Installing off grid system in NSW

What is Off Grid Solar System

Off grid solar system is a standalone power system that can give you solar power in remote or rural areas. Moreover, off grid solar systems have no link with the grid, and there is usually a diesel generator for backup. In addition, a battery or battery pool is also essential to give power after sunset or in cloudy times. 

Many of you might know that an off grid solar system is more complex than a grid-tied solar system. But do not worry, with our skills and experience on off grid solar systems, it is not as hard as you think. Our pro staff will assess your energy needs, area, storage options and design a custom solar system for your needs. We have skilled and certified installers with years of experience installing systems of all sizes and types. We ensure you will find the best off grid solar system for your money that will last for years.

Off Grid Solar System

Why should you go for an off grid solar system?

We advise having grid-tied solar, but the need makes most people choose off grid solar systems. Therefore, here are some main reasons for what you can go off the grid:

  • You live or have energy needs in a remote area, where there is no electricity at all.
  • The nearest grid link is miles away from you; hence the connection to the grid is too costly.
  • You have a link to the grid, but frequent power outages are agonizing you.
  • Want to be energy independent or add more value to your property

Lets Discuss Pros and Cons of Off grid Solar Systems

Pros of an off grid solar system

  • It has the plus of not needing your location to be serviced by the electric utility.
  • You can use it in bad climates or in an industrial zone with no supply during industrial hours.
  • It provides green solar energy and aid in energy freedom
  • You can use it in remote areas like rural areas, forest areas, or areas with poor grid links
  • It is suitable for emergency conditions and helps to reduce pollution

Cons of an off grid solar system

  • Off grid solar system cost is high compared to grid-based solar systems that are easy to install and use. For example, a 10kW off grid solar system will cost you 30%~50% more than an on grid solar system.
  • It needs upkeep, regular monitoring, and care for long-lasting life
  • Maintenance is a must even if not used because it is vulnerable to stiff climates if not installed correctly.
  • It requires ample land space to install solar panels, off grid inverter, charge controllers and battery pool.
  • Batteries need a change once in some years, as a result adding more cost. Even if the prices of batteries are dropping, they are still expensive units.
  • It needs regular inspection to avoid dangerous conditions.
off grid solar system

Components of an off grid solar system

Solar Panels and Electric Array

Solar panels are essential for every solar system of all sizes and types, harnessing power from the sun. To meet electric load requirements and energy freedom, you need more solar panels than usual for an off grid system.

Although the solar panels and supporting frames are the same for an off grid solar system. Even the physical layout of solar panels for off grid solar systems can be similar to grid-tied systems. But the size of panel series strings differs in size, actually much smaller or half for an off grid system. Usually, there are three to four PV panels in a string series, whereas eight or more for grid-tied systems.

In a grid-tied solar system, the inverter sets the limit of string array length or size. While, for off grid solar systems, charge controllers set this limit.

Off Grid Solar Inverter

The off grid solar inverter is also called a standalone inverter. In contrast, the inverter for a grid-tied solar system is called a grid-tied inverter.

The main job of any solar inverter is to convert DC power into AC power for use. But unlike, unlike a grid-tied inverter, off grid inverters usually do not take energy from solar panels directly. Instead, the harnessed power flows through an MPPT charge controller and is then stored in the batteries. Afterwards, It is sent to the inverter to be converted into usable AC power. This type of system is called a DC Coupled System.

Whereas in AC Coupled Systems, a typical solar inverter is installed. That takes DC power directly from the PV panels and converts it into AC power. The AC power is usable without the need for batteries. The losses in energy conversions are less in this type of system.

Charge Controller

The DC power generates in PV panels, and before going in the batteries for storage, it passes through charge controllers. A charge controller has two primary functions; 1) to regulate power and 2) to step down voltage. On auto, the charge controller turns off on high voltage or full battery and turns on when the battery pool needs charging. For the safety of an expensive battery pool, the charge controller is essential. Charge controllers with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) are highly recommended for an off grid solar system.

Off Grid Solar Batteries – Battery Bank or Battery Pool

There are several battery options for an off grid solar system, such as:

  • Lead-acid deep cycle battery (the standard and dependable option until recent)
  • Lithium-ion battery (extremely popular nowadays due to high efficiency)
  • Off grid lithium batteries
    • Managed lithium (require a fixed communication link to the inverter)
    • Self-managed lithium (do not require a fixed communication link)

Every type has its own pros and cons, but in our experience, self-managed lithium batteries are the best. In addition, lead-acid batteries are still a good choice and reliable. Furthermore, lead-acid batteries will not auto shut down in immense heat or low state of charge.

Generator As an Alternate Source

You may need an alternate source in parallel when your off grid solar system is not working optimally. Power output goes down in snowy winters or cloudy seasons; hence a diesel generator is helpful to aid. That is because it can give extra power on low batteries or on-demand. You need to start the generator yourself in some budget systems, while top systems offer a self-start function.

Load Calculations

A home or business with an off grid solar system solely relies on solar power output. Therefore it is vital to precisely assess annual and daily load needs and fluctuation overtimes. Still, have a query? Our experts will help you calculate your power needs and design and install the system as well.

For a further understanding, please read our article:

What Size Solar System Do I Need?”

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