5 Essential Steps for Procuring Off-Grid Solar Solutions

Going off the grid simply means independence from the utility grid. The scope of off-grid solar, however, is quite large and engulfs many considerations from different perspectives. It ensures several benefits for the asset owners, and at the same time, it also demands certain responsibilities. Going off the grid with off-grid solar solutions is becoming more and more reasonable. With many options to choose from while updating the solar and battery storage, the desire to disconnect oneself entirely from the utility grid is gaining support from the asset owners.

If you have been stirred up to procure an off-grid solar system, have a look at these 6 steps:

Step 1: Analyze your requirements

You must have the precise answer to what you will be powering with your solar power system. You must remember to take into consideration absolutely everything that will be powered by your system. Changes that often seem little can make a big difference.

Step 2: How many batteries would you need?

Once you know how much power you need, you must figure out how many batteries will be required to store that power. The question is whether you need only enough storage for 1 day or 2 or more, that is, to store 3 or 4 days, or even more, worth of power? If in case you have another source of power, like a generator or turbine, your power needs would be different.

Step 3: Number of solar panels

Once you have the idea about how much energy you need to make per day, you can easily calculate how many panels, and of what capacity would be required. This is determined using the concept of sun hours. The number of “sun hours” is the hours of availability of the shining sun on your panels at an angle throughout the day. The sun is not as bright in the morning as it is at noon, so an hour of morning sun may be counted as half an hour, where the hour from noon to 1PM would be a full hour. Also, you would not have the same number of hours of sunlight in the winter as you do in the summer, unless you live near the equator.

Step 4: Selecting the right Inverter

Once the batteries have been charged efficiently, we need to make the power usable. Always remember that an inverter is designed for a specific voltage battery bank, such as 12, 24 or 48 volts, so you must have the idea what voltage battery bank you are going to have before you procure the inverter. Be careful in case you are planning to grow your system in the future. If you plan to have a higher voltage battery bank later, the lower voltage inverter will not work in the new bigger system. So, either plan in advance and go with the higher voltage at the beginning or plan on changing your inverter in the future.

Step 5: Keeping the system in balance

To keep the system in balance, there are a lot of other little components needed, including the fuses and breakers for over current protection, breaker boxes, mounting structure for the solar panels, size of the wire needed.

With these 5 steps in place, going solar with off-grid solar solutions will be a smart move.

Living Off the Grid: A Matter of Choice or Chance?

Going off the grid with solar power is becoming more and more reasonable with each passing day. With several options available to update the solar and battery storage, the desire to disconnect oneself entirely from the utility grid is gaining acceptance amongst the masses. On-grid and off-grid solar power systems are the two major options of procurement for solar energy solutions. Choosing any one depends on a lot of factors—environment, asset, requirement, etc.

Freedom in the Truest Sense

Off-grid solar systems are stand-alone. Not only do they offer you the freedom of power generation, they also increase the value of your property along with reducing your carbon footprint. You will no longer be dependent on the utility grid, that means power outages would not affect you, neither would expensive and continuously surging electricity bills.

Off-Grid Solar as a Matter of Chance

In a country like India, where power outages in the rural sector have plagued millions of people, going off-grid is a matter of chance since willingly or unwillingly being grid-tied is not feasible. Traditional power poles require a huge investment. And so, being off-grid frees you from the concern of having proximity to the power company to serve your power demands.

Off-Grid Solar as a Matter of Choice

Energy consciousness is what makes many people choose off-grid solar systems. When they choose to install solar panels on their property, their motivation is to be independent of the power company. They can know exactly how much power they require, eliminating the inefficiencies of distribution and feeling responsible by reducing the carbon footprint of the utility company and their own, in their march towards a sustainable environment.

Going off-grid has tremendous benefits, nevertheless, there are certain questions you must ask yourself before taking a call.

1. What must be the size of my off-grid solar system?

It completely depends on your requirements and usage. The simplest way to determine this is to have a look at your electricity bills over a period. From that, you can easily determine your approximate daily usage and requirements. Based on this value you must choose a system that can generate the calculated power.

2. What kind of batteries would I require?

For living off the grid completely, you must choose batteries that can store large amounts of energy over a long period of time. Needless to say, the batteries must be of ace quality and ideal for long-term or short-term setups as required.

3. How much free space must be required in my premises?

The 2 options, in this case, are rooftop and ground-mounted. One can even combine both these options. Whatever be the case, always make sure the PV panels face the right direction for maximum sunlight exposure, without any kind of obstructions.

4. Are there any restrictions on running appliances?

In India, there are almost 300 days in a year that receive bountiful of sunlight. This ensures large amounts of energy generated by the panels. But at the same time, these number of days are going to be hot and humid necessitating the use of air coolers and air conditioners. All that can be done is either make use of these appliances with discretion or invest in a highly efficient solar system. The best approach is to amalgamate the two.

Getting the Best Out of Your Off-Grid Solar System

The factors discussed in the preceding sections would ensure the success of your off-grid solar system. One point that can be added to this is always to make sure to procure professional services for your solar installations. This will ensure successful living with your off-grid system irrespective of the matter of chance or choice.

The Role Off-Grid Solar Solutions Play to Achieve Energy Security

Off Grid Solar

The first thing that comes to mind when someone says, “going off the grid”, is independence from electric utility. But let us assure you, the scope of off-grid solar is vast and surmounts much more than just independence from the utility grid. If it ensures benefits for the asset owners, it also demands certain responsibilities. The foremost responsibility is to identify your goals for choosing to be off-grid energy solutions. That would initially determine whether being disconnected from the grid would be viable for you or not, at the first place. And if it is, then what type of system you should design and how should you live with it.

Factors Motivating You to Choose Off-Grid

Several aspects may motivate you to choose off-grid solutions, for instance environmental concerns to use renewable energy as much as possible; or freedom from the utility grid, as already mentioned; or to eliminate utility outage vulnerability; or socio-political reasons to take responsibility of your energy footprint; or it may simply be the cost factor that highly depends upon how far you are from the utility grid.

When Does Off-Grid Seem Viable?

It is important to be realistic about going off the grid keeping in mind the investment you need to make with respect to cost, time, and attention. There are certain situations in which going off the grid is the only possible option, or the most appropriate one. If you are very far away from the grid or your location has no grid, the only affordable option is to get an independent system. Load analysis has a significant role to play when it comes to design an off-grid system because without accurately estimating your energy usage, designing a system that satisfactorily satisfies your needs in the most economical way is rather impossible, than difficult.

Off-Grid Solar From India’s Vantage Point

Looking at the bigger picture, solar energy possesses a very high potential across India. And Off-Grid solar systems have an important part to play in this energy revolution. For our energy security, we are dependent on fossil fuels. Many experts believe that this is a complete wastage of foreign exchange. If the power generated with the help of these fossil fuels is replaced by the energy from the off-grid solar systems, environmental friendly energy will be bequeathed upon the masses instead of pollution causing energy from the fossils. And this eco-friendly energy security will be accompanied with the saving of the foreign exchange, resulting in a dual benefit. Moreover, off-grid solar can assist the government to meet its set energy target providing economical savings to both government and private players.

Summing it up:

The solar power sector is heavily dependent on off-grid solar as the medium to achieve sustainable and affordable electricity ensuring energy security for the large segments of India that are remotely located and are yet to be connected to the utility grid. Needless to say, off-grid solar has immense potential to ensue India to achieve the energy security. Backed with elaborate policy initiatives and appropriate innovative measures, India can be placed as a global leader in solar energy production to not only achieve her own energy security but of the whole world.