Solar power has become the preferred method for meeting modern usage needs in a way that has a low impact on the environment. With the right type of solar array and supporting system, the average household can collect enough energy to meet the needs of the home, and in many cases, there’s surplus energy that can be contributed back to the grid if the system is an on-grid solar system. For many, however, one of the benefits of solar power is not being attached to the grid at all, as an off-grid solar system allows a homeowner to be completely independent from the mainstream grid and its connecting infrastructure.

But installing the right solar system for your needs isn’t as easy as ordering solar panels, an inverter, and a few AGM deep-cycle batteries. For you to get the most from your solar system without overspending on hardware, you’ll need to properly size your off-grid solar system to support your power requirements efficiently. Keep reading to learn more about sizing your off-grid solar system to adequately meet your household power needs.

Solar converter on wall

Step 1: Figure Out Your Load

The first step in sizing your solar system is to decide how much power you regularly consume. That factor is known as the load. To calculate your load, you’ll need to do a little math using the energy usage stats for each of your most commonly used major appliances. That information can usually be found on a sticker somewhere on the appliances. Once you’ve collected that information, make a map of the appliances that are most likely to be used at the same time. For example, add the numbers for your HVAC system, refrigerator, television, and washer since those appliances may often be running at the same time. That number is known as your peak load.

Step 2: Choose an Inverter

The inverter is critical to your solar power system. Your household appliances run off AC power, but the power collected in your panels is DC power. Therefore, there must be an inverter in the system that converts the DC power collected by the panels into AC power that can be used in the home. First, use your peak load number to match your system to an inverter. Also, when selecting a converter, there’s more to consider than just its load. For example, though true sine wave inverters may be more expensive than square wave inverters, they will work with all appliances and distribute power more evenly while mimicking grid power. That’s important for some devices, such as electronics.

Solar panels

Step 3: Determine Power Storage Needs

Again, to determine the needs of your system when it comes to storage capacity, you’ll need to do more math. When deciding how much storage capacity your system needs, you should be guided by the peak usage numbers as well as the capacity of the battery, which is expressed as amp hours. There are many other variables involved, however, such as the depth of discharge requirements for the batteries and the temperature of the batteries. The best bet is to determine your peak load, decide how many hours of power you’ll need to store, and go from there in selecting batteries that can handle your needs.

Step 4: Select Panels

The panels are the most visible portion of your system, and they’re responsible for beginning the electrification process in any solar system. It’s important that you have enough panels to collect the energy you need, remembering that that all energy required for a complete day be collected within a 4 – 5 hour period of strong sunlight. Again, peak load is necessary to decide how many panels you should include, but there are other factors involved. These are the angle of your panels, shading, the amount of solar energy that falls on your geographic location, and the efficiency of the type of panels you choose.

If you plan to install an off-grid solar system, make sure to use these tips when calculating the proper size for your system. To earn more about sizing your off-grid solar system, contact The PowerStore at (888) 595-0580.