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Off-Grid Solar Systems
READ TO KNOW HOW AN OFF-GRID SOLAR SYSTEM IS DIFFERENT THAN A GRID-TIED SOLAR SYSTEM.
Claiming that a grid-tied solar system is better than a stand-alone off-grid solar system is not correct for a country where there are many places which are still not connected to the grid. But for people where connectivity is possible, most prefer grid-connected solar systems.
An off-grid solar system is one which is not connected to the grid. A grid is like a huge battery bank which is connected to large power generators and end consumers of electricity. It is a network of transmission and distribution lines.
Grid is necessary to get an uninterrupted power supply as we know that solar power is an intermittent source of energy which has its highs on bright sunny days and lows on cloudy days. The grid-connected solar system takes away this uncertainty of less generation of power and gives the user a smooth user experience of using electricity.
How Off-Grid Solar Systems Work?
Off-grid solar system works with a battery bank to store all the electricity that has been generated and supplies electricity when needed. Batteries get charged continuously irrespective of the consumption with the solar energy that is being produced. But the battery increases the price of the off-grid system, which is also one of the main reasons why people prefer a grid-connected solar power system.
Benefits of Off-Grid Solar System
Through technology and innovation, it is now possible now to get electricity to people living off the reach of the grid. Wherever grid connectivity is not feasible, off-grid solar systems are preferred. Here are the few additional benefits of them:
- Be self-sustainable for energy requirements: If you have an off-grid solar system, you don’t have to depend on grid electricity. You are self-sufficient even at other times when solar energy is not present, for example at night-time, or on cloudy days.
- 100% independence from external sources of energy: Off-grid solution gives you an opportunity to be 100% independent from other energy sources.
- Cheaper & cleaner than diesel-generated electricity: Diesel generated electricity is expensive, to the scale of Rs18-22 per unit and is a polluting source of electricity whereas electricity generated by a solar power plant is a cleaner source of energy and cheaper as compared to diesel units.
- Advantageous for remote, difficult terrain: Off-grid power solutions find it’s best to use in areas where grid connectivity is geographically not possible. In areas which are of very high altitude and which are far away from the grid, the off-grid solar system is the best way to have a reliable source of energy.
- Free from power cuts: An off-grid solar system with a battery bank frees you from unwanted power outages happening in cities and rural areas for making up for the gap in demand & supply of electricity.
Components Required for Off-Grid Solar Systems
Apart from Solar panels, and balance of structure, an off-grid solar system requires
- Battery bank: It is just a bunch of batteries connected to each other with wires into a big power supplier. Without a battery bank, there will be no electricity to power your home at night. It is this component that makes an off-grid solar system so expensive.
- Solar Charge Controller: As the name itself suggests what it does. It regulates the charging of batteries and prevents it from over-charging and further damage.
- Off-grid Inverter: An off-grid inverter is different than a grid-tied inverter as they do not have to match frequency with the utility grid power as opposed to grid-tied inverters. An inverter is necessary as the DC power generated through the solar plant is to be converted to an AC before being fed into our home electrical system to use for our home appliances.
- DC Disconnect Switch: For off-grid solar systems, one additional DC disconnect switch is installed between the battery bank and the off-grid inverter. It is used to switch off the current flowing between these components. This is important for maintenance, troubleshooting, and protection against electrical fires.
- Back up generator: It is an optional component in case your battery bank could not be charged or if there is an issue with your solar system at times of maintenance, downtime, etc.