Remote buildings, such as schools, community halls, and clinics, can benefit from solar energy. In developing regions, central power plants can provide electricity to homes via a local wired network, or act as a battery charging station where members of the community can bring batteries to be recharged.
PV systems can be used to pump water in remote areas as part of a portable water supply system. Specialized solar water pumps are designed for submersible use or to float on open water. Large-scale desalination plants can also be PV powered using an array of PV modules with battery storage.
PV systems are sometimes best configured with a small diesel generator in order to meet heavy power requirements in off-grid locations. With a small diesel generator, the PV system does not have to be sized to cope with the worst sunlight conditions during the year. The diesel generator can provide back-up power that is minimized during the sunniest part of the year by the PV system. This keeps fuel and maintenance costs low.