The Pros and Cons of an Off-Grid Solar Power System

If you have been looking for an eco-friendlier way to power your home and maybe reduce your carbon footprint, you may have considered going with a solar-powered home or property. Before making the switch to solar power, you will want to be familiar with the pros and cons of this big change. 

The main pros and cons of an off-grid solar power system are:

Brings sustainable energyEnergy usage needs careful monitoring
Offers independence from power companiesNo on-grid backup
Long-term savingsHigh initial cost

In this article, we will explore how the off-grid solar power system works, who it works best for, and the pros and cons of the completely independent system. By learning the components of the system and exploring both the cost and sustainability of the system, you’ll have a better understanding of how your home will be powered and if it will fit your desired lifestyle.

Pros And Cons of An Off-Grid Solar Power System

There are many benefits as well as disadvantages of having an off-grid solar power system. Considering the pros and cons will give you more insight and understanding of what it will mean for you to have an off-grid system, the changes you might have to make to your lifestyle, and the new responsibility that comes with the independence of letting go of the grid. 

In the pros section, we will discuss the topics of 

  • Sustainability
  • Independence
  • And Savings

And in the cons section, we will dive into the topics of 

  • Backups
  • Initial costs
  • And Monitoring usage

In order to help you make your decision, we’ll cover the advantages of these systems in some detail, including the lower bills and independence offered by going off-grid. We’ll also speak frankly about the cons of an off-grid system. You have to know the good and the bad before you undertake such a life-altering move. 

Let’s get started with the details of the pros and cons of an off-grid solar power system.

Benefits of An Off-Grid Solar Power System

There are many benefits to look forward to when switching to an off-grid solar power system. Some of the biggest are listed down below.


One of the most attractive things about an off-grid solar power system to most property owners is its sustainability. As solar power is one of the most eco-friendly energy solutions out there, it drastically reduces your carbon footprint. This system takes no part in the release of greenhouse gasses or water pollution. 


If there is a power outage in your area, your property, as well as the surrounding properties, may not be able to receive power, and it can often take hours or days for power company repairs. 

With an off-grid solar system, you will not have to worry about how a power outage will affect your property and its appliances. According to Edison International, some of the most common power outage causes are trees, vehicles, animals, excavation digging, and high power demand. 

Fortunately, outages caused by these interferences with power lines and circuits that are on the grid will not affect the functionality of your property or its energy use.


According to Bland Company, having a larger supply of renewable energy vs. pulling energy from your power company grid will allow you to save month to month on utilities. Although there is a higher initial cost of going off-grid, you will not have to deal with any surprises from your energy bill.

 Fluctuations in your bill due to higher energy usage or your company raising its prices are not things you will have to worry about once you make the switch to off-grid energy uses. The Bland Company states that in the majority of states, a homeowner with an off-grid solar power system has saved around 20 thousand dollars a month for over 20 years.

Drawbacks of an Off-Grid Solar System

While there are many benefits to an off-grid solar power system, there are also drawbacks you will want to consider.

No Grid Backup

 One of the benefits of an on-grid or hybrid solar system is that if there are weather conditions that are severely bad, like a snowstorm, you can rely on your energy company to come out and do repairs and power your home, as it is their responsibility to maintain the grid. 

But with an off-grid system, in the event of a bad weather storm or any other condition that would cause your system to need servicing, you won’t have grid power to rely on. You will have to make provisions to get your system fixed on your own. The responsibility is on you. 

Initial Cost 

Going off-grid requires a very high upfront cost for things like panels, batteries, and generators. According to Thumbtack, the typical solar-powered home has 15- 35 panels. Depending on the size of your property, your setup will most likely need a lot of solar panels and large-capacity batteries.

Batteries and gas generators are needed in the event of equipment failure or when your system doesn’t generate the amount of power you need. The two are representative of a large portion of the high initial costs of setup. We will go into more depth on cost later on in this article.

