Know Your Solar: A Guide to setting up an Off-grid power supply

Easy do it yourself power backup!

There are plenty of “kits” out there that include a solar generator and battery with USB and regular plugs. Unfortunately they are all very expensive and only provide limited power.

Save yourself a lot of money and make a real backup system for your home or vehicle in case of a power outage or natural disaster by doing this yourself, very simply, without the two grand or more for these store-bought systems.

What You Need:

There are three components for the system:


  • A solar panel with a charge controller to limit voltage when the battery is fully charged. Our Overland Solar kits include a wired charge controller ready to go.
  • A deep cycle battery (or two or three etc.)
  • An inverter to convert 12 volt to regular household power (what your plugged appliances run off of).

Determine how much power you want. 

You can add more batteries and larger inverters to our larger 150 watt kit for long term power off-grid. Something like this would be great to keep in the garage for the power outage or to run a hunting camp. A single battery and smaller 60 or 90 watt kit to a 400 watt inverter is cheap and very portable if you just want to charge phones and laptops, watch some TV, run LED lights and fans etc.

Start with a good 12 volt deep cycle battery but stay away from batteries that claim to be both deep cycle and starting batteries in one. 

True deep cycle batteries will not start a motor. They have thick lead plates and are designed to provide long drawn-out power, not bursts of cranking amps for motors. I have found high quality batteries at good prices at Battery Systems stores. You can check for a store in your area on the Battery Systems website. Costco also has competitive prices on good deep cycle batteries.

Pick up a small inverter. 

The inverter has one or two plugs and some have USB ports. Some devices do not like cheaper modified sine wave inverters and need a true or “pure” sine wave inverter. In my cabin I have a 1500 watt Xantrex ProSine inverter that runs all of my systems. My 32 inch Visio flat screen would not run on a modified sine wave inverter but my older TV worked on it fine. I have used a Xantrex ProSine 600 watt inverter in the RV for a couple years with good results, they are not very expensive and have a built in USB port along with two plugs.

Connect our solar kit and inverter to the battery posts and start powering your world off grid!