The Best Off Grid Solar System for Home and Camping
The off-grid solar system is perfect for anyone that wants to harness their energy completely from the sun. A good off-grid solar system will have all the equipment you need to generate, supply, and store solar energy. They will also operate without an external power source and can therefore operate all by themselves.
When the sun isn’t available, you will need to use a battery to keep the off-grid system running. Batteries can be costly so off-grid solar systems can sometimes be more expensive than a simple generator or other solar power systems.
When looking for an off-grid solar system, some will come with the full kit while others you may need to buy a few things separately. No matter what, you will need the solar panels, the solar charge controller, the solar inverters, the solar battery, the mounting and racking system, quality wiring, and junction boxes.
The best part about off-grid solar power is the way it can be combined with more panels or separated depending on what you want to use it for. This allows you to be extremely flexible and have a wide variety of uses. Off-grid solar systems need to be highly durable and be able to work in direct sunlight as well as in cloudy areas.
Most people use off-grid solar for electricity in small cabins, powering appliances in an RV, powering small-energy efficient homes, and providing charge to phones or tablets. The size and energy of your off-grid solar system will determine how much charge is available to you.
We will discuss the best sizes of off-grid solar systems and the typical pricing for them in the buyer’s guide section at the end of this article.
When deciding on a proper size though, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The peak load and daily average energy consumption are measured in kWh and are very important. The peak load is the maximum power drawn from appliances. Average continuous load is also important and measured in kW.
Solar exposure can be determined by location, climate, orientation, and shading. Off-grid systems can also be used for backup power options such as in poor weather or electrical shutdowns.
- Best Off-Grid Solar Systems at a Glance
- 1. Renogy 100-Watt 12-Volt Off-Grid Solar Premium Kit – Best Off-Grid Solar System
- 2. ECO-WORTHY 200-Watt Complete Solar Panel Kit – Best for Easy Installation
- 3. WindyNation 400-Watt Solar Kit – Best Warranty Policy
- 4. ECO LLC 900W 24V Complete Off-Grid Solar System – Best for All Weather Conditions
- 5. ECO-WORTHY 1000-Watt 1KW 24-Volt Solar Panel – Best Complete Kit
- 6. Selectronic SP Pro – Best for Home Use
- 7. Sol-Ark 12K – Best Maximum Output
- 8. Victron MultiPlus – Best Battery Charger
- FAQ Section
- Best Selling Off-Grid Solar Systems
Best Off-Grid Solar Systems at a Glance
- Best Off-Grid Solar System – Renogy 100-Watt 12-Volt Off-Grid Solar Premium Kit
- Best for Easy Installation – ECO-WORTHY 200-Watt Complete Solar Panel Kit
- Best Warranty Policy – WindyNation 400-Watt Solar Kit
- Best for All Weather Conditions – ECO LLC 900W 24V Complete Off-Grid Solar System
- Best Complete Kit – Eco-Worthy 1000-Watt 1KW 24-Volt Solar Panel
- Best for Home Use – Seletronic SP Pro
- Best Maximum Output – Sol-Ark 12K
- Best Battery Charger – Victron Multiplus
Below, we have reviewed the best choices for off-grid solar systems. Make sure to check the pros and cons before choosing an off-grid system to fit all your needs.
1. Renogy 100-Watt 12-Volt Off-Grid Solar Premium Kit – Best Off-Grid Solar System
- Mono-crystalline panels come with high-efficiency cells. Cell efficiency: regular Mono-crystalline: 21%. bypass diodes minimize power drop caused by shade and ensure excellent performance in low-light...
- Extra thick anti-reflective, high transparency, low iron-tempered glass with enhanced stiffness and impact resistance El tested solar modules; no hot-spot heating Corrosion-Resistant aluminum frame...
