Going Off The Grid in An Urban Environment With Solar Energy
Solar is the new buzzword nowadays. While most people are looking to reduce their utility costs by adding a few solar panels to their rooftops, there are some who might be interested in solar panel installations in Florida that allow them to ditch the grid altogether.
Given that one manages to do so, this can be a great idea. But how possible is it to go off-grid, and if possible at all, what would be needed to achieve such a fit?
Here are some things you may need to know about going off the grid with solar.
Grid-tied vs. off-grid solar: what is the difference?
There are basically two ways to go about installing a solar system in your home. You can either install residential ground-mounted solar panels and a renewable energy battery backup system, or you can install panels and have them linked to your local utility’s GRID.
When your solar system is linked to the grid, all the excess energy produced by your panels is fed into the grid.
This way, your grid acts as your backup system. If your solar panels are not producing enough energy to power your home, you can then reclaim that energy from the grid.
On the other hand, when you have an off-grid solar system, the excess energy produced by your panels goes into a battery backup system.
Your system will not be connected to the grid; therefore, it functions independently. To find out more about home solar systems in Florida, find an expert close to your home and make some inquiries.
Can you go 100% off the grid with solar?
Going 100 percent off the grid with solar is possible theoretically.
However, for this to be possible, you would need a considerable number of solar panels and enough battery storage. One of the first challenges you will face is the financial viability of such a setup.
This is why most people prefer to strike a balance between grid-generated and self-generated power instead of trying to figure out how to go off-grid with solar. If you manage to gather enough money to install such a system, you will probably need about four years to be able to recoup the cost.
Cost aside, part of figuring out how to get off the grid with solar requires you to know the size of the solar system you need. To successfully do this, you will need to acquire a 7 kW solar system. A system like this requires at least 60 square meters of clear north-facing roof space. Unfortunately, getting this amount of north-facing roof space in a town setup can be a bit of a challenge.
Apart from space requirements, you also need to take into account the weather patterns in your area when going off-grid with solar power. Your solar system won’t be able to reliably produce enough electricity to power your household during cloudy days and during the colder winter months when the sunlight is weak. In such conditions, even if you have a reliable battery storage system, you’ll need to keep in mind that it needs to be charged by the solar panels once the power runs out.
Is it legal to live off-grid?
Unfortunately, living off the grid solar panels may present some challenges legally.
This is especially true if you live in a densely populated area where the public infrastructure is fully developed. You can easily go off-grid in rural areas, but this is more from a necessity standpoint than it is a choice.
If you stay in an urban setup, you are generally required to adhere to certain zoning regulations and local building codes. This is mainly for public image and safety.
Because of this, you will likely be required to maintain a connection to your area’s power grid. If you fail to meet these requirements, you can face serious fines, or your land will be seized. It’s possible that with time, the legality surrounding off-grid living might change.
What are the pros?
Off-grid solar homes get to enjoy a lot of benefits.
The first one is that you won’t be affected by unexpected power outages. There are lots of things that can interrupt the city’s power supply, including inclement weather. By having your power source, you will be able to avoid power outages and the discomfort that comes with them.
Another significant advantage of going off-grid is the elimination of utility costs.
Since you won’t be drawing any power from your city’s electricity supply network, paying for electricity will be a thing of the past. This is probably the most exciting thing about going off-grid with solar.
Are there any disadvantages?
There are several challenges to going off-grid with solar.
The first is the cost involved. You will need to part with a lot of money buying enough solar panels and enough batteries for you to store enough energy.
Experts suggest that it may take up to four years to recoup the cost of a solar system that delivers enough power and storage for you to go totally off-grid. Apart from being expensive, the battery backup system that you would need for such a fit will be very bulky and not too environmentally friendly.
Once things start to threaten the environment, the entire purpose of clean power generation is defeated. After all, the main idea behind adopting solar is to save money and live greener.
What do you need to go power your home off the grid?
For you to live independent of utility companies, you need a reliable set of solar panels for off-the-grid living.
You will also need a reliable renewable energy battery storage system. That way, you can still have access to power when your off-grid solar panels system isn’t able to generate enough electricity to power your home.
Going off-grid is possible. If you manage to purchase enough stand-alone solar panels and a reliable battery backup system, you may be able to survive without being connected to the grid.
To find out what you may need, it’s advisable to sit with a solar expert and have them analyze the needs of your home and the regulations in your area.