What Components do I Need for an Off-Grid Solar Electric System?

Here's a basic overview of the components needed for a stand-alone system and links to additional library.

There are many components that make up a complete solar system, but the 4 main items in a stand-alone system are:

The solar panels are physically mounted on a mount structure and the DC power they produce is wired through a charge controller before it goes on to the battery bank where it is stored.

For more detailed information on solar modules, see our article Components for your Solar Panel (Photovoltaic) System and look at our selection of solar panels.

The two main functions of a charge controller are to prevent the battery from being overcharged and to eliminate any reverse current flow from the batteries back to the solar modules at night. See our article Components for your Solar Panel (Photovoltaic) System for more detailed information on charge controller functions and features. 

The battery bank stores the energy produced by the solar array during the day for use at anytime of the day or night. Batteries come in many sizes and grades. The inverter takes the DC energy stored in the battery bank and inverts it to 120 or 240 VAC to run your AC appliances.

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