Off Grid Solar


California was warned months ago that its electrical grid was in need of service, this is not only true of California but the infrastructure of the entire US is past due for an overhaul or replacement.  The grid was originally built just after WWII and most of it is in excess of 40 years old, it was also built based on technology that is now considered obsolete.

40 years ago the population was about 200 million and currently it is about 330 million.  There are also many more devices that require electricity than there was in the 1960s and 1970s.  The point being is that the load on the grid is at least double of what it was when the grid was new.  Over the past decade more power outages and brown outs are occurring, likely the frequency of these power disruptions will increase.

California grid operators are now asking for customers to limit their electricity usage to keep the system from overloading.  A few years ago, California along with some other states started a program that allowed utilities to cut / reduce a household’s power in lieu of a cost benefit.  I believe this was a way of trying to get users to cut usage so the utilities wouldn’t have to upgrade their infrastructure.  The cost to upgrade the nation’s grid is estimated to cost a couple trillion.  Moneywise it is obvious why they don’t want to upgrade the system.

Recently there has been a growth in the use of solar panels.  Most of these systems are grid tied, a grid tied system doesn’t require energy storage as the power which is generated is uploaded to the grid.  Grid tied systems are lower in cost than off grid systems, in order to have a some means of storing energy.  There are several ways to store energy but the most common is probably with batteries.  The addition of the batteries will almost double the cost of a solar system.

With the dilapidated and vulnerable condition of the grid, it is worth considering the additional cost if one can afford it.  As I mentioned before, grid tied systems do not directly power your house.  The power is uploaded to the grid but in some systems, the power generated can be diverted to an inverter and used without going through the grid.  This is only available when the panels are active, during the night the panels are not active so any power needs to be supplied by the grid.  If the grid is down, even a house equipped with solar panels will not have power at night.

A solar system equipped with onsite storage can be used at night and when the grid is down as it draws energy from the onsite energy storage.

Author: outwalking
Life time student

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