Solar panel and sun

Can you go off-grid with a 3kW solar system plus batteries?

by Solar Choice Staff on 25 February, 2016

in Solar System Products,Batteries & Energy Storage,Solar system sizes,3kW

One of the most common solar system sizes in Australia is 3 kilowatts (kW). 3kW solar system strike the right balance between size and affordability, costing on average about $4,700 for a system using decent quality components. But can a home go off-grid with a 3kW solar system and a battery bank? This article takes a look at some scenarios to help you decide if going off-grid is a possibility for your home. The results are based on a solar+storage system sizing tool that Solar Choice is developing in-house which we will eventually be making available to the general public.

Can you be energy self-sufficient with solar-plus-storage? It depends…

Let’s say you have a 3kW solar system on your roof with no access to a generous solar feed-in tariff incentive. There are a number of factors that influence how easily a home could go off grid with a system of this size.

These include:

  • Sunny location: Some places receive more sunlight than others. A roof in Darwin receives more sunshine than one in Brisbane, while a Brisbane rooftop would see more sun than one in Melbourne.
  • Optimal roof orientation and tilt: In Australia, north-facing rooftops whose tilt is roughly at the same angle as the location’s latitude produce the most power. East and west-facing arrays tend to produce a bit less. (Read more about tilt & orientation for solar panels in Australia.)
  • Low energy consumption level: If your home consumes more than 15kWh per day, then a 3kW solar array will probably not meet all of your energy needs – even if you have batteries to store the sunshine for nighttime use.
  • Higher energy consumption during daylight hours: If you use most of your electricity during the daylight hours, you won’t need as large a battery bank because you’ll likely consume the solar energy directly, as it is being produced. (Read more about energy consumption patterns here.)

If your home ticks all of these boxes, it could very well be possible for you to be mostly energy self-sufficient with just solar and batteries.

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{ 1 comment }

Chaitanya Yardi 17 January, 2016 at 9:28 pm

Consumers thinking of going completely on Solar need to realise that, solar radiation changes not only day to day, but season to season also. So the solar power pack which is generating enough power to run your home in summer, will not generate the same during winters. Thus it is advisable to use solar as a “power saver” and rely partially on the grid supply, unless ofcourse you are so remote that you dont have a choice.

I do also recommend a grid tied solar power pack vs a off grid solar power, esp if you have a net metering facility with your grid. This removes the need for expensive batteries from your solar power pack. It also reduces the cost of replacing the batteries after a couple of years. It is the battery that KILLS off grid solar.

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