Basic 400 Watt Solar Off-Grid System

I was definitely no electrician when I got into off grid technology. So if you currently don't have much knowledge about electricity, I recommend starting with the YouTube channel "Will Prowse" he explains it very well, there is no need for me to reinvent the wheel and rehash the content that he has already produced.

First check out this beginner's 101 Playlist

After that, watch this video where he builds a 400 watt system step by step showing all the tools and materials you need.

I built a very similar 400 watt system and 2 years later it still serves well as the main electricity source for both my husband and myself, with four 100 watt panels and two 12v 100ah lithium batteries. We use it to power an electric cooler, a diesel heater, LED lights, smartphones, a laptop, ryobi power tool batteries, fans, and (occasionally) a playstation and small tv.

It is smart to have some backup way to charge the batteries just in case, especially in winter. During winter, I have to run the generator at least once every 2 days for about 2 hours to make sure the batteries are topped off. I use a small 2000 watt honda generator, but a running vehicle's alternator could also do the trick to recharge the lithium batteries as well.

Before I went off grid, I became a minimalist in many aspects of life, especially when it comes to electricity consumption. Back when I was still on the grid, I got myself down to running all my electric needs from a single 6 outlet power strip and a USB power hub. The "kill-a-watt meter" is a useful tool to measure the electrical consumption of individual devices. So by the time I actually got off the grid and switched to my small 400 watt solar power system, it was actually a relatively easy transition. To this day I don't even feel like I am "depriving" myself of electricity at all. If I hadn't weaned myself off of my "average" American electricity consumption habits, the transition would have been a much bigger... "shock"... (see what I did there?)