Off-Grid Solar Energy Systems — Pros and Cons
Many homeowners consider installing off-grid solar energy systems, which allow them to sever ties with the local utility company. But while cutting all ties with the power company is certainly possible (and can even be practical) for many people, investing in a stand-alone photovoltaic power system isn’t right for everyone.
If you’re trying to weigh the pros and cons of off-grid solar power, scheduling a consultation with a professional photovoltaic contractor is a great way to get all your questions answered. In the meantime, however, we have put together some basic information about the advantages and disadvantages of going off-grid with solar power.
Advantages of Off-Grid Solar Energy Systems
Disconnecting from your municipal power company comes with several benefits — no doubt the following advantages play a part in your desire to install an off-grid photovoltaic system:
- Independence — Go with an off-grid system, and you’re no longer subject to the terms and policies of the utility company. Getting away from the ongoing rate increase may be reason enough to cut ties.
- No Blackouts — When the power is out and everyone else has no electricity, your home will still have full power. This can be particularly important for people with health conditions that require electronic devices or refrigerated medicine.
- No Electricity Bills — You’ll never again have to give the utility company a slice of your monthly paycheck after you go off-grid with solar power.
Disadvantages of Off-Grid Solar Energy Systems
Installing an off-grid photovoltaic system does come with some drawbacks, however. Here are a few reasons homeowners end up deciding against going off-grid:
- Higher Initial Cost — If you disconnect fully from the power company, you’ll need a source of backup power for when the sun isn’t shining. Adding a battery bank and/or generator bumps up your solar costs.
- Limited Solar Energy Storage — Even with backup power, energy storage is limited. Given a few days of cloudy weather, you may run out of stored electricity.
- Energy Efficiency is a Must — When you live off-grid, you have to be careful about your household energy use or you run the risk of not having enough power for your home.
Should You Go Off-Grid with Solar Power?
What is your main motivation for wanting to go off-grid? Answer that question, and you will have a better idea of whether to install an off-grid PV system.
If energy independence, an end to blackouts or eliminating your electricity bills is your primary reason, cutting ties with the power company may be right for you. The same may be true if your home isn’t already connected with electric utility service, as running new lines to a property can cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how far the nearest lines are.
If, on the other hand, you simply want to save money by creating your own electricity, you might want to consider a grid-tied photovoltaic system instead.
The professionals at Intermountain Wind & Solar provide high-quality, affordable grid-tied and off-grid photovoltaic solutions to homeowners throughout Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-hassle consultation for more information on installing off-grid solar energy systems.