batteries will eventually drain so youll want to be prepared.
The easiest approach is electric austerity. As the bad weather drags on, you will need to make some lifestyle adjustments like keeping your air conditioning to a minimum and not using your microwave or clothes dryer. But if sacrificing the always-on way of life seems like a tough prospect, there are several other options.
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How Many Solar Panels Can You Fit On A Tiny House Roof
Generally speaking, you can only fit around 2 solar panels on a tiny house roof. This presents a real challenge because today you can really only expect to make around 20 watts per square foot of solar panel in ideal circumstances. That means youre only going to be able to fit around 600 watts of solar production on a tiny house roof, which isnt a whole lot.
What’s The Difference Between A Normal Car Battery And A Solar Powered Battery Pack Products For Sale
All types of energy are not created equal. Electricity is a specialized, premium form that’s finest fit to particular applications: lights, electronics, and motors, plus a couple of other specialized usages. By matching the very best form of energy to its application, overall electrical energy intake can be greatly lowered while boosting comfort and benefit.
Each of these takes in too much energy to be appropriate when the supply is finite and the job is best-served by other forms of energy. In the early years, PV modules were a lot more pricey than they are today, and batteries were more economical. Early practice was to size for a week of storage capability, but that led to small varieties and large battery banks, leading to chronically insufficient charging.
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How To Connect Solar To A Tiny House
Once the power goes through the system it outputs from the inverter as AC power. This AC Power flows out through a huge cable that you can see sticking out of the bottom of the inverter then goes right. From there it runs to this:
This is a 50 amp RV style plug. The reason I did this was twofold. City inspectors are less picky when it comes to non-hard-wired things. This setup also lets me roll into any RV campground and hook up seamlessly.
The plug goes into a 50 amp RV female receptacle. This is important that you dont have two male ends to your cord. This is dubbed by electricians as a suicide cord because if you plug into a power source, you have exposed conductors that are live accidentally touch them, you complete the circuit and zap!
You want a female end to your cord so that you reduce the chance of being shocked. I also turn off my main breaker at the power source when I make this connection, then turn it back on.
If all these mentions of watts, volts, amps, amp hours etc are making your head spin a little, you may need to go back to the basics. I have an ebook called Shockingly Simple Electrical For Tiny Houses which guides you through all the basics. As of now, it doesnt go too deep into the solar aspects, but the basics of electrical, wiring, power systems and determining your power needs are covered in depth and designed for those who are totally new to the topic.
Solar Panels With Low Light Performance
Mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline panels serve the same purpose of harnessing energy from the sun andconverting it to usable electricity. Both can be a great choice for your home as they additionally use silicon, which is anabundant and durable material. Answering the question of which is the better panel lies on each householdâspreference and need. Although mono-crystalline panels had the initial advantage of being seen as the superiortechnology in the Australian market, as time goes on and both technologies improve, it becomes increasingly apparentthat the quality and reliability of the manufacturer is far more important than which of the two technologies is chosen.
A good mono-crystalline solar panel and a good poly-crystalline solar panel â to all practical purposes â performidentically. It is worth knowing if the panel performs well in high temperatures and low light conditions. The latter is especially important on overcast/rainy days to ensure your battery system copes with your daily power demands. Furthermore, when living Off-Grid you want the panels to start generating energy as soon as possible in the morning and stop using the stored energy in your battery bank. In the late afternoon you can still get a little bit more generated energy from the panels before you start using the battery bank for night use.
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How Much Energy Does A Solar Panel Produce
In order to find out how much energy a solar panel produces, we need to see what type of technology we will be using.
There are two types of solar panels in the market monocrystalline and polycrystalline.
Visually, both types of solar panels are different from one another.
Monocrystalline solar panels are made from slicing one silicon cell and are darker in color.
They offer high efficiency, work best in shady conditions and high heat, and are more space-efficient.
However, theyre very expensive but have a longer life span.
On the other hand, polycrystalline solar panels are made by melting multiple cells and are lighter in color.
They offer low efficiency and dont work at their optimum level at higher temperatures.
Theyre less space-efficient and have a short life span.
Theyre quite cheap compared to monocrystalline panels.
Your solar power consultant will advise you best on which solar panel to opt for your home depending on your location, budget, and weather conditions.