- Tpt back sheet ensures smooth performance over a long period of time IP65 rated junction box provides complete protection against environmental Particles and low pressure water jets
This off-grid solar system has monocrystalline panels which are known to be the most efficient and easiest to use. Monocrystalline panels are also the most durable and have the most modern design. This full kit comes with a four-stage battery charging process and a junction box that will protect you from surges and other electrical problems.
It also comes with a rover charger controller that allows for high conversion efficiency. The controller combined with the highest efficiency per area monocrystalline panels allows for maximum conversion efficiency. This means these panels are great for shaded areas or environments that don’t receive too much sunlight.
The kit comes with Bluetooth capabilities which are great for monitoring performance. The kit also allows you to get about 22–24 amps out of the system. The components fit very well together and are easier to set up.
The back panel has pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel which allows you to mount it quickly and securely. The fuses are also completely waterproof.
- Monocrystalline panels = efficiency and durability
- Comes with Bluetooth capabilities for better syncing functions
- The battery charging process is fast and efficient
- The installation instructions are hard to understand
- The customer service can be hard to reach
2. ECO-WORTHY 200-Watt Complete Solar Panel Kit – Best for Easy Installation
- 2pcs 100 Watt Solar Panel will provide on average 0.8KWH per day under 4 hours full sunshine.
- 20A LCD Dislpay PWM Solar Charge Controller has LCD Screen shows system charging state, DC Load state, battery voltage, battery capacity and temperature
- Plug & play designed PV solar connector in the cables for quick installation and pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel allow for fast mounting it on the roof or bracket
If you are worried about installing the off-grid solar system or have never installed solar panels before, this model by ECO-WORTHY would be a solid first choice. The panel comes with pre-drilled holes on the back so that mounting is much easier.
It is also “plug and play” designed, so it is made to simply plug in and get going rather than having a complicated installation process. The entire kit is made with aluminum that is corrosion-resistant and made for all weather conditions. It can also withstand high wind and snow conditions. The kit is highly durable because it is also waterproof and made of monocrystalline panel cells.
With the purchase of the kit, you get a 1000W inverter, a charge controller, two panels, and a pair of 16.4 feet cables. The charge controller has an LCD screen where you can view all the kit’s settings such as the current charging state, battery voltage, temperature, and capacity. You can also change them easily with the controller.
Each piece of the 100-watt solar panel will provide an average of 0.8 kWh with just four hours of sunlight. In shaded areas, it will require a higher charging time.
- Easy installation, which is great for beginners
- Weather-resistant and corrosion-resistant
- The charge controller has an LCD screen
- Customer service is hard to reach
- The terminals are small compared to the wiring
3. WindyNation 400-Watt Solar Kit – Best Warranty Policy
- Complete kit includes: (4pcs) 100 Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel, 30-amp P30L Solar Charge Controller (w/ LCD Display and user adjustable settings), 40 feet of UL Listed 12 AWG Solar Cable, Solar...
- Designed for RVs, cabins, homes, boats, back-up and remote power use
- PWM Solar Charge Controller has user adjustable settings! LCD Screen shows system amperage, voltage, amp-hours, temperature and DC load draw. See Image in photo gallery for all LCD Screen readouts.
When choosing an off-grid system, the warranty policy is important. You want to make sure that the system you buy has a good warranty policy that will cover defects and other issues that could arise. While most off-grid solar systems have some sort of warranty policy, WindyNation has one of the best ones.
The solar panels are warranted for 5 years. It also comes with a 25-year power output warranty and a 1-year warranty on all other parts that are included with the purchase. Any accessories and additional parts are not warranted.
The charge controller comes with an LCD screen, and the panels offer up to 150 amp-hours of charge per day when in direct sunlight. The LCD screen shows the temperature, the DC load draw, the system amperage, and the voltage. It is best designed for RVs, cabins, homes, boats, and backup and remote power use.
It comes with all the parts you need and has durable polycrystalline solar panels. All the mounting hardware is also included, so you can get the installation started as soon as you buy it.
