Everything you need to know about off grid solar panels
We have a question for you, too. Do you like only paying half-price for things? I’m guessing the answer is hell yes. We’re going to answer all of your questions about off grid solar panels and show you how to save a truckload of money in the process. If you still have more questions, check out our off grid solar power FAQ or go deep into the weeds and come out an expert with our comprehensive guide, Off grid solar power 101.
What do Solar Panels Do?
Solar panels generate electricity using photovoltaic cells, which are made of silicon and other materials. When the sun's rays hit the cells they create an electrical charge, which is then captured and converted into electricity. The power they generate is measured in watts: the more panels you have, the bigger the panels, and the more sunlight that hits the cells, the more watts of electricity they produce.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?
Everybody asks this and the short answer is yes, they do. While solar panels generate more electricity on sunny days, they can still produce some electricity on cloudy or overcast days. Even on a completely grey day solar panels can still generate up to 10-25% of their maximum capacity.
In winter, when the days are shorter and there is less sunlight, solar panels won’t produce their optimal amount of electricity. If you live in a climate with long winters or a lot of cloudy days, you can get around the problem by installing a larger solar system.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Go Off Grid?
The number of solar panels you need to go off grid depends on several factors, including your energy usage, location, and the size of your home.
To determine how many solar panels you need, you first need to calculate your energy needs. Once you have this information, you can use an online solar panel calculator to calculate the size of the system you need.
You can use this article all about figuring out exactly how many solar panels you need to go off grid, but the short answer is that a typical off grid solar system for a small to medium-sized home needs around 10-20 solar panels, depending on the wattage. If you have a larger home or higher energy requirements, you may need more panels. When in doubt, speak to an expert to help you determine how many panels your solar system needs to power your home.
What if I Need More Power Later?
You can always add more solar panels to your system if you aren't generating enough energy for your needs. Off grid solar systems are modular and can be expanded as needed.
Bear in mind that while adding more panels will increase the amount of energy your solar system can generate, you may also need to add more batteries to store the additional energy. It's important to ensure that your battery bank is large enough to store all the energy your solar panels produce so you don't waste any excess electricity.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
The cost of solar panels varies depending on the size of the system, the quality of the components, and where you get them. You may be surprised to learn that solar panels aren't the biggest expense when you build an off grid solar system. They usually account for just 25% of the equipment costs. But we should add that they are a crucial part of the system and it's not worth skimping on your solar panels.
Off grid solar kits that are bought online can help you get off the electrical grid, meet your energy needs and save money on installation because they are very easy to install. You can buy a complete 6000W off grid solar kit with twelve 390W panels for a little over $10,000 online. It has all of the components you'd get if you hired a solar company to do it for you, but you'd be paying that company about $24,000. We’d hesitate to call it a rip-off to go with a solar company, but it certainly is a lot of money to spend on something you can do yourself with a kit.
There are plenty of other benefits of using a solar kit, so you should definitely explore going off grid with a solar kit.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
The lifespan of a solar power system is determined by the durability of its panels and batteries. While solar panels come with a warranty of 25-30 years, their efficiency decreases by 0.5-3% every year, reducing their effectiveness until eventually they need to be replaced. High-quality panels are necessary, as low-quality ones may fail before you recover the investment through savings on energy bills.
The life of a battery depends on the type of battery. Lithium batteries, commonly recommended and included in solar kits, come with a 10-year warranty and can last up to 20 years. Fortunately, panels and batteries can easily be replaced or upgraded, ensuring that your solar power system will provide energy for a long time. In addition to saving a boatload of money, the of the primary benefits of installing your own off grid system using a solar kit is that you become familiar enough with the battery and other components to do your own repairs.
How Do I Install Off Grid Solar Panels?
Setting up a solar power system is not as complicated as solar companies want you to believe. Most homeowners have enough DIY skills to do at least 90% of the installation themselves, especially with guidance from a good solar kit retailer. The first step is to mount the solar panels on a rack, either on a roof or on the ground. Cables are then attached to the panels and run through the racking system to a junction box that goes into the house, where it connects to the rest of the system.
Do I Have to Maintain My Off Grid Solar Panels?
Solar panels are low-maintenance, but they may need some upkeep. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan and performance.
It's important to keep solar panels clean. Dirty panels can reduce their efficiency, so it's a good idea to clean them periodically with a soft brush or cloth and mild soap and water. It's best to clean them early in the morning or in the evening when they're cool, and never use abrasive materials or high-pressure water, as this can damage the panels. Simply cleaning your panels will extend their life and effectiveness for years to come. Don’t you wish washing your car did the same thing?
Where Can I Get Off Grid Solar Panels?
There are two options for getting solar panels as part of a solar power system: hiring a solar company to do everything or purchasing a solar kit from an online retailer. The solar kit is the recommended option because it is cheaper, provides the right solar power system customized according to your needs, and, let's face it: it's more fun to do it yourself. You can find a wide selection of off grid solar kits online and the retailer can help you find the one that's right for you, with the best solar panels for your specific needs.
What are the Best Solar Panels for Off Grid?
It depends on your needs and budget, but we can recommend the 390W Tier-1 Monocrystalline Solar Panel for your off grid system. It is highly efficient and durable, with a 25-year power output warranty and a 25+ year performance warranty. The solar panel can withstand high shading and extreme temperatures. If you need additional information or advice, check out our list of the best solar panels for off grid or get in touch with one of our experts. They can provide some cost-effective options and will help you find the best panel for going off the utility grid.
Off grid solar systems are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to live a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle and solar panels are an important part of any solar power system. It's important to consider factors like your energy needs, the capacity of the system, and the efficiency of the solar panels before making a decision. You should also think about how much power you'll need in the future, as well as any additional components you may need to install to meet those needs.
Online retailers like shopsolarkits.com that sell complete off grid solar systems in convenient kits make it easy to find the right system with the right panels for your energy needs and budget.
So, how are you going to spend all that money you’re gonna save?
Ready to get started? Learn more with our off grid solar power guide!