Off-grid Solar Electricity Overview

Off-grid Solar Types

  • Direct Thermal - There are many types of off-grid thermal systems. Some heat air. Some heat water. Some heat food. We have some of these and want to experiment with more.
  • Daylight Drive - This is a name given by Living Energy Farm for systems that run DC motors directly from photovoltaic power without the need for batteries.
  • Photovoltaic with Battery - This is the type of system discribed in this post and how we get by en El Terreno. The photovoltaic panels charge the batteries while the sun shines, and then the batteries provide electricty day and night.

Main components

Photovoltaic Panels - This is where the magic happens. When the sun shines on the panels they produce an electric potential.

Batteries - Electricity that we don’t use right away is stored in the batteries, Then they power the lights and laptops at night.

MPPT Charge Controller - The controller’s job is to stop charging the batteries when they are full and to disconnect the batteries when they are too low (they get damaged otherwise). Our controller is special becuase it has Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). This uses electronic wizardry to use about 30% more power from the PV panels.


mom October 05, 2018

that controller is spiffy! are you getting enough sun these days to keep things powered?

Phillip October 06, 2018

Since we installed the pure sine inverter we’ve had plenty of power. In fact now I forget to start the van every few weeks and one time the starter battery was dead. Fortunately we can easily jump the starter battery from the solar battery. I have two more electricity blog posts in the works to explain more.

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