Off-Grid Solar

What is an off-grid solar system?

Nevada County has a long and rich history of off-grid solar development. This approach to providing power to a residence provides owners with greater flexibility work building homes in remote areas of Nevada County where commercial power sources are not available or only available at great cost. Nevada County supports the use of off-grid solar systems for all types of properties and structures. Download the Nevada County Off-Grid Solar Policy and the Off-Grid Solar Handout for more information.

A stand-alone or off-grid solar system is not connected to the grid but uses a storage battery to store the electricity generated. Your solar panel system will produce more electricity during the day than your home could consume. The excess electricity is used to charge a storage battery from where you draw your power at night when the solar panel system is producing very little electricity. A generator is used to provide backup power if the solar system cannot produce sufficient power. 

Diagram shows solar feeding battery bank then flowing to DC/AC circuits, backup generator shown too.

Who can prepare construction documents?

Construction documents shall be drafted by a licensed C-10, C-46, or a general contractor with a NABCEP Professional certification.

A non-licensed person may draft plans for an off-grid system based on the minimum design criteria presented in the handout. A licensed C-10, C-46, or a general contractor with a NABCEP Professional Certification shall provide a letter certifying that the minimum design criteria have been met prior to plan submittal. 

The plans may not be a deferred submittal because the system is the primary source of power for the structure. 

Who can install an off-grid system in Nevada County?

In order to install an off-grid system, you must be a licensed C-10 or C-46 contractor or a qualified person per the 2019 California Electrical Code.

2019 CEC 690.4 (C) Qualified Personnel. The installation of equipment and all associated wiring and interconnections shall be performed only by qualified persons.

In what situations can an off-grid system be installed?

  • On parcels with or without ready access to a PG&E service connection.
  • On parcels with existing PG&E electrical services.
  • Multiple systems may be installed on a single parcel to service separate buildings.
  • A hardship letter from PG&E is not required to install an off-grid solar system

What are the Minimum Design Criteria in Nevada County?

The Off-Grid Solar Handout provides all the information necessary to design a compliant off-grid solar system. 

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