Monitoring Your Energy Usage

 As a result of you being completely reliant on the sun with your off-grid system, you will very often have to consider the amount of sunlight you can receive throughout the day and how it will affect your properties’ available energy. 

Your property’s access to sunlight which is mostly dependent on the climate of your location will heavily influence your available energy. As a result, the off-grid system may require a drastic lifestyle change. Because most people are used to using their appliances whenever they please and expecting the grid to supply their power as needed, this may be a challenge.  

Accounting for the times when you won’t receive as much sunlight is required. Bearing in mind the winter months and nighttime will urge you to plan household chores accordingly. Things like running the dishwasher or vacuuming may have to be done exclusively during hours of daylight. 

How Does an Off-Grid Solar Power System Work?

An Off-grid solar power system is a system that harnesses energy from the sun and stores it with the help of: 

  • Battery banks 
  • Charge controllers 
  • Inverters that harness energy from the sun and store it 
  • Solar panels

This harnessing and storing of energy will allow you to power your home, business, and any other space with clean and renewable energy and no external power supply.

The solar power process is a lot more intricate and complicated than many users consider. Understanding the different components of the system and how they work together is completely possible once they are broken down. 

Breaking Down an Off-Grid Solar Power System

In an off-grid solar power system, the panels, charge controllers, battery packs, and inverters all work together to provide energy. All of these steps are necessary for gathering, storing, and transferring energy from one appliance to another as well as Converting energy from one type to another. Each component has its part or steps in the process, and its steps are as follows:

  1. The solar panels are exposed directly to the sun and soak up the sunlight. These panels sit either on top of the roof or in an open space. The soaked-up sunlight is passed onto the charge controllers. 
  2. The charge controllers act as delivery men. They regulate the amount of energy delivered to the battery bank, lights, and inverters. The controllers deliver direct current power to the lights, deliver power to the inverters, and deliver the excess to the battery bank for later use. 

How the Battery Bank Works

The battery bank is what powers your home at times when there is little to no sunlight. This includes nights and cloudy days. It stores the sunlight’s energy that is not being used during sunlit hours and releases it when it’s needed as DC energy and when necessary to inverters so it can be turned into AC energy. 

When you have an appliance that needs readily changeable energy levels, AC or Alternating Current energy is needed. Inverters turn the Direct Current energy from battery banks into AC energy for appliances like stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Alternatively, DC Energy is used to power things like computers, televisions, and lighting.

Although the solar energy process can seem hard to tackle at first, there are professionals in the field of solar energy that can execute your setup properly and will help make it as smooth a transition for you as possible.  Now that you have a better understanding of how the off-grid solar power system will work, it will be easier to determine if it’s right for your property.

Who Should Use an Off-Grid Solar Power System?

An off-grid solar power system is for the home or property owner that lives in a remote location and wishes for total independence from their power company. According to Independent Power Systems, an off-grid system may also be a good option for outlying buildings that are part of large properties where the main compound is grid-tied. 

Those who an off-grid solar power option may work best for include:

  • Property owners with a location far out from towns or cities
  • The environmentally conscious 
  • Those who want more independence from their power company
  • Anyone who wants cleaner energy with less dependence on the grid

Although off-grid living is a great option, there are alternative, more cost-effective options such as grid-tied and hybrid solar systems that will fit your needs at a more affordable price range.  

How Much Does an Off-Grid Solar Power System Cost?

When determining how much your off-grid solar power system will cost, there are a few factors to consider. Knowing how much energy your property uses on average while it is on-grid, as well as how much the equipment and setup will cost, will give you a good estimate of your upfront cost.

Additionally, understanding how much maintenance and upkeep your solar power system will require will prepare you for future responsibilities down the line. It will also allow you to make accurate comparisons to your current energy expenses so you can know how worthwhile the switch will be. 

