What's an off grid pv system?

Adrienne SorensenAugust 21, 20187650

What's an off grid pv system? 

An off-grid solar system is the alternative to being grid-tied.  To ensure access to electricity, off-grid systems require battery storage and a backup generator. In addition, a battery bank needs to be replaced after 10 years. Batteries are complex, expensive and decrease overall  efficiency.

Advantages and perks:  
1. No access to the utility network: Off-grid solar are cheaper than extending power lines in particular isolated areas. Evaluate getting off-grid if you’re over 100 yards from the grid. The overhead transmission line prices   range from $174,000 per mile   to $11,000,000 per mile. 
2. Become energy self-sufficient: Living off the grid and being self-sufficient feels good. For some, it’s a form of security. Power failures on the utility grid do not affect off-grid solar systems.


General off-grid solar components: Solar Charge Controller, Battery Bank,  DC Disconnect,  Off-Grid Inverter, Backup Generator 

Solar Charge Controller: Solar charge controllers are charge regulators or just battery regulators. It restricts the rate of current being delivered to the battery bank and protect the batteries from overcharging.
Good charge controllers maintains the health of batteries that ensures the lifetime is maximized. If you have an inverter, the charge controller is typically integrated.
Battery Bank: Without one, it’ll be lights out by sunset. A battery bank is a cluster of batteries wired together.
DC Disconnect Switch: AC and DC safety disconnects are need for all systems. One additional DC disconnect is installed between the battery bank and the off-grid inverter. It’s needed to switch off  current flowing between components. It’s vital for maintenance, troubleshooting and protection against electrical fires.
Off-Grid Inverter: You’ll need an inverter to convert DC to AC for all other electrical appliances. Off-grid inverters don’t have to match phase with the utility sine wave opposed to grid-tie inverters. Electrical current flows from the  panels through the solar charge controller and the bank battery bank before it’s converted into AC by the off-grid-inverter.
Backup Generator: Installing a backup generator that runs on diesel is a good choice. It can run on propane, petroleum, gasoline and many other fuel types. They generally output AC  sent through the inverter for direct use, or it converted into DC for battery storage.

Batteries, inverter, and electronic controls are installed in a utility room inside or near the residence. Electronic equipment mounts on 4 to 5 feet of wall within 8 to 10 foot cable length from the batteries. Equipment could be installed on the outside wall of a separate battery closet. Batteries take 2 to 15 square feet of floor space within the cable length from wall mounted equipment, and should be beside, rather than  in front of wall mounted equipment. Allow ample working room to check batteries. Components  a place that’s clean, and away from moisture condensation. 

If you want to find out what solar panels are right for you, go to and try our price checker tool. You can see how much you can save over the next 20 years by going solar, and we can help find local solar installers who can help. For more information relating to going solar, don't forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.

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