Sample Off the Grid Solar Power Systems and Costs

Going off the grid

A friend’s dad is serious about going off the grid and doing it with solar. This man has worked hard for a long time and is ready for a new challenge, I think part of that challenge is to be more self-sufficient and independent. There is definitely something to be said for being self-sufficient. ­čÖé

I am not going to get into the merits of on-grid vs off-the-grid, but I can say that for particular situations off-the-grid is a nearly ideal solution. I have greatly enjoyed living off the grid since 1992 (except for college 99-03 & law-school 03-06). I plan to continue to do so as I enjoy the freedom and not receiving recurring utility bills.

What follows are some sample solar setups that I emailed to my friend’s dad:

Hopefully this will be helpful him in giving him so ideas to start planning his setup. Also, these prices are just what is available from dealers on the web today, so by shopping around he could probably easily save 10-25%. And of course there is the tax credit!

NOTE: YOU GET TO CHOOSE one of the beauties of solar is that you can configure your system exactly how YOU want it. You have the freedom to choose exactly how your electricity is produced. ­čÖé So please don’t take these systems as mandates, instead view them as a starting point for building YOUR perfect system!

NOTE: COSTS CAN BE LOWER (or higher) you can save a ton of money when building a solar setup by shopping around, looking for bargain components, buying used/surplus/refurbished, or becoming a dealer yourself. So please consider these sample setups as on the HIGH side, if you want to you can┬áseverely┬áreduce these costs. Conversely, if you live in an area with a high cost of living and hire someone to procure and install a “turnkey” system then there will likely be a premium beyond the costs I have listed…

Entry level 12 volt system: 840 watts of panels, 1800 watt inverter

Panels
(4) Kyocera KD210GX-LPU, 210W Solar Panel
http://www.affordable-solar.com/store/solar-panels/kyocera-KD210GX-LPU-210-watt-solar-panel
$1,560 = $390 per panel x (8)
*I have never used these panels, but Kyocera is a reputable brand and they are the lowest $ per watt that I have ever seen.

Charge controller
Outback FM-80 80 Amp MPPT Charge Controller
http://www.discountpv.com/charge_controllers/fm80.htm
$630
*this is my favorite controller: rock solid, efficient and capable.

Batteries
(1) HUP Solar One, Model #SO-6-85-27, 12 volt lead acid battery, 1375AH @ 12v dimensions: 40″ x 11.25″ x 25″ 1102lbs
http://www.hupsolarone.com/specs.htm
$3,828
*HUP Solar One makes the best lead-acid batteries that I know of…

Inverter
Xantrex Prosine 1800 watt inverter
http://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-Technologies-1800PS-1800-Watt/dp/B0000225DC
$1,000

Misc:
Mounts, cables/wiring, breakers/enclosures, etc.
$600-$1200

Rough estimate: $8,000

Mid to Upper level 24V based system: 1840 watts of panels and 2500 watt inverter

Panels
(8) Sharp ND-U230Q1, 230W Solar Panels

http://www.affordable-solar.com/store/solar-panels/sharp-ND-U230Q1-230-watt-solar-panel

$4,888 = $611 per panel x (8)

Charge controller

Outback FM-80 80 Amp MPPT Charge Controller
http://www.discountpv.com/charge_controllers/fm80.htm
$630

Batteries
(2) HUP Solar One, Model #SO-6-85-33, 12volt lead acid batteries in series for 1690AH @ 24v dimensions: 40″ x 13.5″ x 25″ [x2] 1336lbs [x2 = 2672 lbs]
http://www.hupsolarone.com/specs.htm
$9,192 = $4596 x 2

Inverter
OutBack Inverter GTFX 2524, Sealed Grid-Tie Inverter
http://www.affordable-solar.com/store/outback-inverters/outback-gtfx2524-inverter
$1,700

Misc:
Mounts, cables/wiring, breakers/enclosures, etc.
$600-$1200

Rough estimate: $17,000

Ultra-High-End Solar System:

Roughly double the mid/upper system at each specification:
(16) 230W panels
(2) charge controllers
(4) of the highest capacity HUP Solar One 12V batteries (your choice of wiring in 24v or 48v, but 48v would probably be the ideal way to go…)
(1 or 2) grid tie inverters
etc.
approximately $29-$34K
3600 watts solar output, 5000 watt inverter capability, extreme battery capacity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *