Living Off-Grid 101 - How do I Live Off-Grid?

Written By: Randy Anderson Technical Sales & Training Manager

If you're going to live off-grid, you're generally going to need to be power-wise or very aware how much power you use, so the first thing to consider is energy efficiency.

You’d typically run some different appliances than you would if you’re on grid. You’ll probably going to need energy-efficient LED lighting and likely less lighting in general. Power consumption will be first and foremost with any off grid system, you always need to be aware of how much power is being consumed.

How long is the system going to last? There's various components in an off grid system and not all of them have the same lifespan. Typically, solar panels are guaranteed 20 to 25 years. Inverters will typically last 10 to 20 years, again depending on how they're sized. 

A huge consideration when sizing a battery pack is, how deep are we going to discharge it? how many times are we going to cycle it? Those answers will vary with how much power you're consuming and how much power you're putting back into the bank with solar panels, generators, etc. So a lot of things to consider there, but sizing is of the utmost importance for system longevity and reliability. 

A lot of people don't want to do any maintenance on their system, which is understandable so there are some options available. The components that are going to require the most maintenance are solar panels and batteries. Solar panels will need to be kept free of debris so they can maximize their harvest. The batteries come in different chemistries which include flooded, AGM, gel, and lithium. The only batteries in that group that will require maintenance are flooded batteries, any of the others will require little to no maintenance. Overall, your system should be very little maintenance, but it will be more than if you're connected to the grid. 

Lastly, a reminder that you constantly need to be aware of power usage. How much power are you using? Make sure you’re not turning everything on at once. You want to make sure your system is sized correctly for your needs. To do that, you need to go through your appliances. How long do you want them to run for? how much solar do you have? what size of generator you have? is there wind power? what are all your sources of charging? Those answers will all help to dictate the size of the battery pack and how much power you can draw. 

You can get help with system sizing by contacting an installer or visit our contact us page and we’ll help you get started.

Any questions on this post or suggestions for other posts, please get in touch with us!

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