What You Need To Know Before Going Off-Grid With Solar
Here are the main things you need to know before investing into a stand alone power system for your property
With the cost of connecting to the grid on the rise the idea of going off-grid and achieving total energy independence is becoming more and more appealing. For anyone with a general understanding of solar energy systems and production, the process of creating a system that is 100% self-sufficient may seem as easy as adding a battery and a couple extra solar panels…unfortunately, there is a little more to it. We’ve compiled a list of things you need to know before going off-grid with solar.
WHY WOULD YOU GO OFF-GRID?
Cost of connection! When you are deciding what is the best energy option for your property/home be sure to check the cost of connecting to conventional grid-powered energy. In some cases, the cost of connecting to the grid from an isolated or remote location can be astronomical and looking at alternative options can be the best option. Energy independence isn’t just reserved for those living remotely; for some, the cost of connecting to the grid can be low but their energy goals align more closely to the benefits of an off-grid system. For this group, we recommend a hybrid system, including solar and battery, allowing the customer to still draw power from the grid when necessary, albeit infrequently.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT INSTALLER
What can often be overlooked when shopping the market for a potential off-grid installer is the after sales and system maintenance support that this provider offers. Off-grid system owners and the installers become a partnership – this system needs to be able to provide your residence with power all year round for years to come and there is a significant amount of maintenance and troubleshooting required to keep you powered. Your chosen installer takes on the role of your energy provider and as such, they should be you first point of contact for system issues, troubleshooting or repairs. The right installer will be able to remotely access to your system to provide service and maintenance as well as be responsible for solving these issues on site.
Stand alone power systems or off-grid solar systems require a higher level of accreditation than a standard grid connect system. These systems require a high level of design and installation knowledge to make them a viable and reliable power source. Off-grid installers in Australia should be Clean Energy Council accredited with a specialised license in ‘SPS Design & Install’.
SYSTEM LOADS, COST & SIZE
When designing an off-grid system, sizing the system to be able to meet the required daily energy needs is vital for it’s success. In order to properly size your system, installers require a load profile which dictates and forecasts your daily consumption of energy and what appliances you will need to run. Without this, your system may not be able to support your energy requirements, even when you prioritise energy efficiency in your operations. Your load profile will give installers an idea of the daily kWh’s required for your property, and the projected cost of installing this system. As a rough estimate, for every kilowatt hour you need to allow between $2000-$3000 for your system.
There are various components that contribute to an off-grid system, but simply put your system will include; a solar array, an inverter, a battery & a back-up generator. In order to supply to ample sunlight, for some properties we suggest a ground mount solar array or to install the panels to a nearby shed or dwelling. Next, is the inverter system responsible for delivering usable electricity to your home or battery. While this system will change dependent on the installation design, your install will either be an AC coupled system, DC coupled system or on larger scale properties, your system will incorporate a mixture of both.
Your solar battery is arguably the most important component in your off grid system. This battery needs to be able to handle the daily delivery of energy you require and also be able to provide a buffer in times when your panels may not be producing enough energy or you have larger than expected loads. Lithium batteries are the most reliable and effective energy solutions for these applications and Springers Solar installs and recommends; Tesla Powerwall, BYD & Powerplus for our off-grid customers. Additionally we recommend installing an auto-start generator with these installations to provide an extra aspect of energy security. This machine will start on command in response to either high low commands or low battery commands. While the generator might not be used often in a well designed off-grid system, it provides peace of mind on the days it is required.
HOW WE CAN HELP!
Springers Solar has been powering energy independence since 2002 and we a long list of satisfied off-grid customers. Our team of 60+ staff include two CEC stand alone power system design & install accredited members as well as engineers, project managers and dedicated after sales support. If you would like to find out more about our off-grid offerings, fill out the below information and we will contact you as soon as possible.
To see some of our previous off-grid systems, click here.
Contact Us for a Free Quote
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