Off-Grid Living with Solar in Canada: A 2023 Guide

Posted by Tina Kassaeian on

Read All You Need To Know About Off-grid Living in Canada

Are you tired of ever-increasing electricity bills and want to reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment in Canada? Going off-grid with a solar system can be a sustainable and cost-effective solution you've been seeking. 

In this guide, tailored for the Canadian, we'll walk you through the essential steps to select the best off-grid solar system for your home and explore the costs associated with different options in 2023.

#1 Determining Your Power Needs

Before you embark on the exciting journey of setting up an off-grid solar system for your home, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of your power needs. Knowing your daily energy consumption will help you determine the right size for your solar system and ensure that it meets your household's demands efficiently. 

To calculate your power needs, start by taking a comprehensive inventory of your electrical usage. Consider all aspects of your home, including the number and wattage of lights, the energy consumption of appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners, as well as the power requirements of electronics such as televisions and computers. 

For example, if you have ten LED light bulbs in your house, each consuming 10 watts per hour, you'll have a total lighting load of 100 watts per hour. Next, analyze your heating and cooling needs, especially during extreme weather conditions in Canada. If you have electric heating systems or air conditioning units, factor in their power consumption. 

Suppose your heating system requires 1,500 watts per hour and you use it for five hours on a winter day. In that case, your heating load would be 1,500 watts per hour multiplied by 5 hours, totaling 7,500 watt-hours for the day. Repeat this process for other appliances and electronics to get a comprehensive overview of your daily energy usage.

Determine Your Power Needs For Living OFF the Grid

Once you have a complete list of your daily energy consumption, it's essential to add some extra capacity for future power needs. This includes potential lifestyle changes, new appliances or electronics, or the possibility of accommodating guests who may use additional electricity. 

For example, if your daily energy consumption sums up to 15,000 watt-hours, consider adding a 20% buffer, resulting in a total daily energy requirement of 18,000 watt-hours. This additional capacity will ensure that your off-grid solar system can meet your energy needs comfortably without running the risk of power shortages.

Furthermore, it's crucial to account for backup power requirements during emergencies. While off-grid solar systems can provide self-sustained power, it's wise to have a contingency plan for extended periods of cloudiness or other unexpected situations. 

Consider investing in a backup generator or additional battery storage to ensure a seamless power supply during adverse weather conditions. Calculating your power needs with precision will not only help you design an efficient off-grid solar system but also provide peace of mind, knowing that you're well-prepared for all eventualities in your off-grid energy journey.

#2 Choose the Best Solar Panel

Selecting the right solar panel is vital for an efficient off-grid solar system in Canada. To ensure the best choice, consider multiple factors. 

Start by evaluating the panel's efficiency and power output as higher efficiency means more electricity from limited space. Additionally, prioritize durability and weather resistance, as they are crucial for withstanding Canada's harsh climate conditions. 

Next, choose between monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels based on their efficiency, budget, and installation needs. As you make your decision, verify longer warranties and performance guarantees to ensure the panel's reliability. 

Choosing Best Solar Panels For Living off-grid in Canada

Additionally, look for certifications and standards to ensure safety and quality. Lastly, consider brand reputation, reviews, and return on investment to make a well-informed decision and contribute to a sustainable future. By carefully assessing these factors, you can select the best solar panels for your energy needs and create a successful off-grid solar system. For more detailed information, read our 101 guide to buy the best solar panels in Canada.

Volts Energies Experts Top Pick: Solar Panel

Monocrystalline panels, such as the Volts Energies 200W Mono Solar Panel - V200M-48V, stand out for their exceptional efficiency and durability. Designed to excel in off-grid applications, these panels offer a powerful and reliable energy solution for Canadian homeowners. 

The high efficiency of monocrystalline panels ensures they can convert more sunlight into electricity, maximizing power generation and optimizing limited space. With their sturdy construction and weather-resistant features, the Volts Energies 200W Mono Solar Panel guarantees long-lasting performance even in the face of Canada's varying weather conditions. 

