Should you go off-grid? The best way to ditch your dependence on the electrical grid.

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How to increase power independence and energy resilience with solar and battery backup

You’ve probably seen movies or read books about people who live “off the grid.” These self-sufficient folks live far away from cities and towns. They grow, hunt and forage their food, sew their clothes, and enjoy limited connections with the outside world. 

But living like a pioneer in this primitive manner isn’t really what living off the grid means. You don’t have to be completely self-sufficient to live off the grid. The grid can refer to all technological connectivity, including the internet, landline telephones, and the cellular network, or, most frequently, the electrical grid — an interconnected network that delivers electricity from producers to consumers. In this context, living off the grid simply means you are supplying your power and are operating independently of an organized electrical grid. 

Reducing grid dependence 

Most people who seek to live a more sustainable, earth-friendly lifestyle don’t live completely off the electrical grid but instead seek ways to reduce their dependence on it. There are many excellent reasons to do this, including lower energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions due to reduced dependence on fossil fuel-generated electricity. The majority of power generated in the United States is still created by fossil fuels. 

Increasing your power independence and resilience requires a balanced approach, including substantially decreasing power consumption and generating your power. Reducing the amount of energy you use can start with very simple measures, such as ensuring your home is properly insulated and switching from incandescent to LED light bulbs, which use far less electricity to produce the same amount (or even more) light. One of the best ways to reduce your dependence on the grid is to go solar. 

Using solar to increase your power independence 

There are two ways to go solar. Grid-tied means your system is connected to the electrical network and therefore cannot function without it. With this type of setup, your solar system does not require any type of battery because it essentially uses the power company as its backup. 

A grid-tied solar panel system generates power for your home and feeds the excess back to the utility company, which then provides you with a credit. Most residential solar panel arrays are grid-tied. This is particularly advantageous in Michigan because of distributed generation laws that allow homeowners to offset most, if not all, of their electrical usage. 

An off-grid solar system operates completely independently from the grid, which means electricity is harnessed by solar panels and stored inside a battery without direct connection to the utility grid.  

Backup batteries for peace of mind

While a battery is a requirement for an off-grid solar system (unless you like sitting in the dark when the sun isn’t shining), a battery backup system isn’t essential for an on-grid system. 

However, a battery backup can give you peace of mind that your life will operate as normally as possible in the event of a power outage. Battery back-ups store energy from your solar panels. If the network power system goes down, your home draws from the power stored in your battery and is recharged from your solar array!. 

With this arrangement, you won’t need to worry about food spoiling in your refrigerator, you can keep sump pumps running, life-saving medical equipment operating, and cell phones charged to ensure you have a reliable means of communication, which is especially crucial in the event of an emergency. 

Michigan Solar Solutions is one of the most experienced renewable energy firms in Michigan. We can work with you to find an on-the-grid or off-the-grid solar system that meets your individual goals. Our process begins with gaining an understanding of your needs, financial considerations, and your home’s physical setup. 

We offer a variety of battery backup systems that range from those capable of powering your home for a single day to those that can power your home for weeks on end if the grid goes down. 

Watch our webinar about how to improve your energy security. 

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MSS Content Team

Written by MSS Content Team

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