If you’ve looked into solar panels Houston options, chances are you’ve heard the term “off-grid” at least once. What does it mean, and is it something you want? The answer may be more complicated than you thought.
What Does It Mean To Go Off the Grid
When movies depict someone going “off the grid,” it usually involves heading to a remote location and living off the land. However, today’s definition is more nuanced.
“The grid” typically refers to the infrastructure that makes modern life convenient:
- Power lines
- Sewage lines
- Water lines
Today, homeowners may opt out of one or two of these lines to become more sustainable or to lower their bills. Everyone has different resources and goals, so every degree of going “off-grid” is valid.
What is the next step if you decide to go off the grid? The two most popular options are disconnecting from the power grid and disconnecting from public utilities.
Not Connected to the Power Grid
The power grid is a massive infrastructure that connects consumers to an electricity provider. Typically, multiple providers utilize the same grid to deliver energy. Grids may even connect across states to minimize service interruptions if demand outweighs supply.
Homeowners can disconnect from these grids if they so choose. However, they’ll need another power source or go without electricity.
Not Dependant on Public Utilities
Public utilities are a broad category, as they cover services provided by municipalities as well as private entities:
- Trash and recycling
- Communication systems
If you live in a city or suburb, the builders connected your home to certain public utilities (such as water, gas and sewage) during construction. Other services (such as waste management and gas) are up to the homeowner to arrange and pay. Understandably, opting out of the latter is easier than the former.
While you can “opt out” of public utilities with infrastructure, it’s usually easier to start in a new home and invest in alternatives. For example, instead of installing indoor plumbing, you can find a location with a reliable well.
How Does Solar Help With Going Off the Grid
The number one benefit of solar panels is generating your own power. Once your Denver solar installer sets up the system and the inspector gives the green light, you can disconnect from other electrical sources and rely entirely on your panels.
Of course, most homeowners choose not to disconnect from the power grid entirely. Electricity use fluctuates, and it’s useful to have an additional power source just in case. For example, you may need more power during the summer when you run the air conditioning. While this arrangement isn’t wholly off-grid, it still offers a degree of independence from energy companies.
In addition to generating energy, homeowners can also store excess in batteries for later use. Keep in mind that batteries don’t keep a charge indefinitely, so you’ll need to keep charging them.
The best solar companies in Florida can help you find the right option for your needs. Whether you intend to go completely off the grid or supplement your current power usage, solar panels are an excellent choice.