Moreover, another top option for off-grid solar systems in Canada is the Vsun Solar Panels. These panels are known for their excellent performance and reliability, making them a popular choice among Canadian homeowners.

Check out the picture below to see a real-life installation by Volts Energies Experts, showcasing the effectiveness of Vsun solar panels for an off-grid property in Canada.

Installing Vsun solar Panel For Off-grid House in Canada

#3 Picking the Ideal Battery

The choice of battery is a crucial aspect of designing an efficient off-grid solar system. As a Canadian homeowner, understanding how to select the best battery for your off-grid setup is essential for maximizing energy storage and ensuring a seamless power supply.

When it comes to battery options, two primary types are commonly used in off-grid solar systems: lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. Each type has its advantages and considerations to take into account.

Lead-acid batteries are a more traditional option and are generally less expensive upfront compared to lithium-ion batteries. They are tried and tested, with a long history of use in off-grid systems. However, lead-acid batteries require regular maintenance, including periodic water top-ups and replacement of worn-out parts. Moreover, their lifespan is generally shorter than lithium-ion batteries, which means they may need to be replaced more frequently, increasing long-term costs.

 Choose the right Lithium Batteries for your off grid system

On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries are known for their high efficiency, longer lifespan, and minimal maintenance requirements. While they might have a higher upfront cost, their extended life span and lower maintenance needs can offset the initial investment over time. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries tend to have a higher energy density, meaning they can store more energy in a smaller physical footprint, making them an excellent choice for installations with limited space.

By comparing lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries based on cost, lifespan, maintenance, and environmental impact, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your energy goals and contributes to a sustainable off-grid solar system for your Canadian home. For more detailed information, read our comprehensive guide to choose the best lithium batteries in Canada.

Volts Energies Experts Top Pick: Batteries

Pylontech offers top-quality lithium-ion batteries, known for their efficiency, reliability, and long lifespan. These batteries have a high energy density, perfect for installations with limited space. They come with advanced safety features and are scalable to meet various energy demands. With Pylontech batteries, you get efficient power storage, reduced maintenance, and reliable backup power for your off-grid solar system. It's the ideal choice for Canadian homeowners seeking a sustainable and resilient energy solution.

Pylontech Batteries: Most Efficient Lithium Batteries For Harsh Weather in Canada


Moreover, for those looking for a flexible and scalable energy storage solution, Pylontech offers multiple options. The Pylontech US3000C Rechargeable LiFePO4 Battery boasts a capacity of 3.37kWh and is suitable for smaller off-grid systems, while the Pylontech US5000 Rechargeable LiFePO4 Battery offers a larger capacity of 4.8kWh, catering to more significant energy demands. For those with 24V systems, the Pylontech UP2500 Rechargeable LiFePO4 Battery with a capacity of 2.8kWh is an excellent choice.

#4 The Role of an Inverter

An inverter plays a pivotal role in any off-grid solar system, serving as the heart that converts DC power from solar panels into AC power used by household appliances. When selecting an inverter, you'll encounter different types, including string inverters, microinverters, and hybrid inverters. 

Your choice will largely depend on your specific energy requirements and compatibility with the battery setup. String inverters are cost-effective and suitable for systems with unshaded panels, while microinverters work well in installations with shading issues, as each panel operates independently. Hybrid inverters, on the other hand, offer the added benefit of integrating with battery storage systems seamlessly.

Off-Grid Installation in Canada By Volts Energies

In addition to type considerations, prioritize power efficiency to ensure optimal utilization of generated electricity. A more efficient inverter means less energy wastage, resulting in greater overall system performance. Moreover, always verify the warranty period of the inverter, as this will indicate the manufacturer's confidence in its longevity and reliability. Investing in a quality inverter with a substantial warranty can provide peace of mind and long-term performance assurance for your off-grid solar system. For more detailed information, check out our complete guide how to choose the best inverter in Canada.

Volts Energies Experts Top Pick: Inverters

Among the top-notch inverters offered by renowned companies, the Volts Energies 12/18KW All in one Hybrid Solar Inverter Charger, stands out as the best option for off-grid solar systems. This versatile inverter is UL1741 certified, ensuring compliance with safety and performance standards. The ELIOS Inversa1812 is designed to seamlessly integrate solar power, grid power, and battery storage, providing a comprehensive solution for efficient energy management.