- Easy to install
- Great warranty policy
- Simple design and a visible LCD screen
- More expensive than other options
- Returns are hard, almost impossible
4. ECO LLC 900W 24V Complete Off-Grid Solar System – Best for All Weather Conditions
If you live in a rainy or snowy environment, this solar system kit would be a good choice. It is meant to withstand all weather conditions which makes it the best choice for extreme outdoor use. This could be for your home, camping, or RV use.
The aluminum is completely corrosion-resistant. The frame is also lightweight which makes it more portable than other options. The glass is also antireflection and reinforced for extra safety features.
The general electricity output is about 2.5 kWh per day, and the kit comes with just about everything you need. It comes with a 1-year product warranty to cover manufacturing defects. One issue is that the kit doesn’t come with enough wiring, and it is hard to wire them parallel together.
The kit also doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so you may have some difficulty getting it up and running. This isn’t ideal for beginners or for those who have never used solar panels before.
- Fully weather-resistant panels
- Lightweight and compact frame
- Produces high energy at about 2.5 kWh per day
- Hard to install and set up
- Extra wiring will have to be purchased
5. ECO-WORTHY 1000-Watt 1KW 24-Volt Solar Panel – Best Complete Kit
- 4kwh daily output depends on the sunlight availability, supply for the off grid life,power for fridge and small A/C,etc.
- Combiner box offers safety protection, with 10A fuse for each string, anti-backflow diodes and lighting protection.
- For charging battery and a backup power, suitable for off grid shop,isolated cabin,garage,shed and remote agriculture,etc.
This panel best works in direct sunlight, so it might not be suitable for cloudy or shady weather. In direct sunlight, it can produce at least 4 kWh per day which is quite a bit more than many other kits. The kit comes with a 1-year warranty, and the customer service is amazing. They are also available 24/7.
The combiner box that comes with the purchase offers protection against surges. It also comes with an extra charging battery and backup power. While the kit is ready to use as soon as you get it, some people have found that it works better with extra line fuses and wires.
On cloudy days, you can get a 2–3 A charge, and on sunny days, you can get a 7–9 A charge. This complete kit comes with everything you need for off-grid travel. It is perfect for camping or cabin rentals in isolated areas.
The kit also comes with support charging for a 24V lead-acid, gel, and Li-ion battery. It also has anti-backflow diodes and lighting protection.
- Comes with a combiner box
- Easy setup
- Can produce up to 4 kWh in direct sunlight
- Takes a long time to fully charge
- More expensive than other options
6. Selectronic SP Pro – Best for Home Use
This is a great choice if you are looking for a medium-sized unit that can power the majority of your home. It is also a great selection if you need something that is for a large RV or an RV that has air conditioning.
It has an off-grid option and a solar hybrid option if you decide not to go completely off the grid. It has an integrated generator controller which helps to maximize system efficiency. The better of it can be single, dual, or three phases which gives you more flexibility.
The AC continuous load power is 3 kW to 60 kW. The product also includes a 10-year warranty, and they are known for their excellent customer service and after-sales support.
An efficiency is also a good option for commercial applications if you are looking to power something for your business.
- The output size makes it great for domestic and commercial uses
- Warranty and customer service are high quality
- Inverter charger has many features and is easy to use
- Difficult to install
- It’s more expensive than other options
7. Sol-Ark 12K – Best Maximum Output
This powerful inverter is a great option if you are looking to provide your entire home with power. It is capable of producing 12 kW, and the peak power is 20 kW. The max PV input is 16.5 kW. This is significantly higher than many other systems.
It can support 8000 watts of continuous power for off-grid production and even more if it is on the grid. Less direct sunlight is needed because this system has a 96% efficiency rating for PV to AC.
It has a three-phase power battery and comes with a 10-year warranty. It is also very user-friendly because it has front access points for the AC and battery breakers.
