Get off the grid with Direct Drive DC Solar!

Roxy Oven, an Insulated Solar Electric Cooker

At Living Energy Lights, we’ve found a better way to go off-grid.

Solar panels are getting cheaper every day, so why is it still so expensive to go off-grid?

Solar panels produce direct current (DC). To run typical household appliances which use alternating current (AC), most solar installers recommend a large battery set, inverters, and other electronics. These batteries will decline in performance after just a few years. The hardware needed to run AC appliances off grid can easily cost $50,000-$100,000. The homeowner will also need to pay another $1,000-$2,000 every year replacing their batteries as they age. 

A direct drive DC Microgrid is simple, durable, and much more affordable than solar systems that supply AC electricity.

With a direct drive DC Microgrid, we never convert DC electricity into AC, and we power all heavy loads using DC solar electricity directly, a method we call direct drive. Power for heavy duty appliances like refrigerators and water pumps never goes through a battery. Instead we use alternative energy storage, like hot or cold thermal mass, or pressurized water in a tank.

While it costs something to invest in quality DC appliances, the initial cost is 90% less than an AC system, and there’s little to no ongoing maintenance costs.

Sunstar Direct Drive Refrigerator/Freezer

Direct drive appliances are not as widely available as AC appliances, but the options increase every day as this method grows in popularity.

Direct drive appliances currently on the market include our refrigerators and cookers, as well as water pumps, ventilation fans, and air conditioners available through other suppliers. Additionally, many AC appliances- including kitchen appliances, tools, vacuum cleaners, ebike chargers, and more- may be modified to be compatible with direct drive. (Contact our consultation services to learn more about converting appliances you already have.) At Living Energy Lights, we are hard at work designing and building more direct drive appliances, including a direct drive washing machine.

With heavy loads running direct drive, a much smaller battery set is needed for appliances which require consistent power. For lights, personal comfort fans, phones, laptop computers, and other electronics we recommend one of our 12V DC battery kits. We use only high quality, durable batteries that perform well even through cloudy spells.

Our 12V Battery Kits provide consistent power for appliances like lights, fans, phones and laptop computers.

At Living Energy Lights, we don’t just talk about these systems. We live off the grid and rely on them every day. You can get off the grid too, and Living Energy Lights can help. 

  • Still not sure if direct drive is right for you? Contact us by email if you have any questions about how a DC Microgrid could work for your home or community.
  • Learn more about our demonstration center, Living Energy Farm.
  • Check out our YouTube Channel for instructional videos about our products, and virtual tours of the DC Microgrid at LEF.