GreenBell Technologies

Inspections || Maintenance || Lubricants

An off-grid solar power system is one that gets most or all of its electricity from the sun using solar panels (photovoltaic panels) and none from a power utility such as a hydroelectric dam, nuclear, coal or natural gas fired plant, ... The grid, which the system is "off" of, refers to the complex network of power lines that connect the utilities to the numerous buildings that use the power. Since in many locations there may be clouds for days or weeks at a time, off-grid systems usually have a back-up generator as well. In addition they may have wind turbines, microhydro and other small electricity generating means.

The various parts are:

  • solar panels - These take the solar energy from the sun and turn it into electrical energy, electricity.
  • batteries - Since the sun doesn't always shine, the electrical energy has to be stored somewhere for use in the meantime. We store it in batteries.
  • charge controller - This controls charging of the batteries, similar to how as a cell phone charger controls charging of a cell phone.
  • service box - This part you should be familiar with since you already have one of these. This is your breaker panel with all your breakers in it for in case there is an electrical short somewhere.
  • loads/appliances - Your lights, fridge, fans, clocks, ...
  • generator - A diesel, propane or natural gas generator for generating power in case there hasn't been sun for a long time and the batteries are dead. This will provide elecricity when that happens.
  • inverter - Takes the power in the batteries and converts it into a form suitable for your loads/appliances. It also takes power from the generator and passes some through to your loads/appliances and uses some to charge the batteries.