- High amount of power
- Doesn’t need direct sunlight to give you the power you need
- User-friendly and easy to access all the controls you need
- Difficult to install
8. Victron MultiPlus – Best Battery Charger
- The Victron Energy Multiplus is a powerful compact 12-Volt 3000VA 120 amp 120V true sine wave inverter and a sophisticated battery charger with adaptive charge technology
- With the unique Power Assist feature the MultiPlus will prevent overload of a limited AC source, such as a generator or shore power connection
- In the event of a grid failure, or when shore or generator power is disconnected, the inverter is activated fast, within 20ms, and takes over the supply to the connected loads
This is a 12-volt pure sine wave inverter with 120 amps. It is an excellent battery charger and has adaptive charge technology. It has a built-in power assist feature that will prevent the overload of a limited AC source.
The inverter has very fast activation and can take over the supply to connected loads within 20 ms. This is especially important if you decide to stay connected to the grid and there is a failure with the system.
It also has the options for three-phase or split-phase operations which give you more flexibility and versatility. It can operate up to six multiplus units in parallel to basically give you unlimited power.
Installation can be tricky, and most people choose to hire a professional for this unit. Electrical codes need to be followed closely to make sure that all installation is done correctly.
The system is very lightweight, so it can be portable or moved around if needed.
- Enough power to supply power to several appliances
- The inverter works quickly and efficiently
- Power is virtually unlimited and can operate six multiplus units
- Very hard to install and needs electrical wiring help
- The system is expensive because of its high quality
How Can You Size an Off-Grid Solar System?
Choosing the correct size for your solar system can be crucial for ensuring you have all the power that you need, especially in emergency scenarios. An off-grid system sizing calculator can help you complete a load evaluation to successfully determine how much power you will need.
There are a few steps to take, and they are pretty easy to perform.
Calculate Your Electricity Needs
Make a list of all the appliances you will need and how many hours, on average, you will be using them for. You can then figure out the power consumption of each appliance and then add them all together to see how much power consumption you need daily.
Make sure to convert everything into kWh as this is how solar panels measure power output.
Figure Out the Instantaneous Load Requirements
This refers to how many appliances you will be running at the same time. This will be your instantaneous wattage requirement. This number is crucial when referring to the size of the inverter you will need.
The inverter will run on AC loads which is the type of electricity that it converts to run effectively.
Choose a Battery Storage Capacity
This will determine if you have the extra backup capacity or if you only want enough power to run your appliances from day to day. Most people who choose to have a solar battery backup will get enough storage to cover at least 2–3 days of usage at the time of the year when you use it the most.
Use the Steps to Design a System
Now that you have determined the appliances that need power, you will be able to determine the type of kit you need. You will also need to take into account the type of solar panels, the inverter, and the battery storage.
How Much Does an Off-Grid Solar System Cost?
The price for an off-grid solar system varies widely depending on the kind you get and how much power you want it to be able to use. Small systems that are just for a phone or small appliance can be as little as $50.
However, if you are looking to power an entire home, you will need to have quite a bit of money saved up. Small homes or cabins may need a system that will cost between $12,000 and $20,000.
Large homes can be between $20,000 and $50,000. A mid-sized home will usually fall somewhere around $35,000. An RV or S system for camping is usually around $2,000 if you plan to power all the appliances in your RV. It could be slightly more if you plan to get a system that can power an air conditioning unit.
These prices include just the equipment. If you are not comfortable installing it by yourself, you will also need to factor in the cost of labor from a solar installation company. If you are doing it yourself, you may also need to buy tools and drills.
Some counties and states also make you pay a permit fee.
What Are the Disadvantages/Advantages of Off-Grid Solar Systems?
There are several advantages to off-grid solar systems that regular electricity just does not provide. Every year, hundreds of Americans choose to switch to off-grid electricity because of the freedom and environmental impact that it provides.
Encourages a Better Lifestyle
With a busy lifestyle between work and family, it is easy to become disconnected from the energy and electricity that we use to power our homes. We often will just pay the bills without thinking concretely if there is a way we can do better.
