The Future of Solar Energy An Interdisciplinary MIT Study

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How does solar power work?

Photo voltaic panels harness vitality from daylight and a collection of units create usable vitality for all types of electronics.

Our OFF GRID system works like this:

  • Photo voltaic vitality is harnessed by photovoltaic, or PV, panels.
  • These panels ship the vitality to our battery financial institution (monitored by a tool known as a “cost controller”).
  • The vitality from the batteries is distributed to an “inverter” which modifications the DC (direct present) energy from the batteries into useable AC (alternating present).
  • The inverter sends energy to our breaker field, which sends energy to all retailers and fixtures similar to in a “regular” home.

What are the differences between grid-tied and off-grid systems?

These programs have photo voltaic panels that join via your own home to your native vitality grid. Your energy invoice goes via “internet metering” the place your utility firm offsets your energy invoice primarily based on the quantity of vitality your panels “promote again” to the grid.

You sometimes don’t have the entire additional parts that an off-grid system must have. For instance, there’s no battery financial institution to provide energy via the night time for the reason that grid offers the vitality it’s essential to cowl the gaps.

This kind of system may be cheaper to put in because you don’t have the price of a battery financial institution, however these financial savings can generally be eaten up by the truth that professionals are sometimes required to put in them.

In the event you reside in shut proximity to the grid or are already linked, that is often one of the best ways to get began with photo voltaic. Verify your native codes and state necessities to seek out extra details about internet metering guidelines in your space.


This kind of system is totally separate from the vitality grid. It creates all of its energy by way of the panels after which shops vitality in a battery financial institution. Correctly sized, a battery financial institution ought to present sufficient vitality for a number of days of restricted solar.

Off-grid programs may be costlier due to the price of the battery financial institution. Nonetheless, in case you’re constructing a house from scratch you would possibly discover that some constructing websites are prohibitively costly to run grid energy to. On this case, photo voltaic may be MUCH cheaper. This was the case for us, as you’ll see beneath.


This type of system is completely separate from the energy grid. It creates all of its power via the panels and then stores energy in a battery bank. Properly sized, a battery bank should provide enough energy for several days of limited sun.

Off-grid systems can be more expensive because of the cost of the battery bank. However, if you’re building a home from scratch you might find that some building sites are prohibitively expensive to run grid power to. In this case, solar can be MUCH cheaper. This was the case for us, as you’ll see below.

How did we decide to go solar?

Manner again earlier than we began constructing our homestead, and effectively earlier than we bought land, we started searching for properties with a good quantity of acreage that may enable us to do what we needed to do. For us, this meant constructing a cordwood home, rising our personal meals, and growing a extra self-sufficient life-style.

We didn’t got down to go “off the grid” particularly, however when the property we fell in love with had no connections to grid water and energy, we knew that going off-grid was an actual chance.


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