This article is wrote from an off grid perspective to understand the 12v, 24v, and 48v options available.
Like most people living off grid. We started simple. We started cheap as finances were tight. We went with easy. So what did we end up with? The 12Volt super small system. We bought a 12V freezer and pump, and small inverter. Then life happened. Babies, blenders, washer and dryer. Needless to say our 12V system made to accommodate super simple living was not meeting our needs!
We did what little research we could at the time, since off grid blog articles were few and far between. We knew from other friends living on 24v that it was not a viable option either.
We got a credit card, and looked at our “upgraded” system as an investment. If we only knew! It was like a miracle. Blender in the morning, washer at noon, and not having to turn off our freezer at night. Yes we were living very conservative before. Rice cooker, not allowed. Now, hello crock pot dinners!
So you’re wondering about what investment to make when it comes to your solar system. The local shop may try to sell you 12v or 24v but with whose interest in mind? We can tell you from experience, not the consumer. Is a 48v system, a higher cost? Short answer, yes. Long answer, it is THE answer for optimal off grid solar systems.
The reason why one should plan on having a 48v system is because every outlet is an 120v receptacle. There is a smaller gap then to get to 120v from 48v. The technology at the moment for off grid products, maxes out at 48v.
If you have a 12v system, anytime you plug in any item through a regular outlet, it has the poorest efficiency. It has to go from 12v to 120v, comparative bringing 48v to 120v.
Most inverters(takes DC power to AC power) for the 12v world typically max out at around 1500Watts. 48V inverters can go up to 8000W and beyond. A typical 3 bedroom modern home needs this much wattage to operate. Even in a studio cabin, most modern appliances can easily use 1500Watts, and that’s with turning other things off.
So again, it comes down to your needs and wants as an off grid consumer. If you’re only going to use lights, specialty 12v lights, not your typical lamp from target, then maybe a 12v system could satisfy your needs. But, if you start with a 48V system, it’s easy to expand as your needs grow.
Because of amperage, you can only put so many solar panels, typically 2, on a 12v charge controller, before needing additional. With a 48v charge controller, you can have up to 10 panels, depending on the wattage.
Let us help you in designing your off grid solar system. Give us a call today at 808-747-9885.