Tag Archive | "off grid"

Off Grid Solar Incentives

Incentives for Off Grid Solar Electric Systems

What are Off Grid Solar Panel Systems?

An off grid solar panel system is one which does not connect to any parts of the utility company’s electricity network.  These types of solar systems are totally contained at the location where they are installed and operating.  They do not need anything from the outside, and they support themselves and the energy storage with large batteries.

There are a few different types of incentives that an off grid solar electric generator can take part in.  The most common of these is the Solar Federal Tax Credit.  Another incentive is not something that is government funded, but rather is a pride of ownership type of incentive which eliminates the dependency on the local utility compnay for electricity.

The Solar Federal Tax credit works in a very simple way.  If you purchase a solar system and are able to prove that it is up and running, then you can take advantage of a 30% federal tax credit on the systems’s total cost.  No matter what the system cost is, whether it is just a few thousand dollars or over $1,000,000, you can benefit from the tax credit.   One major difference that does exist with this incentive is based on residential or business ownership of the solar system.  Businesses are able to take part in a 30% tax credit or Treasury grant which is exactly the same as cash.  For this reason, many businesses decide to have a check sent to them in the mail.

Pride of Solar Ownership Incentive

The next incentive does not have a dollar figure attached to it.  It is more based around the overall idea of renewable energy and energy independence.  What a solar electric system does bring is the incentive to no longer be reliant on your utility company’s electricity.  Now, you are simply relying on the system itself and sunlight.  The value of this is usually very large and is the biggest factor that has people buying solar panel systems for their home and business.

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Designing and Installing Your Off Grid Solar System

If you are like a growing number of people in your country, you are thinking about the idea of generating your own power.  It definitely something that more and more people are thinking about over the past few years, and now, people are actually doing it too.  Here are the ideas you need to be thinking to get started and to get off the grid:

First of all, it is not at all true that an off grid solar system needs to be and can only be designed by a professional.  That simply isn’t the case anymore.  There is too much good information that exists these days.  If you on the other hand are looking for a system that will be connected to the utility grid, then yes, you will need some help from a professional.  But off grid is different.

As the solar industry has moved forward over the years, there are many different companies who now manufacturer pre assembled, or easy to install kits. That’s right, these things are nearly put together before they arrive at your home.  So, in reality, there is not much work at all to do once they arrive.  And as you would expect, you usually get a great manual that will talk you through the final steps of putting this system together.

Some of the factors you should consider before you purchase anything is with regards to sunlight.  If you live high up in the forest, where there are many trees all around, you should consider sunlight for sure.  The solar panels need to have as much sunlight each day as possible to do their job the best, so you want to minimize or even eliminate the potential for shade hitting the panels.  Since most people still live under a roof, that is the usual spot to place solar panels, but there might be an even better location where you are at, so just make sure to consider heavily the location before you buy anything.  You need to make sure you have enough space for the actual panels too, so figure all that out before you purchase anything.  You can match up your space available to different solar panel kits to make sure you are “all good”.

So, once you have done just a little bit of homework, it is entirely possible for you to start living a life off the grid, and producing your own power.  More and more people are doing it each day, which is great for many reasons.  Not only does it cut down or eliminate the electric bill, but it is even building a solar industry throughout the world which means more and more experiences people to help you along the way if something strange does occur.

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Grid Tied vs. Off the Grid Solar Systems

What is the best option?

Here is another decision that is usually answered rather quickly and early on in the solar decision making tree.  First of all, there is a major distinction that needs to be clear about PV solar systems.  One option is to install a “Grid Tied” system.  That means, the solar system will be connected to your utility company’s network(the electric panel).  The other option is to be “Off the Grid” which would mean the system does not connect to your electric panel(imagine you live where there is no electric company, i.e you don’t have an electric bill)  There are quite a few variations, but that is the general idea.

Why would you want a Grid Tied System?

People chose grid tied systems for many reasons.  Here are a few: cost, net-metering, incentives, less maintenance, more installers know how to install them.


Grid Tied systems have the following costs:  panels, inverters, disconnects switches, wiring, mounting hardware, labor to install, permits if necessary(usually a nominal fee, nothing too big)


The net metering option allows a “grid tied” system to connect to the grid and put excess unused electricity back into the grid, otherwise it would be wasted.  This is a benefit because the owner of the system can effectively “sell back” their electricity if they don’t use it.  This doesn’t mean the electric company will be writing you a check everyday, but they very well may give you a credit on your electric bill if you have given them more electricity than you have used for a particular month.


In some states and areas, solar incentives are only eligible for “grid tied” systems.  That is something you will want to check with your local solar professional.


Grid tied systems are by and large, much easier to maintain.  When installed correctly, they can run on their own for an indefinite amount of time.  If you are having to tweak and mess with a grid tied system after it has been installed, than the installation was not done correctly.  These are no hassle systems after they have been implemented which is one of the major reasons grid tied systems are so popular worldwide.

Why Would you want an Off Grid System

People tend to chose off grid systems because they are not near utility power, the utility company is not reliable(3rd world countries), want a sense of energy independence, want a backup supply of electricity if the power goes down, and many more.

Utility Power is Far Away

If the local utility lines are so far away that it is too expensive to pay for new lines, an off grid system might be a good match for you.

Not Reliable Utility Company

Some people on the planet have such horrible times actually receiving electricity from their local or government utility company that it simply is not an option to rely on that, this makes off grid solar a good option.

Energy Independence

If you really put a value on supplying your own energy all of the time, and want to tell the utility company to disconnect your lines, off grid solar could be perfect for you.  That is what it allows you to do.

Backup Power

There is an “off grid” but still “on grid” hybrid way to this too.  If you wan to be connected to the utility company, like the “on grid model” but still want to have a guaranteed source of power if the utility power ever goes out like from a hurricane.  You can create a hybrid solar system.  This would actually connect to the grid, but would have batteries which would store power too.  This way, if the power went off, you would still have electricity in your batteries to use., and the sun to generate more power over the coming days.

You can Also Build Your Own Solar Power

Here is some information on how to do that

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