Sunday, July 2, 2017

What Components Do I Need for Off-Grid Solar?

Solar power systems are quickly gaining traction across the US. Once a renewable system mainly reserved for hot and dry climates, homeowners in rainy and cooler states just weren’t interested. Fast forward about five years and on-grid solar power systems are becoming more and more popular in the northern states. This trend is thought to have started because of lower prices and better technology. Solar panels that perform better in low light environments, such as the Renogy Eclipse, are great contenders for a northern power system because they can perform fairly well even on a cloudy day. With power costs rising, consumers are turning to solar to meet their needs while staying within their budgets. Even though some northern homeowners still aren’t interested in on-grid solar, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a different kind of system to suit their needs.

Off-grid power systems can be used by anyone, anywhere in the US. Since these systems are not excessively large and do not get installed on the roof, they are often a DIY project. Furthermore, they are a perfect go-to item in the event of a power outage, which of course, can happen anywhere in the US. Off-grid systems are also less costly than an on-grid system, particularly because they don’t require professional installation. For all of those reasons, off-grid systems are become must have items on RVs, boats, and campers. Many customers are also choosing to store these kits in their basements or sheds in case of an emergency.

If you’re in the market to purchase one of these kits, one of the first questions you’ll ask is, “What do I need?” To make things simple, Renogy sells several Complete Kits that come with all of the components necessary for an off-grid system. Every off grid system requires solar panels, but that is a given. Each solar panel contains a junction box with MC4 leads. These leads connection to another MC4 adapter kit, which is in turn connected to a charge controller. The size of your system will dictate which Amp size controller you’ll need to purchase. Aside from amperage, you may choose to purchase either an MPPT or PWM charge controller. MPPT charge controllers are more expensive than PWM controllers because they feature better power tracking technology. MPPT charge controllers help extend the life of the battery bank and help create a more efficient power system.

In addition to a charge controller, all off grid systems require a tray cable, which extends from the charge controller to the battery bank. You’ll also need to purchase mounting Z-Brackets if you intend to have the system installed on a surface suck as a boat deck or RV roof. Last but not least, you’ll need to purchase an inverter if you intend to use your off-grid system with regular consumer appliance. That is because the power generated from your system will need to be converted from direct current to alternating current. You may choose to purchase a Tracer Meter, which monitors and displays the solar system’s voltage and current, as well as amp-hour and watt-hour charge levels. However, this component is completely optional.

Here at Renogy, we’d love to make your journey into solar energy as easy as possible. That’s why we’ve created Complete Kits, which do contain all that is needed to set up an off-grid system. Of course, you’re free to mix and match or buy specific components elsewhere, which is what makes this list a must read. For more information about the systems, or to speak to a sales representative, contact us at 800-330-8678.