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1

Energy Storage Done Right

One of the biggest hurdles for Off-Gridders is accurately sizing their system. Here’s a primer to help you size and pick the correct energy storage solution.

1.1 Watch: Which Battery Type is Right for Your Application?

1.2 Watch: How-To Accurately Size Your Off-Grid Solar System

1.4 Quiz: Energy Storage

1. What are the pros of Lithium Ion Phosphate energy storage?

2. When is a Flooded Lead-Acid battery a great option for energy storage?

3. Why can’t Tesla’s Power Wall be used in Off-Grid applications?

4. When does a battery like the Fullriver (Sealed AGM) make the most sense to use?

2

How-To Choose the Best Solar Panels for Your Off-Grid System

Picking your solar panels can be exciting but also daunting. If you don’t know the difference between panel types and placement angles, you could be impacting your solar array’s effectiveness (and not in a good way). This section tackles these questions and more to ensure you get the most out of your solar array investment.

2.1 Watch: Best Solar Panels & Their Pros and Cons

Key Take Aways

  • Most solar panels have a 20-30 year warranty guarantee
  • 72-cell panels take up more space than 60-cell panels, but the cell efficiency is the same, which means the cost-per-watt is comparable for both options.
  • SunPower offers a flexible solar panel solution that works best with RV’s and boats.

2.3 Quiz: Solar Panels

1. What are the key factor(s) that determine how many panels you’ll need in your system?

2. What’s the MOST useful way of determining the value of a solar panel?

3. Why would you likely use a 60 cell panel vs a 72 cell panel?

4. What’s the difference between Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline solar panels?

3

Understanding The Power Center

Pre-assembled power centers bundle all the necessary components you need into one single easy-to-install unit. DIYers also find them convenient because they’re easily accessible with labeled connection points.

Simply put, Power Centers make going Off-Grid easier.

3.1 Power Center Components

Intro
Inverter
Charge Controller
Remote Control & Network Hub
Circuit Breakers
Battery Monitor
Surge Protector
Automatic Generator Start Accessory
Recap

3.2 Installation & Programming

Setting Up Your Power Center
Generator Auto Start

3.4 Quiz: Power Centers

1. What makes the Power Center so valuable to overall Off-Grid application?

2. Why do circuit breakers need to be added to a Power Center?

3. Which one of the following is NOT true about a battery monitor?

4. Auto Start Generator modules are used because?

4

What’s the best mounting hardware and how do you install it?

In this section, we’ll discuss the different mounting applications and the hardware we recommend for DIYers.

4.1 Watch: Roof vs Ground Mount Mounting Options?

Key Take Aways

  • Roof mounts cost less upfront than ground mounts
  • Ground mounts are easier to access for cleaning and maintenance
  • Solar trackers are not ideal for residential applications

4.3 Racking Installation

Roof Mount
IronRidge FlashFoot2 Installation
IronRidge Ballasted Roof Mount
IronRidge Tilt Roof Mount
IronRidge Ground Mount Intro
IronRidge Ground Mount Advanced

4.4 Quiz: Solar Mounting Hardware

1. What can be the benefits of a ground mount racking system?

2. When installing your mounting hardware, you will likely choose a location that allows you to mount your panels to face what direction?

3. Why would you likely use pole mounts?

4. What piece of solar mounting hardware ensures water doesn’t leak into your roof?

5

Making the Permitting Process Easier

Permitting can become a snag, even for Off-Grid Solar applications. Let our guide be your cheat sheet to the permitting process, so you can avoid unforeseen delays and start benefiting from solar faster.

5.1 Read Permitting Guide & Additional Content:

5.2 Quiz: Solar Permitting

1. What document do you need to get approved with your utility company?

2. Besides your utility company, you’ll need to speak to your Authority Having Jurisdiction or AHJ. Where might you find this office in your town/city?

3. Some AHJs may require a ________ sign-off to ensure that your roof is safe for PV installation.

4. To ensure you’re working with the right AHJ documents you’ll want to clarify if your address falls under one of the two following jurisdictions?

6

Our DIY Solar Heroes Show & Tell

Our customer’s love breaking down how they Power Their Own Way with DIY Solar. Check out these customer projects for ideas, inspiration, and motivation.

Will you be the next Install of the Month?

6.1 Customer Showcase Videos

Ryder’s Installation Walk-Through
Michael’s Timelapse
Another Timelapse
Stacy’s Off-Grid Barn in Washington
Our June install of the month comes from Stacy M. He built a beastly off-grid system with 24 panels and 16 batteries to power his barn in Washington.
"Solar After the Storm" with Cyril Richardson
Come face-to-face with the wind and the rain as it blows at you with twice the speed of a car on the freeway? It’s one of the most powerful, terrifying experiences on Earth—and Cyril Richardson and his family went through it twice.
Solar in a Freezing Cold Climate
Editor’s note: Dave and his wife Sher worked with Unbound Solar to build their 6 kW solar system back in 2014. Five years later, he contacted us to share his reflections on going solar in a freezing cold climate.

Your Success is Our #1 Priority

Are you ready to start the conversation on how you can Save Thousands when you Power Your Own Way with Do-It-Yourself-Solar?

For the past 20 years Unbound Solar’s mission has been to build confidence and guide DIY enthusiasts like you through the most affordable and satisfying solar buying experience in the industry. Here’s what you can expect:

Solar Tech Assignment, Energy Evaluation, Site Considerations, System Customization, System Design Checks, Permitting Guidance, Free Lifetime Post-Sale Support