Installing a ‘stand alone’ renewable energy system in an off-grid location may be a necessity or a lifestyle choice. Either way you have much to gain from today’s increasingly efficient and affordable solar panels, turbines, inverters and batteries.
Renewable energy generation such as solar and wind power not only helps you create a sustainable lifestyle but benefits the environment, reduces noise, reduces air pollution, and cuts diesel transport costs to save you time and energy.
SolarQuip understand the joys and challenges of living off-grid. Proprietor Glen Morris has done so for most of the last 20 years and hasn’t looked back.
It doesn’t have to be a frugal existence. Comfortable living – meeting your energy needs even in winter months – is quite achievable, giving you energy security and independence. The key is good energy management, the right renewable energy technology and correct installation for your unique location.
SolarQuip – Stand Alone Power Systems
SolarQuip has extensive experience designing power systems for off-grid and remote locations. These systems include solar power and hot water, wind turbines and micro-hydro power generation.
Our priorities are designing a system that will meet your energy needs, will be cost effective, and which uses components that will last longest – with a minimum of attention and maintenance.
SolarQuip recognizes that this is a major investment and therefore our staff will spend time with you to properly assess your location and design accordingly. You’re invited to learn more about SolarQuip, our two year guarantee of workmanship and customer support.
Steps Towards Energy Self-Sufficiency
An important first step towards energy self-sufficiency is to minimise any unnecessary power use. Ensure your home has a good passive solar design to reduce the need for heating or cooling and get appliances with high energy-efficiency ratings. Consider for example, non-electrical alternatives for heating and cooking.
Install a good quality solar hot water system that will provide many years of service. SolarQuip has a range of systems to suit most water heating needs.
If you think your site may suit a wind power or micro-hydro power system, we can offer a site assessment to guide you through the possibilities.
When setting up a solar PV power system, locating the best, north-facing location and assessing the optimum system size for this location is an essential starting point. If your roof does not have north-facing surfaces or is shaded too much, we have pole-mount systems which may offer good alternatives.
The system size, orientation and the tilt of the panels allow us to estimate the annual power generation of the system. For off-grid systems, the tilt is generally quite steep (40°-60°) to achieve the best solar performance in winter, when you need to make the most of available sunlight.
Off Grid Power System Components
An off-grid solar kit usually incorporates a power-generation system as well as an energy storage capability. A solar array is configured in ‘strings’ to produce a voltage closely matched to the charge controller in use.
The power coming from your photovoltaic panels or other renewable energy source is managed by a charge controller through a process known as ‘maximum power point tracking’. This controller ensures that your photovoltaic array is operating at its most efficient d.c. voltage – and in remote locations the extra charge gained may be critical in winter months.
The charge controller passes the generated electricity on to the inverter or batteries. The best inverters are multi-function devices that manage the charging of your batteries from the PV or wind generator, and automatically control a backup diesel generator when necessary to keep your batteries in good charge. Additionally, they will convert your battery d.c.voltage to an 240 V a.c. supply ready to run all your lighting and appliances.
The battery storage system is generally configured to run at 24 or 48 volts. It is contained in a separate room or enclosure, if in the same room as the inverter and other componentry. A monitor will allow you to see at a glance what the ‘state of charge’ of the battery system is. A diesel or petrol backup generator is commonly available to keep the batteries at a good charge level at those times when insufficient sun or wind is available.
A system such as this will generally require no maintenance other than regular monitoring of the battery charge state, leaving more time to enjoy the great outdoors.
Off Grid Installation
The beauty of an stand alone installation is that the up front cost is almost all you pay for your off grid power. You then have very low running costs for up to 20 to 30 years.
Unlike grid-connect systems, off-grid power systems may be eligible for STC rebates for a system up to 20kW! That’s a great incentive. Read more about solar rebates.
Costs vary widely, depending on system configurations and energy needs but a small system may cost approximately $15,000-20,000 (incl. GST); medium system $30,000-$40,000; and large $50,000 upwards.
Wherever you are up to in planning your off-grid renewable energy supply, contact SolarQuip to discuss your site, lifestyle or business requirements and the range of options for your secure energy future.