Having a solar system will naturally make you more aware of how much power you are consuming and where it is coming from. It will also get you more in touch with your consumer lifestyle and all the disposable things you may use in your life.
The off-grid solar system will also make you reevaluate your lifestyle and make you more conscious of the world around you.
Sometimes It Is the Only Option
If you are looking to live more remotely or want to be in a quiet area, sometimes, the power supply to these areas is limited. To have electricity from a major company, you will need to be in the coverage area of the utility company, which is not always possible.
Being out of a coverage area means producing your own electricity. Sometimes, solar is not the only option though. Backup generators are always available but can be expensive if you plan to use them all the time or for multiple appliances. Hydropower and wind power are also viable options for some environments.
Solar power, though, is often the most practical and can be used anywhere.
One of the reasons people choose to live off solar power is because of the total freedom it gives. It means you don’t have to be dependent on the power company for all your needs. This is especially important if you plan to live in an environment that has frequent power outages or extreme weather where you could lose power often.
Some cities and states also have much worse power supplies than others, so going with a solar power system can ensure that you always have power even when the power company is delayed.
Better for the Environment
One of the most popular reasons why people are switching to solar panels is because of their eco-friendly quality. Going with natural power will reduce carbon emissions and your carbon footprint.
You also don’t have to worry about contributing to fossil fuels and their harmful effects on the environment.
With advantages come some disadvantages. There are reasons why most people continue to rely on power companies, and the reasons are pretty hard to get around.
Going Off-Grid Is Expensive
Although you will never have an electric bill again, the upfront costs of switching to off-grid solar power are expensive. You will need to have a sum saved up to get a high-quality system that is strong enough to power all your appliances and other needs.
Systems for RVs or smaller homes might be cheaper but will still need a durable system that you can rely on. Off-grid systems also need a few things that on-grid systems don’t need such as more panels, a high-voltage capacity inverter, and a large amount of solar battery storage.
There is also no grid to fall back on, so you will need a backup generator which can be quite costly. Generators can’t be relied on for too long, so any problems with your system will need to be fixed promptly which can also drain your bank account.
Potentially Illegal Depending on Your Area
Some countries in certain states have made off-grid power illegal. If you are dead set on living off the grid, you might have to move counties. Off-grid power is illegal in many large cities and other busy areas of the country.
Most people who choose off-grid solar systems choose to live in rural areas where these restrictions do not apply. Always check with your county and state before choosing to go off-grid. Fines and legal fees can be very costly if you break the rules.
Time-Consuming to Set Up
Choosing the right system and figuring out how much power you use can be a trial-and-error process. You will probably spend many months getting a correct gauge which can be time-consuming and require patience.
You will also need to spend devoted time to figure out your usage patterns, the amount of power you will need, and how many panels it will take to generate that amount of power. This could also change depending on how your family changes. If you get married or have children, the power usage will change and need to be adjusted accordingly.
You will also need to take time to learn how to fix parts and any faults. Hiring someone or spending days fixing something can mean going without power until the problem is solved. Your power generation may also be unpredictable and will need to be monitored constantly.
Learning how to do this without stress can take some time.
Major Lifestyle Changes
One of the largest factors you should consider before converting to an off-grid system is how it will affect your life. If you are on a budget, you will probably have to start with a small system that could not power your entire home.
This means you might not have power all the time. During certain seasons when there is more cloud coverage, you could also risk not having enough direct sunlight to give you all the energy you need. This means you are stuck waiting for the sun to come back out, or you will need to buy a generator.
The restrictions will affect how you live and work. This change will also be even harder if you have children because they will need to take some time to get used to it. Conserving energy also means conserving water and air conditioning. You will probably have to take short showers and not flush the toilet every time you use it.
If you live in a hot environment, you need to consider if you could live without air conditioning all the time.
Overall, though, having an off-grid system has many advantages and gives you a healthy relationship with energy and power consumption.