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  • Writer's pictureBrian Harbin

Solar Power and Off-Grid Living: 4 Things to Know

Going off-grid is the term used for people who would like to have their home and appliances completely disconnected from the national power grid. For many people considering such a move to off-grid living, it is likely the first question they have to ask is how many solar panels would be required to do so.

The answer to that question is complicated and is largely dependent on the particular needs of the individual homeowner.

What does going off-grid entail?

The term off-grid sometimes applies to a living rough and completely disconnecting from modern society, but it does not have to be that extreme and is also often used to describe those who just want to create and make use of their own utilities, particularly solar power electricity.

Solar power and off-grid living is also appealing to individuals that are environmentally conscious and want to cut down on their ecological footprint while also saving money on energy costs.

How solar panels can help with going off-grid

Solar panels are the most efficient and affordable green technology and it is largely possible to use them to go completely off-grid. However in order to do so users will have to have somewhere in which all the solar power generated by those solar panels can be stored. The good news is that solar batteries and solar power stations are also the best available technology available with which to do so.

How many solar panels?

There are a number of factors that will determine the number of solar panels users require to go off-grid. These factors include the amount of electricity they usually use, the amount of direct sunlight their home experiences every day, the amount of usable roof space on the property and the solar panel type selected.

On average, an off-grid home makes use of around 7000 watts (7 kW) of power. There are various shapes, sizes and types of solar panels. The performance output of the solar panels play a big part in how many will be needed. The bigger the panel, the higher performance the panel provides. The larger the framework, the more photovoltaic cells can be mounted inside it, thus providing greater performance.

Making calculations

There is a way to work out in advance how many solar panels you will need to go off-grid. The first step is to work out how much electricity you currently use. Take a look at a recent power bill and work out how much you used in the last month, and how much it cost. Determine the sunlight your country receives in an average month via the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website. You can then divide your energy usage to determine how many solar panels you will require.

The amount of electricity used, usable roof space available, direct daily sunlight received and solar panel type used will all determine the number of solar panels you need to use solar power to successfully embark upon off-grid living.

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