How to Solar Power Your Home / House #1 – On Grid vs Off Grid

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In this video I go through the components that are part of a solar power solution. I explain the differences between On-grid vs. off grid.
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Thanks to Exsolar for the work on the solar installation –

Other equipment used or mentioned in this video:

* Solar panels: Tenesol Total Energy – TE250-60M+ – 250 watt monocrystalline
* Outback FlexMax 60 MPPT solar charger
* The solar array will be 2250 watts (9x 250 watt mono crystalline panels)
* The battery bank will be 8 x 150 Ah lead crystal batteries.
* A Victron Energy Quattro inverter
* A Victron Energy Grid tie inverter
* A Victron Energy battery monitor
* DC to DC converter
* Micro inverters
* Eskom power and cost of energy
* Reduce energy bill / costs
* Eskom solar pre-paid electricity / energy meter
* Renewable energy

In this series on how to Solar Power Your Home:

* What is “the Grid” – On Grid vs. Off Grid?
* What is the best type of solar panel to install?
* Do I need a battery bank….what battery technology should I use?
* A look at the different type of inverters?
* How much solar power do I need – sizing the array?
* Measuring your energy consumption with energy meters.
* How to make your home more efficient – CFL, LED lighting, solar geyser,
heat pumps…and more..
* Is solar power / energy financially viable in South Africa? How long does it take to pay off?
* Does power factor play a role in solar generated power.
* Solar Power for your Home – “Free Electricity”?
* Can I run my house entirely from solar power?
* How to Solar Power a Home
* How to Solar Power a House
* how to solar power my home

Post a comment on anything else you would like to see covered.


  1. Really good summary. I definitely learned several critical points. One recommendation that came to mind is that for any system which incorporates a battery component. the systems engineering approach is to first complete the survey of your electrical usage, as you note. You will also need to calculate what percentage of the time you can meet those electrical needs by utilizing the panels vs. those you will draw from the battery bank. The main point I wanted to note is that for lead-acid batteries, you will need sufficient amp-hours of capacity in your batteries to meet your overnight needs without reducing the energy capacity of the batteries below 50%, as any drawdown below this will lead to earlier failure of the batteries. Once you have your batteries sized, you then know your required solar panel output, as it should be sufficient to fully recharge your batteries from 50 to 100% in four or five hours, which is a typical span of time you will be receiving power from your panels each day. The controller and inverter are then sized accordingly.
    Finally I will note that is fairly straightforward for an off-grid system. I am now designing my own system with a grid tie-in, and clearly that will require significantly more design time. Your vid was a big help in understanding the items I need to learn more about. I will definitely be looking at your subsequent vids. Thanks.

  2. We have a complete solar system on our house.. but in an emergency how could I switch it to off the grind system.. is it the meter that needs to be switched of jumped out?? Anyone that can explain it to be in lammen terms I'd be very thankful

  3. Thanks for your inpout,
    I whant to now if i can power 2 x 5KW inverters direct from the grit with a 240/24V ac to dc and keep in mind no Pannels or Batterys.House normal use 2 Kw but when my wood woking whop start it when up to 7-8 kw with the equipment running.
    Question will i save money throu the inverters or will it be the same as from the grit but pannels and batterys will be aad,

  4. Please help me. My solar system tells me the following During monitoring, your SMA inverter has detected that the insulation resistance of the PV array is too low after any moisture in the air. My system no longer generates any power for days to weeks until it appears to day out. I have has several solar companies try to figure out what is wrong and they cannot. Many are so dumbfounded they test and do not call back. Please help me to understand what is happening and what i can do to measure where the fault is occurring to fix it. Thanks

  5. Make it yourself thanks to Avasva solutions. I think it's the best way to learn how to build it in the cheapest way.

  6. Hi Mjlorton, am busy with a DIY power back up system for my small house & i can use your help… am using government electricity and in most cases there's load Shedding. so i have created a back up system, i want it to automatically switch on when there's load shedding & automatically Switch Off when the main Power Comes back.. what kind of Switch or Relay can i use?

  7. in Europe we don't get payed for our system anymore. eco funds repays investment 2k euros for 10k eur investment, but what we overproduce in just memorized as bonus we can transfer to a friend, relative but cannot get cash out of it. still, there is monthly fee of about 15eur even if you have solar.

  8. I'm going to build a retirement cabin probably 16×16 two story ( w/ later addition 16x something )
    it will be off grid . Iwant a system to mirror ( much as $ possible )
    " normal " life ( have to keep " DREAM KILLER happy LOL .
    cabin will be in mid Tnn U. S. A.
    I need help designing a practical & affordable system !!!

  9. I might use this for a treehouse my dad will make for me but can you talk about how to install solar panels on the ground

  10. Nice explanation…
    The only doubt for ongrid system I have is, if there is Grid failure (in day time) can the solar panel still power my home if I don't have batteries.

  11. I demand the fedz bump up rates for homeowners selling juice back to the utility companies! They deserve prevailing rates for solar electricity god dam it!

  12. These solar people should be featured on My Strange Addiction. 10 years in and they’ll say, “I’ve saved 54 cents a day for the past 10 years! I’m not sorry I did it. In fact I’m thinking about adding some more. It’s not all about the money y’know. I like being energy independent.” Blah blah blah. Yeah well make your own petrol then. You can’t. Know why? Because it costs too much money-Just like solar. Geez what a bunch of loons. Thank you Exxon. Thank you TVA. Thank you Duke Energy. Thank you BP.

  13. So if you are connected to the grid with solar panels then there is no need for a battery right?

  14. Thanks
    I start watching your videos years ago I built my 1st off grid system Thank you, today I have a new grid tie system.

  15. Hi good video thanks. One question I have. If I don't want to get payment for injected power (You can't in UK unless you get a certified company in), can a grid-tie inverter offset the power used in your house? So for example I have a meter on my tails coming in the house, lets say my house is drawing 400W. If I used a grid tie inverter that say pushed in 200W, would I see the draw from the grid drop to 200W, and then I guess any excess over the 400W I would just lose?
    Basically what I'm asking is if you use a grid-tie inverter with NO payment for injected power, is it useless?
    By the way during the day with a PC, fridge, maybe TV few other basics I am using 2-400W.
    Also does it matter where the grid tie inverter physically connects into your house electrics?

  16. Go to Avasva webpage if you'd like to know how to build it. Good solutions for everyone I think

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