At Hire Electric we cut our teeth on the Trace SW inverter system and Shell 175 watt solar modules. The systems we are installing today are miles ahead of the early workhorse but there are lots of legacy off-grid plants out there. We often get called in to service Old School off-grid solar arrays in The Gorge. Many times these systems were lovingly installed by DIYers who have moved on and the new system owners are finding the dream to be something of a nightmare. We do our best to make the most of existing systems and suggest upgrades where they make sense (or where things are wired SO badly that all we can suggest is a good fire extinguisher). Wet cell off grid batteries can take a fair amount of abuse but if they go dry or stay undercharged for long periods of time they will need to be replaced. Even a good set of deep cycle batteries that are well maintained will need to be replaced after 7 to 10 years. Lots have changed over the years and many people find that a charge controller or inverter upgrade makes their old system run like a charm. Adding more solar, a wind machine or upgrading to a DC generator can also reduce fossile fuel dependance – and independence is really what it’s all about.