Electricity consumption and high upfront costs: a hurdle for off-grid solar systems?
24 november 2010 

Electricity consumption and high upfront costs: a hurdle for off-grid solar systems?

Buying off-grid solar systems has been long-time hindered by high upfront cost for the whole system plus variable costs for the battery (which has to be replaced every 5 to 15 years) as well as eventual maintenance work. In particular, households where much electricity is consumed – be it for the number of people in the household or electrical appliances use – the independence from grid supply can be a cost-intensive and risky investment, even taking into account subsidies. Moreover, living in areas with comparably little sun radiation (rural and remote areas), is an additional factor not to invest in an off-grid solar system and remain with the secure on-grid system. On the other hand, electricity has increasingly become more expensive, such as in Central Europe, motivating people to think about alternatives to the dependency from their power supplier.

Solar backup system, the middle path

If balancing reasons about the pros and contras of off-grid solar systems in comparison to on-grid dependency why not go the middle way and invest in a solar backup system? A solar backup system must not necessarily be designed to cover the whole consumption of your household but can be assembled well in accordance with your budget. It can serve as a mean to save electricity cost and concurrently have the security to consume electricity if a power cut occurs.

More affordable Off-Grid system equipment

Additionally, although electricity consumption of a household plays a key role in designing an off-grid solar system, at least the once disturbing factor of high upfront costs is increasingly becoming less crucial since China has become the global manufacturing hub for solar products of every kind. Thus, the high electricity consumption of a household must in this regard not be a hurdle in considering independence from a national grid and save money, especially when off-grid solar systems become more and more affordable. Naturally, budgets, consumptions, and constitution of households are different, and such is the demand for design and functionality of off-grid solar systems. But where is the red line that has to be crossed to finally consider off-grid solar systems? We at Sinovoltaics would be very interested to know what our readers consider to be this red line. Any comments are mostly welcome!

Solar panel quality inspections

Are you purchasing solar panels, inverters, or mounting racks in the Greater China region? Sinovoltaics performs independent quality inspections on-site at solar manufacturers.


  1. Replace defects prior to shipment
  2. Independent testing report
  3. 100% certainty about product quality
  4. International testing crew specialized in solar PV panels, inverters, and mounting racks

Learn more about Sinovoltaics and its PV quality inspection and consultancy services

About the author
Niclas is Chief Technology Officer at Sinovoltaics Group.Sinovoltaics Group assists PV developers, EPCs, utilities, financiers and insurance companies worldwide with the execution of ZERO RISK SOLAR projects - implemented by our multinational team of solar PV-specialized quality engineers and auditors on-site in Asia.Niclas has been living and working in Asia for over 10 years, including Mainland China, Taiwan, India and Iran. He is solar PV quality specialist with extensive experience with manufacturers in Asia and has before worked on clean energy projects at UNIDO and Grameen Shakti. Connect with Niclas on LinkedIn
Place comment