Rooftop solar & wind-turbine

Thinking about going off-grid? Keep these points in mind

by Solar Choice Staff on 4 August, 2016

in Batteries & Energy Storage,Off-grid solar power, Stand-alone solar power, Remote solar power,ACT,NSW,NT,QLD,SA,TAS,VIC,WA

With the dawn of the age of (nearly) affordable battery storage, more and more Australian homes are considering the possibility of disconnecting from the electricity grid; or the first time, off-grid living looks like it may be feasible virtually anyone – even for urban households.

Solar Choice has conducted some desktop analysis into the minimum amount of solar & storage capacity that would be necessary to take a home off the grid (See: ‘Can you go off-grid with solar & storage?‘); we have also put together a indicative Off-grid Solar & Storage System Sizing Estimator Tool.

But in reality, the challenges of associated with going off-grid extend well beyond the simple question of how much hardware you need. Living off-grid is – in most instances – a big lifestyle change if you’re accustomed to the convenience and reliability of grid electricity (as most of us are).

In response to the rise in the number of would-be off-gridders, Queensland network company Ergon Energy recently published a list of considerations that anyone thinking about going off-grid should keep in mind before cutting ties with their network. While Ergon is a Queensland-based company, the points they make apply more generally to anyone in Australia.

Ergon says that it put the list together to highlight some of the challenges of going off-grid “without looking like a big corporate entity trying to scare customers into staying with us.” Our judgement here is that Ergon’s points (outlined below) are practical and eye-opening, and in no way sensational or scare-mongering. Read the full article →

{ 3 comments }

Barry 29 August, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Great reading guys I got a lot of information from your artical

sinikka pollari 10 August, 2016 at 11:50 am

Great articles well worded and give us something to think about, we have enjoyed 5 k gross payments as we generate more power then we use. For us off the grid maybe the way to also as we are in the rural property out power is off frequently therefore we cannot even have water its in tanks and need pump to run it.
Also having spent money on 5 k system to generate power and when we have these frequent power cuts we are without power once 11 days running. Suburbia where there are no power cuts they probably do not have the need to go off the grid.
In the article it mentioned than off the grid properties may take longer to sell.
We have ad house in Sydney and already 30 + years ago we put in as much solar as then possible when we went to sell the property this was one great selling point all the 30 + years we never paid a single cent on hot water , Solar is advantage as is our experience
Thank you allowing u to express our opinion.
Kind Regards
Sinikka

Solar Choice Staff 11 August, 2016 at 8:54 am

Hi Sinikka,

Sounds like you might be in a good situation for going off-grid, although you might need more solar than a 5kW system (unless your daily usage is very, very low). You might even be able to set up a separate solar-powered pumping system with its own batteries that works independently of the rest of your home.

Before getting off the grid altogether, however, I’d recommend investigating the possibility of upgrading your inverter to one that supports solar & battery backup functionality. Most solar inverters shut down automatically when the grid goes down as a safety feature, but it is possible to have on installed that will allow you to continue to run your home (or at least some of the devices in your home) using your solar & batteries. If grid reliability is an issue where you are (as it sounds like it is), then maybe you could consider this as a solution.

And yes, there is a definitive advantage to have solar on a grid-connected home when it comes time to sell – who wouldn’t like home with a solar array? But being off-grid comes with a whole slew of other complications and considerations (as the article above highlights).

Good luck with your system!

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