Best Solar Inverter in Canada

One of the key features of the ELIOS Inversa1812 is its high power capacity of 12KW continuous output and 18KW peak output, making it suitable for larger energy demands. Its hybrid functionality allows it to switch between different power sources, optimizing energy utilization and reducing reliance on the grid. Additionally, the inverter comes equipped with a built-in charger, enabling it to recharge the battery using grid power or solar energy.

The ELIOS Inversa1812 also boasts a user-friendly interface with monitoring and control capabilities, allowing homeowners to keep track of their energy usage and system performance. With its advanced technology and robust design, this inverter ensures reliable and efficient operation, making it the ultimate choice for Canadian homeowners seeking a high-capacity, all-in-one solution for their off-grid solar systems.

#5 Consider Reliable Solar Charge Controllers

Solar charge controllers regulate the energy flow between solar panels and batteries, preventing overcharging and ensuring optimal system performance. Compare PWM and MPPT charge controllers, and consider features like load control and temperature compensation to enhance efficiency. Properly chosen charge controllers will help maintain battery health and maximize energy production. Check our beginner guide to choose the most efficient solar charge controller in Canada.

Volts Energies Experts Top Pick: Solar Charge Controller

Victron Energies is our top pick for solar charge controllers. Their cutting-edge MPPT technology ensures maximum power conversion and utilization from solar panels, enhancing overall energy efficiency. With comprehensive monitoring capabilities and durable design, Victron charge controllers offer a reliable and eco-friendly energy management solution for your off-grid solar system.

Wide Selection of Solar Charge Controller in Canada

The Cost of Off-Grid Solar Systems in 2023

When considering the cost of off-grid solar systems in 2023, several factors come into play. Let's start with solar panels, which can range from $200 to $400 each, depending on their capacity and efficiency(on average between 0.9 - 1.3$ per watt). For a standard off-grid system, you may require multiple solar panels to meet your energy needs, so costs can vary accordingly.

Next, batteries are a crucial component for energy storage. The price of high quality lithium batteries can vary significantly, with options ranging from $2000 to $5000 each, depending on their size and capacity. The larger the battery, the higher the cost, but it also means more energy storage for your off-grid system.

Moving on to inverters, their cost can vary based on features and capacity. You can find inverters in the range of $2000 to $10000. More advanced inverters with higher power capacity may be on the higher end of the price range, but they offer added functionality and efficiency for your off-grid setup.

Off-Grid Living in Canada: Cost Explained

Finally, there are the balance of system parts, which include wiring, mounting hardware, and other components. These can each add up to around $200 to $1500, depending on the size of your off-grid solar system and the specific components required.

In summary, the cost of off-grid solar systems in 2023 can vary based on the specific components chosen and the size of the system. Solar panels, batteries, inverters, and other balance of system parts all contribute to the overall cost. 

Additionally, installation costs are a necessary consideration to ensure your off-grid solar system is installed correctly and efficiently. By carefully evaluating your energy needs and budget, you can create a sustainable and cost-effective off-grid solar system tailored to your requirements.

Please note that the costs provided above are rough estimates and can vary based on different brands and market conditions. 

Off-Grid Solar System Installed By Volts Energies in Northern Quebec

In one of the recent off grid solar systems Installation, experts at Volts bring solar magic into the life on an electrifying journey. Through a captivating video, witness how a pioneering off-grid solar system featuring VSUN bi-facial panels, ELIOS TERRA 4 supports, and an Elios Inversa 1812 hybrid inverter/charger redefine living off the grid. With a robust Pylontech battery backup and a commitment to reducing diesel consumption, this initiative not only guarantees uninterrupted power but also embodies a greener, self-reliant future.

To get a personalized recommendation and a free quote, we encourage you to contact our team of experts. They will take into account your unique energy needs and the size of your off-grid system to provide you with a detailed and accurate quote.

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