Other than our backyard solar shed packages (which have descriptions and pricing on the Solar Backyard Shed page) all of our systems are custom designed to fit the needs of each client. That said, systems typically start at $11,000 and can go up from there based on system size, battery bank type, monitoring type (local or local and remote). If you are serious about going off the grid, please fill out our online questionnaire at the bottom of our main page and we can get an estimate started for you.
Factory RV air conditioner units are very inefficient and are thus energy hogs. To run a single traditional RV air conditioner varies between $9,000 up to $17,000 depending on the battery bank type. AGM's are less expensive, but much heavier so they are better on Class A RV's used occasionally where weight is less of a concern. For pull behind campers where weight is a major concern (or for full time living where the batteries will be cycled daily), lithium is the better way to go. See our page on "Solar Batteries" for a breakdown of the different types of batteries and their Pros/Cons.
When going off the grid, remember that you will have a finite amount of power based on the size of your battery bank. Installing a battery bank large enough to run a typical American household can get prohibitively expensive and extend Return on Investment (ROI) out to a ridiculous timeline.
Off-grid living requires a increased awareness, and paring down, of your power consumption and adjustment on timing of power use. Some of the heavy hitters that are inefficient and thus tough to maintain off grid are: electric stoves, dryers, and HVAC systems. These appliances, when run at night (when your sole source of power is the battery bank) pull hard and they pull for a long time. If giving these up is not an option, then we recommend utilizing gas or wood to run these items. Gas/wood will be much more efficient in running stoves and dryers and also for heating water and air. For cooling we recommend a minisplit unit which have Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios (SEER) ranging from 20 to 24.
While we design our systems around Winter Solstice (when the days are shortest and the sun's intensity the weakest) it is always good to have multiple fuel sources and to use them as efficiently as possible. Ex. A gas or diesel generator can be used occasionally to top off batteries as needed during weeks of low solar input or heavier than normal draws on the battery bank. Wind power, hydro power, and geothermal cooling can also be used to supplement or reduce energy need if abundant in your area.
If you are not a good candidate for going off-grid, we will not take you on as a customer. We want happy clients, and installing a system that will not meet client expectations leads to unhappy clients.
That said, battery based, off grid systems makes the most sense on mobile applications where batteries are already a mainstay: RV's, travel trailers, boats, work trailers, Big Rigs, etc.
Full Off-Grid can make sense for stationary structures depending on power needs/expectations: Ex. Backyard Sheds, Remote Homes/Hunting Cabins where running traditional power becomes expensive or unavailable.
Partial Off-Grid (what we call Critical Load Systems) make the most sense for traditional American Homes. This type of system would act as EITHER a backup for when the power goes out OR as a subsystem that will remove select items from your monthly power bill.
In either case above, if/when the power goes out, your most critical appliances will keep running: Lights, Refrigerator/Freezer, Fan, Well Pump, 1-2 dedicated power outlets. These are the appliances everyone wishes they had during a power outage.
Typically, the process is this:
1. Client inquiry (phone call or website questionnaire): we get to know you and your power goals, what appliances you are working with, budget restrictions, and set up a site survey to evaluate equipment placement.
2. Site Survey: Used to confirm above.
3. Proposal: We design a system based on your goals and budget. The proposal includes overall system details, scope of work, estimated tax credits and assistance programs, reference data, and terms and conditions. Proposals may bounce between us and the client a few times until the system design and budget is agreeable to all.
4. Proposal is Accepted: We require a 50% deposit to pull/reserve equipment and to tentatively schedule an installation date. Once all equipment is pulled, checked, and ready to load, we reach out to schedule a firm installation date.
5. Installation Begins.
6. Installation Is Completed: Once an installation is complete we do a training session and walk the client through their new system. At this time, the remaining 50% balance is due.
7. Custom Client Handout: Photos taken of the system are integrated into a Custom Client Handout which is given to our client for operational reference.
8. Warranties: Our 5 year workmanship warranty takes effect upon job completion. We also assist with manufacturer's warranties on all equipment. If a client has questions on system operation or performance we are only a phone call or an email away.
9. Optional Services: On our systems with remote monitoring, we also offer an optional monitoring service at a yearly subscription rate. Each month a system report is compiled and sent to the client, which summarizes the system's performance and client's power usage. Suggestions are made to further optimize performance and carried out at client's discretion.
Lead time depends on the size and complexity of the system and how many other jobs have already been scheduled. At the moment we are booked out for about 2 months. Winter tends to be our slowest time of year.
Proposal time is dependent on the quality of information we can gather from the client inquiry and site survey. More, clear information up front will result in a quicker proposal turnaround, while little to no client information up front will result in delayed proposals. At minimum we require 2-3 weeks from accepting a proposal to beginning the installation process. Time to job completion also varies based on scope of work and weather, but these are covered in the Proposal.