Your off-grid solar system cost will depend on a variety of factors, including the size and type of the system, the type of components used, and install location. Completely off-grid solar systems for a home can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 or more.
Solar power is a great way to make your household independent and sustainable. Plus, with the rising cost of electricity, more people are looking into off-grid solar systems to harness and store the sun’s energy, eliminating the need for a grid connection. But how much does an off-grid solar system cost in 2023?
The answer is complex since it considers several factors — most of which you can control. Generally, the price of a solar system will depend on your country, the number of peak sun hours you get locally, and how much electricity you consume.
To simplify things, we’ll focus on average pricing in the United States under typical weather and energy usage. By the end of this article, you should be able to estimate the cost of installing an off-grid solar system that perfectly suits your energy needs.
What Is an Off-grid Solar System?
Off-grid solar systems use solar panels to collect energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. These systems are simple, require very little maintenance, and are strong enough to power all your day-to-day electrical needs. No wonder they’re a first choice for folks who want to eliminate grid dependency.
You may want to consider a backup system if you plan to rely solely on your own energy sources to supply you with your needs in the future.
They’re most common in remote locations, but due to their increasing affordability and efficiency, they are also becoming popular in urban areas. Off-grid solar is most suitable for delivering electricity to remote areas where there is no access to a utility line.
You can usually install an off-grid solar system that can supply enough electricity to cover one day's use, as well as a backup generator to supplement electricity production during long periods of bad weather.
First, let’s get into the costs of each component within the systems.
Cost of an Off-grid Solar System by Component
We compiled a breakdown of off-grid solar system cost based on each component of a complete solar power system. It includes an estimate of how much you will pay for a fully functional off-grid solar system. Remember that these figures are averages based on U.S. pricing.
|Off-grid solar system component||Cost|
|Solar charge controller||$70-$600+|
|Alternative energy (wind or generator)||$3k-$25k|
Solar panels are a key component of any solar system and a great way to reduce energy costs and help the environment. They use the sun’s energy to generate electricity for homes and businesses.
On average, solar panels cost $2.94 per watt, and each solar panel can produce about 250 to 400 watts of power. You can use our off-grid solar system sizing calculator to estimate how many solar panels you’ll need. This will help you pin down a specific figure, but you’ll also need to consider the:
- Production ratio: An estimate of the amount of energy (kWh) your system will produce per year, divided by the total wattage.
- Annual electricity usage for your home: Find this info on your eclectic bill.
- Type of panel: Cost varies depending on the material panel manufacturers use.
The two most common solar panels are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are usually more efficient but are also more expensive — you might consider this option if you have limited roof space. Otherwise, the cheaper, less efficient polycrystalline panels can save you hundreds of dollars.
And if you’re still wondering why solar panels are so expensive, remember that there will also be installation costs.
Cost: $735-$1,176 per panel, depending on wattage.
Solar Charge Controller
A solar charge controller helps regulate the flow of electricity from the solar panels to the battery and ensures it isn't overcharged or undercharged. It also prevents the battery from discharging back into the solar panels at night.
Solar charge controllers come in various sizes and styles to meet any need. They can manage the charge of both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, and they come with various features like overcharge protection, low voltage disconnect, and temperature compensation. With the right solar charge controller, you can ensure that your solar energy system runs efficiently and safely.
Cost: $70-$600 or higher, depending on voltage, size, and brand.
Battery Bank for Solar Power
The battery bank is important in any solar power system. It stores the energy your solar panels generate and provides a reliable source of power when the sun isn't shining.
Battery banks typically consist of several deep-cycle batteries connected in series or parallel to provide the necessary voltage and capacity. The cost of a battery bank can vary based on the type of battery you’ll be using and the number of batteries you’ll need.
The two main options are lead-acid and lithium-ion, with the latter being significantly more expensive. The battery stores that energy until you need it. When you do require it, an inverter converts it into electricity.
Cost: $10,000-$30,000, depending on battery type and amount.
Source of Alternative Energy
Alternative energy sources for solar off-grid systems are becoming increasingly important in today’s world.
One of the most popular solar energy alternatives is wind energy, generated when wind power rotates turbine blades. Depending on the size and capacity of the wind turbines, they can cost from $3,000 to $11,000
Another alternative energy option is a backup generator. These generators use an engine to convert natural gas, diesel, or propane fuel into mechanical energy, which then powers an alternator. Depending on the size, one of these generators can cost between $5,000 and $25,000.
Cost: $3,000-$25,000, depending on the energy source, capacity, and size.
A solar power inverter transforms the energy that solar panels collect (DC) into electrical energy you can use (AC). Inverters are an essential component of any solar power system. They convert the DC power from the solar panels into AC — which is necessary to power most homes and businesses.
This conversion means you can use home appliances, lights, and other electronic equipment across a large area. Inverters come in various sizes and configurations, so choosing one that suits your specific needs is important.
For example, if you need to power a large home, you will need a more powerful inverter than if you are only powering a small office building. Additionally, some inverters are more efficient than others, so it's important to research the options.
Cost: $1,500-$13,000, depending on size.
Off-grid Solar System Cost By Type
Your out-of-pocket expense largely depends on what size solar system will be best for your power needs. Below, you’ll find estimates for off-grid solar system cost by the different types of systems available.
|Off-grid solar systems||Cost|
|Off-grid AC solar system||$30k-$60k|
|AC solar system + backup generator||$40k-$70k|
|AC solar system + wind||$20k-$80k|
|Off-grid DC solar system||$6k-$10k|
|AC + DC combo solar system||$10k-$50k|
Completely Off-grid AC Solar Systems
An AC Solar system is perfect for those living in remote areas, as they are not dependent on the grid and can provide reliable power even during outages. With the right components and setup, an off-grid AC solar power system can provide clean, renewable energy for years to come.
