Solar Power – On Grid or Off Grid

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There are two main users of solar power.  There are those individuals who have solar panels on their home, but remain connected to their town or city’s utility system.  They generate their own power, and typically have much lower electricity bills than those people who don’t generate their own power.  Of course, in times when sunlight is scarce, such as if you go through a week or so of nothing but rain, or during the wintertime, your solar panels can’t generate quite as much electricity, but you have no problems because at this point, you receive power from your utility.  However, on those especially sunny days when your solar panels are creating more electricity than you need, it’s being fed to your utility, who gives you a credit on your bill for the appropriate amount.

However, it’s important to be aware that if your utility loses power for a day or so… so will your home, regardless of whether or not you’ve got solar panels.  This is because if your home continues to generate electricity, it could cause problems – even deadly problems, in other areas.

People who use this type of solar power typically save about 40% off of what used to be their electricity bill. It’s important therefore to consider solar as a long term investment, it will pay for itself over the course of a decade or two.

Conversely, people who have gone off grid don’t need to worry about electricity when everyone else’s power is out.  However, it’s necessary for them to have plenty of storage batteries to supply power on those cloudy days or during those winter months, and of course, at night!

If you’re thinking of building a home that is completely solar powered, there are five cities that would have the best locations – because they’re all on the earth’s equator, which allows the sunlight to hit the solar collectors at a more direct angle.

Those cities are (source, Kanellos):

*- Albuquerque, New Mexico.  310 days of sun on average a year.  Not too shabby.

*- El Paso, Texas.  This city averages 300 days of sunshine in a year, 8.39 inches of annual rainfall and humidity that is 20 to 30 percent less than the national average (and humidity does effect how much sunlight reaches your solar panels.)

*- Phoenix, Arizona.  This city averages 306 days of sun and 8.4 inches of rain in a year.

*- Tucson, Arizona.  Tucson has more than 300 sunny days a year.  That’s good news for solar power lovers.

*- Las Vegas, Nevada.  Las Vegas is one of the U.S.’s sunniest cities, just below the top four.

Related posts:

  1. Solar Power Inverters
  2. Home Solar Panels: The Future has arrived, and it’s green!
  3. Solar Water Heating Systems
  4. Hot Green Technology – Solar Hot Water
  5. Can You Bike Your Way To Power Small Appliances?
  6. Cooking With A Solar Oven


  1. Dottie says:

    We are off grid at a temperate 42 (or thereabouts) degrees of latitude. The key to green energy consumption on OR off grid is conservation. While we have many appliances and run a small business on our system, we choose energy efficient appliances, lighting, and turn everything off when we are not using it.
    It is both an adjunct and teaching tool for living consciously.

    And it’s true, our power never fails.

  2. Alina Here says:

    Great info! I didn’t know some of those details. Any thoughts or articles about wind power for residential areas. Florida allows it, trying to compare wind or solar. Thanks.

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