The term off grid has many meanings, for some people, going off-grid may mean to be disconnected from their utility company, while others may think they must disconnect from all utilities and live a self-sufficient lifestyle. But, what does it really mean to go off grid? Here's our explanation of going off grid.
Grid-Tied vs. Off Grid Solar
When you install solar panels, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re "off grid". If you install battery storage with solar, you can store and use excess solar electricity when its produced. This means you can potentially sever your connection with the electricity company.
However, most solar panel systems can’t consistently generate enough energy to be a home’s only power source. This would require a lot of storage capacity, a very large solar panel system, and a significant financial investment to install. That’s why most solar panel system owners maintain a connection with their utility company. Also, when you generate more power than what you consume, your utility gives you net metering credits on your electricity bill. While its technically feasible with battery backup, its rarely cost-effective when compared to the benefits of staying tied to the utility.
Should you go off grid?
Going off grid requires more than just installing solar panels and disconnecting from the utility. You need to have very low energy consumption and you don’t have access to the utility grid when you need it. Instead, you need to create your own personal “grid". That's why by installing on-site battery storage, you'll store the energy from your solar panels for the use later.
Other than that, some homes function well off grid using smaller and less expensive solar and storage systems. For two reasons:
- Homes designed for off grid systems use use less energy.
- They are located in remote areas that don’t have access to the utility.
Homeowners in these situations pay a premium for these features or manage their lifestyle throughout the year without electricity.
Start reducing your energy costs with energy efficiency
If you disconnect from the utility but, don't want to spend thousands of dollars, start taking appropriate energy efficiency measures around your home. Using efficient appliances, properly insulating your home, and by consuming less energy, you can reduce your energy costs. So, if you want to learn more about solar energy, contact us today!