How Solar Energy Works In An Off-grid System.

Do you live or play in a remote area that is not served by an electrical utility? Are you tired of using the generator to produce power for your residence or vacation cabin, or even worse going without some of the basic modern conveniences because you have no power system? Then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss how solar energy works in an off-grid system, and why Fire Mountain Solar is your best choice for design, production selection, installation and technical support for off grid power.

Whether you’re connected to the grid or not, you can still use solar power. But while a utility served home can by with just solar panels, an inverter and racking, an off-grid power system needs energy storage (deep cycle batteries), a charge controller, and usually a backup generator to make sure you have power at night and when there is not much sun. These makes an off-grid solar system more complex to design and installation, and it requires more maintenance than a grid-tie solar system.

At Fire Mountain Solar, we are industry-leading experts in off grid solar and other battery-based power systems.  Our experienced team of experts will design you an off-grid solar system that will generate and store all the power you need any time of the year.

For an off-grid solar system to be functional, you will need:

Solar panels

The first thing that comes to people’s mind when we talk about solar energy is solar panels. Solar power panels are made of several solar cells or silicon cells. These cells are the building blocks of the solar panels and they absorb energy from the sun. Solar panels do not need sun just sufficient light to work, but they do produce the most power in direct sun. That is why it is important that you position your solar array in the right direction to get the as much light as possible. Anything north facing = never. Direct south = best. Southwest and southeast = work based on your specific location.

Solar inverter

After the solar panel absorbs sunlight, the solar energy is then converted into electricity. This electricity is in the form of direct current (DC), which then flows into an inverter. The job of the solar power inverter is to convert the DC to AC electrical power which you can utilize at home.

Electrical Panel

When the electricity has been converted from DC to AC, it is then sent to the electrical panel where it is channeled to the different circuits and appliances in your home that needs electricity.

Solar power battery bank

If there is any excess electricity generated by the off-grid solar system, it is sent to a energy an storage system through a charge controller. In this case, it is the solar power battery bank. The moment the battery bank becomes full, it will stop receiving power from the system.

At certain times of the year, and at night, your solar system may not produce enough power for your loads. During this time your home appliances will be powered by the solar power battery bank. It is important that you get quality off-grid batteries with a sufficient storage capacity to sustain you when there is no solar energy being generated, to minimize the amount of time you have to run a generator to supply your loads.

What is the importance of a charge controller in a solar power system?

The solar charge controller is very important in an off grid system because it works to protect your battery by controlling the charging of your batteries from your solar.  This protects both you and your your batteries from the danger of overcharging and possible explosion.

For all but the very smallest of off-grid systems we recommend you purchase a high-quality Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) solar charge controller, OutBack FM60 or FM80, or the MidNite Solar Classic series. A quality device like an MPPT solar charge controller your solar panels will function at their optimum power output voltage, enhancing giving you as much as 30% more power from your array, and your quality off-grid batteries will last longer.

Another advantage of the charge controller is that it protects the battery from discharging more than it is built for and prevents any current from flowing back to the solar at night.


Off grid solar is an excellent solution for many with remote power needs. Get the expert, reliable advice and quality products and service from the off grid experts at Fire Mountain Solar. With over 18 years of experience with off grid power systems, you can be confident we will deliver the best custom solution for your project. Request a quote today!

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