The solar panels in this system come with preinstalled AC-DC inverters. In short, this means that your system will turn the sun’s energy into direct current (DC) power, which you can store in batteries, and then convert that into alternating current (AC) power, which you’ll need for transmitting power through your home.
Cost: $30,000-$60,000 for solar panels, a battery bank, an inverter, and a solar charge controller.
AC Solar System With Generator Backup
When shopping for solar power, a natural question is whether solar panels work on cloudy days.
AC solar systems with generator backups are an excellent option for those looking to reduce their environmental impact while still having reliable electricity. The generator can supplement solar power and maintain a steady electricity supply during low sunlight.
This is especially useful during peak demand hours or when solar panels can’t produce enough energy to meet the household's needs. The combination of solar and generator backup provides a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective solution for powering residential and commercial properties.
Cost: $40,000-$70,000 for everything that comes with a typical AC solar system, plus the generator of your choice.
Wind-alternative AC Solar System
A wind-alternative solar system can harness the sun's power to generate electricity in addition to wind power. The particular system is ideal for windy areas with unpredictable sunshine. It’s also more reliable than traditional wind power since wind speed or direction changes won’t completely halt energy production.
Similar to the AC system with a generator, the wind-alternative system comes with wind-converting technology to serve as a backup during periods of low sun.
Cost: $20,000-$80,000 for all the components of an AC solar system with additional wind turbines and a hybrid inverter instead of the standard one.
DC Solar System for Low Energy Needs
DC solar power systems use solar panels to convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity, which either goes straight toward powering appliances or into a battery for storage.
This system does not include an AC-DC inverter, making it less expensive and less flexible. With only a few solar panels in the simplest kit, this system is best for low-energy needs with limited space, like a small cabin or an RV.
Because there are fewer moving parts, the installation process is relatively simple, and the cost savings are significant. It also beats out an AC system in energy efficiency since direct current loses very little power during transmission.
Cost: $6,000-$10,000 for DC solar panels, a battery pack, and a solar charge controller.
AC and DC Solar System Combo
Last but not least, an AC-DC combo solar system is one of the most efficient and cost-effective options we’ve listed so far. It’s perfect if a DC-only system does the job, but you still need to transmit energy throughout a larger area occasionally.
This system converts solar energy into DC power, which you’ll need to charge your backup batteries. Then, you can convert that into AC power to distribute throughout a property. This combination allows for a more reliable and consistent energy supply and the ability to use the stored energy when you need it.
Cost: $10,000-50,000 for DC solar panels, an AC-DC inverter, a solar charge controller, and a battery bank.
Is an Off-grid Solar System Worth It?
Whether or not an off-grid solar system is worth it depends on if you take advantage of your options. For one, you can opt for solar leasing to get the benefits of solar power while paying less upfront. But if you are determined to purchase — and own — a system full-out, there are a few ways to offset the cost of an off-grid solar system.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) lets you write off part of the cost of your solar equipment. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, you can now deduct 30% of your total solar costs. To be eligible for this credit, you must install a solar power system between 2022 and 2032.
You also need energy storage devices with a capacity rating of 3 kWh or more. The items you can include in your write-off are all system components we listed above, installation costs, mounting hardware, and any roofing the installation requires. To claim this credit, you’ll use Form 5696.
Reduced Living Costs
An off-grid solar system can eventually pay for itself by reducing your living expenses. For one, they allow you to live in more remote locations, which are significantly less pricey than urban city areas. And, since you're off the grid, you’ll have no electricity bill.
Also, the cost of generating solar power is much cheaper than traditional energy sources such as grid-tied electricity. In the U.S., the average electric utility cost is $16.32 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while solar only costs around 6-8 cents per kWh.
Additional perks include increased home value, decreased losses during blackouts, and lower installation and maintenance costs.
Off-grid Solar System Cost FAQ
We understand that you have plenty of questions about off-grid solar systems, so we’ve answered some of the most frequent ones below.
How Much Do Off-grid Batteries Cost?
The cost of off-grid batteries can vary depending on the type of battery, capacity, and other factors. Generally, the cost of off-grid batteries can range from $1,000 to $10,000. Lead-acid batteries are the most common off-grid batteries and typically cost between $1,000 and $2,500.
Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive but offer higher performance and longer lifespans. These types of batteries can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. The cost of off-grid batteries also depends on the capacity of the battery.
Can You Run a House on Just Solar Power?
Yes, you can run a house on just solar power. Solar batteries can store energy when the sun isn’t shining, such as at night or on cloudy days. With the right setup, your home can run continuously on nothing by solar power and backup energy storage. But remember that this can get quite expensive, especially if you don’t live in a sunny area (where you’d need more storage space).
How Much Does a 10,000-Watt Off-grid Solar System Cost?
Based on the average cost of solar, a 10,000-watt (10 kW) off-grid solar system would be about $30,000. Because of the federal tax credit, this cost could be lower, around $21,000.
Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 for a complete 10,000-watt system. This cost includes solar panels, inverters, and other necessary components. You should also factor in the installation cost, ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the system's complexity.
Adding It All Together
Investing in an off-grid solar system for your home is a large financial commitment. However, if you choose the right components, secure proper installation, and take advantage of the benefits, it can be a cost-effective way to achieve energy independence.
While looking for the right system for your lifestyle and budget, remember to prioritize quality. At Solartap, we source our panels and batteries from reliable manufacturers who keep efficiency in mind. You can rest assured that you’re getting the best quality, no matter which solar solution you choose.
Your wait for the perfect solar system ends now — check out our solar panel calculator for a free estimate today.