The electricity sold by an electric company is produced in power plants and transmitted across a “grid” which spreads the electricity out to homes and businesses.
Rocky Grove Sun Company was founded bringing power to remote locations across the Ozarks which didn’t have access to the utility grid. These off grid systems were the backbone of our company until around 2004 when grid connected systems and net metering became common. In a remote location where it may cost thousands of dollars to bring in grid power these systems did and still do make easy financial sense.
An off grid system has no connection to the utility grid and you are totally responsible for producing all the power you consume.
The components of this type of system:
- A PV array or set of solar panels which harvest energy from the sun’s light.
- A battery bank stores the energy till it’s needed.
- A charge controller connects the solar energy to the batteries.
- An inverter which changes the DC electricity in the battery to AC electricity for common household use. Some uses in an off grid system may use DC electricity – fans, refrigeration and some lighting are common DC loads that may still be found in off grid homes.
- A generator provides backup power.
Since you are totally responsible for all the power you consume, a very thorough design process is needed to size the components in any off grid system. Packaged systems and inexperienced system designers can often fall short of meeting the customer’s end needs on this type of system. The customer must be an integral part of the system design process – truthfully relaying their expected energy consumption patterns to the system designer.
Once designed properly, these systems offer a freedom like no other – being totally responsible for your energy diet is very rewarding and removes your home from the entanglement of coal or nuclear based power production.