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June 28, 2022
Off-grid solar makes it possible to live a comfortable life or run a successful business without having to rely on a utility company for electricity. Off-grid solar systems provide 100% of the power a home or business needs by transforming energy from the sun into free, renewable electricity.
But solar power is only available when the sun is shining, so how does an off-grid system work at night? That’s where battery storage comes in. Off-grid solar systems in Arizona rely on solar battery banks to store solar energy so that it can be used at any time of the day or night.
Like solar panels, battery backups have improved in design and efficiency and come down in price in recent years, making off-grid solar a viable option for many Arizona home and business owners. Keep reading to learn more about how off-grid systems work and how you can go off the grid with solar.
How Does Off-Grid Solar Work?
Many homeowners wonder what the meaning of an off-grid solar system is. Off-grid solar systems generate power the same way grid-tied solar systems do. The difference is that off-grid systems are not connected to the electric grid and cannot access the electricity that it generates; your off-grid system needs to be able to meet your electricity needs fully. Off-grid solar systems must include battery storage and many off-grid homes also include a backup generator for additional backup power.
Here’s how an off-grid solar system works step-by-step:
1. Solar Panels Absorb Sunlight
Residential solar photovoltaic (PV) panels collect energy from the sun and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Solar companies install PV panels to maximize the arc of the sun throughout the year, facing in a generally south direction, at an angle. The panels are either ground-mounted or roof-mounted and connected to a main DC power line that connects to the system’s inverter.
2. Solar Inverters Convert DC Electricity to AC Electricity
Because the electricity produced by the solar panels is direct current it needs to be converted to alternating current (AC) for household use. Appliances, heating and cooling, lighting, and essentials such as sump pumps, well water pumps, and septic systems are powered by AC electricity. Throughout the day, the solar inverter converts DC electricity to AC electricity that is fed into your home’s electrical system.
3. Excess Electricity Is Stored in Solar Batteries
We get a lot of sunshine here in Arizona, and on most days, your solar panels will produce more electricity than you need. In an off-grid system, all that excess electricity is stored in solar batteries, giving you a backup power source that you can use at night or when it's overcast.
How Many Batteries Do You Need for Off-Grid Solar?
Calculating the amount of electricity your home needs is an important step in equipping an off-grid home, both for the number of solar panels and the number of storage batteries. The amount of backup power you need will depend on the size of your home, the appliances you have, the amount of energy you consume, and many other factors.
To get the right combination of solar panels and battery storage, homeowners from Phoenix to Tucson rely on the pros at Energy Solution Providers. We can help you find the right solution for your home, whether you’re adding battery storage to an existing system or installing a new off-grid solar system with batteries.
Many off-grid homes are designed to consume very little power, such as net-zero homes. Retrofitting an existing home for off-grid living may require upgrading older systems to appliances that use the least amount of power, first. The less power required for your home to operate, the less excess generated electricity you need to store, therefore minimizing the number of batteries required for your off-grid solar system.
For commercial solar installations, battery storage provides a reliable backup to maintain crucial operations. The solar installation experts at Energy Solution Providers will evaluate the energy needs for your Maricopa, Pima, or Pinal County business and recommend the correct number of batteries for your off-grid commercial solar system.
Where Are Solar Batteries Installed?
Storage batteries for your solar system are generally installed in out-of-the-way locations, often in the garage or basement. The batteries can be connected inline to your panels via the home inverter and to any backup generator on site. Batteries can also be installed in a separate battery shed.
Do You Need a Generator To Go Off-Grid with Solar?
A backup power generator provides alternatives to periods of time where batteries might be drawn down. They can be used to supplement solar power and top-off batteries or to completely recharge batteries when circumstances require.
While some homeowners plan to replace their generators with battery storage when adding battery backup, others who may need constant electricity to power medical devices may retain this option for emergency use. The downsides to backup generators are that they run on fossil fuels (propane, natural gas, diesel, or gasoline) and can be noisy when operating.
Go Off-Grid with Solar in Arizona
Are you thinking about going off-grid in Arizona? Energy Solution Providers is the off-grid solar company to call. We specialize in off-grid solar and solar battery installation and can help you make the transition with confidence. Our team will design a solar system that’s customized to your needs so that you can become fully energy independent.
If you have any questions about off-grid solar in Arizona, don’t hesitate to reach out! We serve homeowners and businesses throughout the entire state.