When you are producing your own power, the costs you pay out decrease significantly. You become independent from the power company. If you produce excess energy, you may even be able to sell it back to the power company. Plus, there are many governmental incentives to help with the purchase and installation of your system. Most importantly, you are making a difference for the planet.
You have two choices when it comes to the power company. You can choose to stay connected to the grid for back up power or you can choose to go with off the grid solar power. Check out to learn more about grid solar vs off grid solar panel installations.
Those that stay connected to the grid (grid-tie systems) produce electricity. Any surplus electricity goes back to your electric company’s power grid. Grid-tie systems include your solar panels, a combiner box, the DC (direct current) breaker box, an inverter, and a grid-disconnect.
The DC breaker box allows you to shut down the system safely for repair or maintenance.
The inverter will convert your DC power to AC (alternating current) power for household use.
The grid-disconnect stops the flow of electricity back to the grid. (You don’t want to send power back through a line that is being repaired by electric company personnel.)
You might expect off the grid solar power systems to be complicated. Here are the basic components of an off the grid solar power system.
Of course, you will need solar panels. For a 2500 square feet house consuming about 14,000 KWh) you will need approximately 400 to 800 square feet of solar panels. With an installed cost of $7 to $9 per watt, the overall cost of the panels ranges from $35,000 to $72,000.
Many systems are available to help you build and install your own panels for significantly less, somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000. If you need mounting poles or legs to get the proper angle for your panels, there will be an additional cost.
The combiner box and breakers for those panels will cost you between $100 and $200, not including installation. The power panel and inverter will cost about $4,000.
With off the grid solar, the excess energy you generate will need to go somewhere. You can’t send it back to the power company, so you will send it to a group of batteries, stored near the power source. These batteries are special and will cost you about $2,000.