Off-grid Cabin or Residential Solar Living, Consider Making Your Panels Smarter

Our phones are ringing non-stop with homeowners who are thinking about off-grid living and how solar can make it happen. I really envy those people who cannot resist the pioneer pull most of us have from time to time. My best friend spends his weekends in an off-grid cabin in an Iowa hedge ball forest. In the most remote and harshest climate, solar stands up to the elements and in some cases may be the only option for supplying power to a home or cabin.

Up until now, only utility-scale solar dual axes solar trackers were economically feasible. A solar tracker has single or dual axes motors with optics that drive the angle of the pole mounted array allowing the panel to always be perpendicular to the sun generating the most electricity possible.

Finally some enterprising solar companies are developing dual axes solar trackers that are affordable on a residential scale. The Argus solar tracker is one such device that controls the solar panel to provide the greatest solar power from morning until sunset via a single or dual axis system. The Argus solar tracker is easy to install, just plug and play with low maintenance costs. This residential solar tracker increases the efficiency of the solar panels by as much as 50% over a fixed solar panel array.

The Argus solar tracker can be powered directly DC electricity from the solar panel or 12V DC battery. There is a micro controller embedded to calculate the maximum power direction for guiding the solar system.

Some number of solar panels wired together is primary part of any solar power system. Solar panels in the northern hemisphere should be facing directly south for the highest power output. Using a residential solar dual axis tracker now makes that easier. Solar cells produce DC electricity which can be used to charge batteries or provide power to any device that uses DC electricity. For off-grid solar, batteries are a must to provide power when the sun goes down.

If you want to provide electricity to Alternating Current (AC) appliances like you typically have around your home, you will need a power inverter. A power inverter can convert DC electricity coming from either the solar panels or batteries in AC electricity.

Living off-grid with solar is neither unique nor stereotypical. I have been working with a gentleman in the Santa Cruz California area who is moving off-grid and wants to consider one of our off-grid solar kits. I was a little surprised when he faxed me his equipment list and it included an air conditioner and plasma TV. Some residents have big TVs, washing machines, freezers, power tools and all the amenities all of which will need to be powered with solar panels and batteries.

If you decide to live off-grid with solar, consider keeping things simple and power demands low. With a 4 solar panel array and dual axis solar tracker, you can meet the power demands of most activities. It is usually best to start with a simple solar system and gradually ‘power up’ as your needs increase.