The essence of solar is simple: harness light from the sun to generate electricity. Through years of technological improvement, competition, and demand, solar has become a reality for many homeowners across America. It has even reached the consumer realm with small solar battery packs that can charge your battery on the go. All in all, Americans love the idea of being able to control their power and avoid paying expensive electricity bills to utilities companies. With that said, is it possible to cut yourself off completely from your utilities provider and still have all the power you need? Let’s find out!
What is off-the-grid solar?
The meaning of off-the-grid solar lies within the phrase. When a person, home, or place is “off the grid,” it means they are not connected to the electrical grid. The term “off the grid” is generally associated with hippies or nature buffs who look to escape society for a more isolated, natural lifestyle. Those who are off the grid can either rely on renewable energy to provide electricity or live an energy free life.
Now let’s get a little more specific and define off-the-grid solar. Off-the-grid solar is any solar panel that is not connected to the local utility grid. Thus, all energy used or required by the home must be generated by the solar panels. If a home is completely off the grid, it will typically store electricity in a battery that will allow homeowners to utilize electricity whenever it is needed. Grid-less homeowners can also connect their solar panels to more powerful electric generators that can heat water, power an AC unit, or run a fridge. All in all, off the gridders live a simple life and feel the joy that comes from being completely independent and disconnected from society.
Can I go off the grid in a residential neighborhood?
For most homeowners, going off the grid is unrealistic, but technically speaking it can be done. Although the sun is always shining, the problem with off-the-grid solar is that it isn’t the most reliable energy producer. For example, in cloudy weather panels generate electricity at a much lower efficiency. Because the weather isn’t controllable, people who live in more overcast states will have to make some serious energy usage sacrifices or buy more panels to produce all the power they need. Panels also don’t produce energy during the night. This means grid-less homeowners will need to invest in an expensive solar battery in order to store electricity for nighttime usage.
When it comes down to it, living off the grid in an area where the grid is accessible doesn’t make a ton of sense. For starters, staying connected to the grid only costs around $5-$15 per month (depending on the state you live in). So, going off the grid will only save you anywhere from $60-$180 per year. Those savings don’t come close to the cost of a solar battery, which means you’ll have to put down more money from the get-go if you want to be grid-less. At Blue Raven Solar, we recommend that homeowners stay connected to the grid and instead take advantage of a net metering program.
Benefits of solar on the environment:
Living off the grid can make an amazing impact on the environment. A grid-less lifestyle is sustainable, clean, and environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, for most Americans living off the grid isn’t within reason but going solar is. With thousands of companies creating competition, solar has become more affordable than ever. Plus, local and national government incentives allow homeowners to get discounts of over 26% off their solar systems. With that said, going solar is one of the best ways to positively impact the environment.
By going solar, you not only reduce the cost of your power bill, but you also make an impact on the planet. Solar significantly reduces a homeowner’s carbon footprint. In its lifetime, the average residential solar system will offset the energy produced by burning over 80 tons of coal or 175 tons of carbon dioxide. The energy generated is also equivalent to planting 4,000 trees. Thus, solar panels can make a massive impact in helping preserve our planet, and every solar owner can feel good knowing that they are making a difference.
At Blue Raven Solar, we are determined to make a positive impact on our planet. Over the last 6 years at Blue Raven Solar, we have installed enough solar systems to offset 1,805,052 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s equivalent to removing 389,970 cars from roads for a year!
Blue Raven Solar’s Partnership with GivePower
The Givepower GivePartner foundation specializes in building off-the-grid solar-powered desalination water farms. Each one of these farms can produce up to 70,000 liters of drinking water for communities in areas that do not have access to clean water. In their 6-year history, Givepower has completed solar energy systems that power food production, clean water through desalination, provide electricity in schools, and help businesses, emergency services, animals and land conservation efforts. With every Blue Raven Solar installation, we donate $20 to GivePartner, and that $20 donation provides one person with access to clean drinking water for at least 20 years. Of course, you don’t have to go solar with us to be a participant in this wonderful movement. If you’d like to donate, feel free to visit GivePower.org. All in all, Blue Raven hopes to continue to make an impact on the environment and help Americans across the country make the switch to solar.