Living off the grid is possible 365 days a year. When snow and freezing temperatures are a factor, a little extra care will help keep you cozy and the lights on all winter long.
- Do a Sun Salutation: If your solar is on the ground, not the roof, then you made a good design choice. Ground-mounted solar is accessible, and makes snow removal easy with a painters pole and brush. Always tilt your solar array to 60 degrees or greater in the late fall. The sun is lower in the sky from October to March, so a greater angle is needed to maximize your production. An added bonus? The greater angle will help shed the snow naturally.
- Give your generator a workout: A capable generator is a critical component to your off grid system during the winter months when sun hours are reduced by 80% compared to summer months. Make sure your generator gets a tune up in the late fall. Temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius can create start and run issues so exercise your generator for 15 minutes each day. Make sure you have a trickle charger on your generators battery and regular oil changes should be scheduled every 75 hours of run time.
- Get Specific: During the winter, the specific gravity or weight of the electrolyte in flooded lead acid batteries is reduced, affecting their capacity. Use a hydrometer to check the specific gravity across the cells of your battery bank and give them an extra full charge to bring the specific gravity back up to a proper range. Refer to your battery manual for more details.