Setup Costs of An Off-Grid Solar Power System

How much the solar system will cost largely depends on how much energy your property uses to function and how much sunlight your property will receive based on its climate. 

kW and kWh are used to calculate how much power and energy your appliances and home uses. A kilowatt or kW is 1000 watts and is a measure of how much energy needs to be consumed by an object at one time. A kilowatt-hour kWh is a measure of how much energy is used over a period of time.

On average, a typical home in a sunny climate will need 5-7 kW of power to go off-grid. A system for this home will cost $40,000 – $45,000. Nearly any sized home in a moderately sunny climate can go off-grid with a 10kW system that will cost $70,000 – $80,000. The larger the system, the lower investment that is needed in a backup system. 

Here are some estimates for off-grid system costs, based upon climate and backup system: 

kilowatts 5-7 kW10 kW20 kW
Climate SunnyModerately sunnyNo sunlight
Backup DefinitelySuggestedNot needed
Cost in dollars40,000 – 45,00070,000 – 80,000 100,000 – 120,000

As you can see, the initial investment varies depending on kW and affects what size backup you may need to purchase. 

Estimating the Cost of Your Off-Grid Solar Powered System

For a more in-depth estimate on how much energy your home uses and would need to go off-grid, take a look at your energy bill. Your bill provides you with an accurate representation of your energy usage in your exact climate and with a property of your size.

How to Know What Size System Your Home Needs

The kWH number provided by your power company tells you how much energy your property consumed that month. If you divide the kWh number by the number of days in your billing cycle, you will know on average how many kW your property uses per day, and this number is used to estimate the cost of your system. 

Alternatively, using a site like solar quotes will give you an estimate of what you might spend on solar providers for your off-grid system. By answering questions about your property or future property’s location, its climate, how much sunlight it gets, and your household appliance needs, you will get a system and installation quote from various providers.

Maintenance Cost of An Off-Grid Solar Power System

According to  Paradise solar energy, The maintenance and upkeep needed for an off-grid solar system are very low. In most cases, your supplier, installer, and maintenance team will be the same company. As it’s important to have your system serviced only by professionals, finding a professional supplier that you trust is imperative when trying to keep costs down. 

Although maintenance costs vary widely, panels, inverters, batteries, and racking are all included in manufacturer warranties. As systems are built and meant to last long term, suppliers are expected to maintain and provide long-lasting materials.

As stated by solar reviews, some things to consider when choosing a solar provider are taking a look at online reviews, references from property owners who have had similar project sizes to yours, certifications, financing options, and warranty information. 

A cost not often covered with a warranty or by your solar provider is panel cleaning. While panel cleaning is rarely necessary, according to thumbtack, it will cost between 140 and 180 dollars. With a 30+ year life span and proper consideration of different solar system installers, your most common maintenance fees will be covered by your solar panel supplier. 

Considerations for Your Off-Grid Power System

Overall, an off-grid solar system is not right for every property owner. It offers a sustainable energy source, complete independence from a power company, and long-term savings on utility costs. But there are also cons, things you will want to consider before switching. 

Things like: 

  • An inability to rely on the grid for backup in extreme weather conditions 
  • The high initial cost of the systems needed materials 
  • The fact that you will have to monitor your energy usage more closely than most are used to

Whether you are considering the switch to gain independence by letting go of your power company or you want to incorporate more sustainability into your lifestyle, an off-grid solar power system is a great choice. But, before making the switch and committing to a power source, you will have to monitor more closely; you will need a good understanding of how the solar power system will work. 

Practices like observing your property’s current energy consumption, the location of your property or desired property, and how big of an investment you will be taking on will ultimately help you better determine if an off-grid Solar power system is best suited for you and your energy needs.



Max Peters

Hi! I'm Max and I am passionate about off-grid solar technology and adventure! I'm using my knowledge of solar generators, solar panels, and everything in between to provide you with the best tools to keep you powered while off the grid. Read more about me here: About Max Peters."

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