9 Steps to Build a DIY Off-Grid Solar PV System

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Day by day the price of solar panels falls gradually. But still, installation of a complete off grid solar system is costly. That’s why I decided to write this guide on how to get all the components of your solar system separately and assemble it all by yourself.

If you have decided to install a solar panel system to cover your home power needs, then this tutorial is for you.

I have tried my best to guide you step by step, from buying different components to wiring everything by yourself.

You have to know some basic electrical and math for designing the entire system. I have also attached links of my other instructions to make the charge controller and energy meter.

For an off grid solar system you need four basic components

  1. Solar Panel (PV Panel)
  2. Charge Controller
  3. Inverter
  4. Battery

Here’s how all the pieces fit together:

Solar System Overview

Besides the above components you need a few more things like Copper Wire, MC4 Connector, breaker, meter and fuses, etc.

In the next few steps I will explain in details how you can choose the above components according to your requirement.

Note: In the pictures I have shown a big solar panel of 255W @ 24V, two batteries of 12V @ 100Ah each, 30A @ 12/24V PWM solar charge controller and a 1600 VA pure sine wave inverter. But during the calculation I have taken a smaller solar system example for better understanding.

Step 1: Calculate Your Load

Before choosing the components you have to calculate your power load, how much time it will run, etc. It is very simple to calculate if you know basic math.

  1. Decide what appliances (light,fan,tv etc ) you want to run and how much time (hours).
  2. See the specification chart in your appliances for power rating.
  3. Calculate the Watt Hour which is equal to the product of the power rating of your appliances and run time (hours).Load Calculation Example:Lets you want to run a 11W compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) for 5 hours from a solar panel, then the watt hour is equal to:Watt Hour = 11W x 5 hr = 55
  4. Calculate the total Watt Hour: Just as with the CFL we’ll now calculate the watt hour for all the appliances and add them together.Example:CFL = 11W x 5 hr = 55Fan = 50 W x 3hr = 150TV = 80W x 2hr = 160
    Total Watt Hours = 55+150+160 = 365

Now the load calculation is over, next thing is to choose the right components to match your load requirement.

If you are not interested in doing the above maths then use a load calculator for this calculation. There are many such load calculators available in the internet, for example this Off Grid Load Calculator.

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