So you want to go off grid?
Here’s what you should know before you invest.
First, get the right equipment. Batteries are essential in keeping your home running on days where sunshine isn’t abundant. If you truly want to go off-grid, you can’t be left at the mercy of the weather. That means owning a battery bank to meet (and store) your electricity needs. Current batteries come in two styles, sealed or flooded, and while both will last you around 12 years, flooded batteries will require more maintenance but are cheaper initially. Due to a voltage difference in what solar outputs, and what batteries can handle, multiple batteries will be needed to keep your home running. Batteries for renewable home storage usually costs around $80-200, depending on the type. Remember, you will need more than one battery!
Now it’s time to determine your electricity use. To best pick the system for your home, it is important that you know how much electricity you actually use, both day-to-day and yearly. Don’t forget to take seasonal changes into account! It is also important to analyze the efficiency of your home. Upgrading your house to be more efficient could save you money, both in electricity and in the system that your home may need.
Make sure you check the local rules, regulations, and building codes before starting your project. This information will help you pick a system and installation team that is right for your area.
Finally, you will need to find a solar contractor. There are a few things that you will want to look for. Ideally, they should be NABCEP-certified (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) to ensure the quality of the system installed. Solar providers should also have a NABCEP-certified employee on every installation crew. Solar providers should also have all the necessary licences and insurance policies met by both state and local laws. They should also have minimum liability insurance. Lastly, make sure that the solar provider has a good reputation and reviews. Ask friends or family about their experiences with a solar provider as well as using online resources to see what other people say about them.
Going off-grid is an investment and a big commitment. After doing research on your home, and talking to solar contractors, you should get a better idea of what you are looking for.