The Ultimate Guide to Build your own Solar Off Grid System

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The Ultimate Guide to Build your own Solar Off Grid System

Complete Off-Grid Solar Kit

It’s easy to generate Solar Energy


How can you generate Solar Energy? Is it complicated to install a Solar Kit? Is it expensive? These are all questions that we have an answer for. Today we are talking about how you can become energy independent and never having to pay for electricity ever again.

You will learn the easiest way to start generating energy from the Sun. We will start by breaking down one Complete Off-Grid System – which is basically one box containing everything you need to start generating your own energy. This will save you from the hassle of buying each component individually and match them into a proper working system.

 

What you will learn:

  • How to install your first Solar Kit and start generating solar energy
  • What is the cost return on Solar Energy
  • What components does a Solar Pack contain
  • What is the role of every component in a Solar installation
  • What are the advantages of buying an All-in-one Solar Pack

 

Let’s dive right into a Complete Solar Energy Kit. Here is the diagram of a typical Solar Energy Installation:

Solar Pack Diagram - components (Inverter, Solar Panels, Battery bank, Battery fuses, AC/DC Isolator Switches, Remote Control Panel)

Solar Pack Diagram – components (Inverter, Solar Panels, Battery bank, Battery fuses, AC/DC Isolator Switches, Remote Control Panel)

 

What components does a Solar Pack contain ?

We can see from the above diagram that a Solar installation contains the following components:

 

You will find all the above components in the Complete Solar Kits that we offer under the name of VoltaKit. You can buy yours from www.voltaconsolar.com. Click the components in the list to open them individually on our website and read more details about them.


Great Britain flag

We customized some very cost effective packs for you, manufactured in the UK with top quality components.

To shop for complete Solar Packs click here.

 


 

To make things easier to understand, we will take a proper example. Let’s say we’ll use our Solar Pack for a house, somewhere in an an urban area. Let’s take London for the city – 2-3 bedrooms, 3-4 family members and all the appliances that you find in a household: washing machine, lamps, computer, laptop etc. We can expect such a household to consume anywhere from 6 to 8 KV Hours a day. For this kind of consumption, in order to become energy independent and never pay electricity again, one 5kVA Voltakit with 9x Solar Panels (250W) and a 242Ah battery bank will do the job.

 

Off-Grid Inverter for Solar Energy

Off-Grid Inverter for Solar Energy

Off-Grid Inverter

The inverter is at the core of any solar pack. It converts the DC current from your batteries into AC current that feeds electricity into your appliances. Simply speaking, it makes your system work.

The 5kVA inverter that I added in the configuration is capable of effortlessly supporting the daily load of a household consuming ∼8 KV hours per day while also being a budget friendly choice.

Charger

Just a quick word on the charger – it usually comes preinstalled with the inverter. Its role is to generate energy for your batteries in case there is no sun for a prolonged period of time. It can draw energy from either a disel generator or from the national grid.

 

 

Solar Panel

Solar Panel

Solar Panels

When looking for Solar Panels you will stumble upon 2 different types: Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline.

We previously talked about the differences between Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline Solar Panels. You can find the post where we did the math and closely analyzed these options here. To sum it up there is not much of a difference between the two, nowadays both the Mono and Poly Solar Panels have similar efficiency. So what should you look for when shopping for Solar Panels you may ask? Well, the most important thing you need to look for is reliability – your Solar Panels will stay out there in the sun for many years to come, so make sure you get them from a reputable brand and ensure that they come with a warranty certificate. We will save you some time and let you know that EGing is one of the top Solar Panels manufacturers – the good news are that we are official sellers, and we also offer a 5 Year Warranty Certificate. Click here for more Solar Panels details.

 

I have chosen 9x 250W Solar Panels for this installation because they will be able to provide just enough energy for the daily consumption stated above. It’s a very cost effective choice and I can rely on the quality of the EGing panels for the next decade.

 

 

Solar Batteries

Solar Batteries

Solar Batteries

This is where your energy will be stored. The energy generated from the Sun will go here and afterwards to whatever will consume you electricity, with the inverter in the middle, doing the AC/DC conversion. It’s important to mention that you will usually use half of the maximum energy of the battery bank. Going below a certain threshold (30-50%) will have a negative impact on the life expectancy of your batteries. You anyway don’t have to worry about this. The value is locked in place by the manufacturer. You can also adjust this parameter yourself if you feel like it, though not recommended.  When shopping for batteries also make sure that they are as fresh as possible, the lifespan of the batteries is directly affected by the date of manufacture. Putting your batteries in extreme temperatures will also reduce the lifetime of your batteries.

For my configuration I will go with 8x Solar Bloc 6V batteries, totaling 242 Ampere hours. Hoppecke is a top player in the battery industry and these batteries will hold plenty of energy for me to use even on cloudy days.

 

 

BATTERY FUSES & DC ISOLATOR

BATTERY FUSES & DC ISOLATOR

Battery Fuses

Simply put, the Battery Fuses provide protection between the inverter and the batteries. In case something goes wrong, the fuses will be there to take the damage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DC SWITCH DISCONNECTOR

DC SWITCH DISCONNECTOR

AC SWITCH DISCONNECTOR

AC SWITCH DISCONNECTOR

AC/DC Switch Disconnectors

Using the Switch disconnectors you can safely isolate the solar inverter from the AC domestic loads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PV Combiner box with string fuses and DC Isolator

PV Combiner box with string fuses and DC Isolator.

PV Combiner String Box

PV Combiner box with DC fuses fitted on positive and negative pole of each solar string. A DC isolator safely switches on/off the power from solar panels. The box is IP65 rated that means it can be installed outdoors even under the rain. It is very common to parallel multiple string in off grid and on grid solar systems. This is only possible if you use such a PV string combiner box with protection fuses and over voltage surge protection (the last feature is optional).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Cables

Solar Cables

Solar Cables

They come together with your pack and are used to connect different components between them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monitoring & Data Logging Unit

Monitoring & Data Logging Unit

Monitoring & Data Logging Unit

If you want to check some advanced statistics on how your system is doing or tweak it remotely from your laptop – the Monitoring units also come with a software for your computer. You can find more details together with download links for all the major operating systems on our Monitoring Software page.

 

 

 

 

 

Remote Control Panel

Remote Control Panel

Remote Control Panel

Control your system remotely using the Remote Control Panel.

 

 

 

 

 

Earthing copper stick

 

Earthing rod (stick) with 16mm cable

 

 

 

Total cost for the pack we have chosen: £4779.00 (excl. Monitoring Unit and the Remote Control Panel)

With such a configuration we expect the Solar Pack to pay for its cost in 5 years.

If you want more Solar Panels or you think you can make use of a bigger battery bank, you can configure your own 5kVA system here.

 

How to install your first Solar Kit – start generating solar energy

The VoltaKit just reached your doorstep, what now? We are big fans of DYI, and we are happy to tell you that you can install the VoltaKit yourself with zero previous experience. Here is a simple guide:

  1. Install the Cabinet on the wall or on the ground – this is where your inverter is.
  2. Install the PV Cables, Red / Black
  3. Install the Battery cables, Red / Black
  4. Interconnect AC Output to AC Load (domestic load)
  5. Switch on PV
  6. Switch on Battery
  7. Switch on AC

 

For more details our engineers are here to help. Contact us by using the contact form here, writing to info@voltacon.com or by calling us on our phone numbers +44 2477 675 575 or +44 2476 98 0972.

 

Andrei Badiu
Andrei Badiu
IT Support

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