Off-Grid Solar > Renewable Energy Solutions
Off-Grid systems act completely independent of the utility grid. They are not tied into it at all; instead, excess power is fed into batteries for storage until it is needed. These systems can be found in remote locations where there is no access to the utility grid, on top of RVs and boats to trickle charge batteries, or powering emergency phones along the highways without having to run expensive cabling to them.
The necessary components in an off grid system depend on your application. Generally, though, the necessary components include solar panels, mounting, batteries, a charge controller, and sometimes an inverter.
Solar panels come in all shapes and sizes. They can be classified in two general ways: monocrystalline or polycrystalline. While monocrystalline panels tend to be more efficient than polycrystalline panels, the gap between the two has been closing and today the main difference between them is the way they are manufactured. Monocrystalline panels are composed of a single silicon crystal; polycrystalline panels use many smaller crystal for a less expensive manufacturing process.
One thing to note is that your system is only as strong as your weakest panel.
See our solar panels for sale for more information on the specific modules that EcoDirect carries.
A charge controller regulates the electric current flowing into your battery, protecting it and preventing overcharging. They protect battery life. There are two types of charge controllers, MPPT and PWM.
MPPT charge controllers offer the best efficiency, improving performance by up to 30% by "tracking" the optimal power point. The main advantage of a PWM charge controller is that it is less expensive than an MPPT charge controller. These controllers are best when keeping project costs low is a primary goal.
See our charge controllers for more detailed information.
Batteries are the key difference between a grid-tie and off-grid system. While a grid-tie system can simply feed unneeded power into the utility grid and draw from it when it is wanted, off-grid systems need a way to store excess energy so that when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing there is still power available. Batteries provide this solution. Generated energy is fed into them via the charge controller where it is kept until it is needed.
See our deep cycle batteries for specific models that EcoDirect offers.
Inverters are necessary to convert the DC current produced by your solar panels into the AC current used in your home and appliances. You can either have a large central inverter and attach all of your solar panels to it or attach a single microinverter to each panel, reducing costs and improving efficiency.
See our solar inverters for more information, or go directly to our section for off grid inverters.
The mounting system depends on your location and application. Wind speed, snow load, roof type, and available space are among the factors that play into your choice.
See our solar panel mounts or call us at (888) 899-3509 for more information.