Q. What are some of the common questions around Off-Grid systems?
How many solar panels and batteries will I need?
The number of solar panels and batteries you will need will be based on your power needs, Once our system designers have conducted a thorough load assessment, taking in consideration the site requirements and location of your dwelling, they will be able to calculate the amount needed.
What sorts of incentive or rebates are available for off-grid solar power?
All solar panel installations in Australia are subsidized by the Federal Government’s STCs incentive (Small scale Technology Certificates) which offset the cost for your system. There are two ways this incentive can affect the cost for your future Off Grid system.
- Under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, small-scale technology certificates are calculated based on system location, installation date, and the amount of electricity generated over the course of its lifetime – which is referred to as the deeming period. As the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme will end in 2030, the standard 15 year deeming period for a solar PV system started to be reduced 1st January 2017 to 14 years, and each following year, until the closure of the scheme in 2030. This will reduce the number of small-scale technology certificates that can be created for an eligible system. The reduced amount of STCs from 1st January represents a 6% drop. Don’t hesitate as these are being reduced it’ll increase the cost of going solar
- The value of each STC is based on supply and demand. Due to this the STC market is from time to time subject to volatility which effects the value of each STC.
The solar panels, inverters and chargers that we use are on CEC’s approved list of off-grid solar power systems and our installations are done by our local CEC accredited installers.
Can I run normal appliances?
Yes, absolutely. Our Off-Grid systems are designed to give you an “On Grid” feel which will enable you to run your appliance as you wish. With the capacity of the inverters, you can during daytime live a normal life like you are connected to the grid. However, we recommend that you consider 5 important things regarding your Hot water, Cooking, Cooling/Heating, Efficient Appliances, Household routines and how they relate to reducing your system requirement’s and possibly saving you thousands of dollars in system costs. Talk to one of our Off Grid Specialist to find out more.
Am I able run an air-conditioner in an off-grid home?
Yes! Today’s air-conditioners such as inverter split systems are relatively efficient. As we size all our systems to meet your needs, all we need to know is the size of the air-conditioner and the way you are going to use it. However, we recommend that you consider 5 important things regarding your Hot water, Cooking, Cooling/Heating, Efficient Appliances, Household routine and how they relate to reducing your system requirement’s and possibly saving you thousands of dollars in system costs. Talk to one of our Off Grid Specialist to find out more.
Can I use electric cooking?
Yes, we can size your off-grid system to run electric cooking. In fact, we can design a system to run any appliance you may have. However, we recommend that you consider 5 important things regarding your Hot water, Cooking, Cooling/Heating, Efficient Appliances, Household routines and how they relate to reducing your system requirement’s and possibly saving you thousands of dollars in system costs. Talk to one of our Off Grid Specialist to find out more.
What is different about living off the grid, to living on the grid?
If the system is designed correctly, the difference is very little, as even in bad weather such as prolonged rainy days We can seamlessly automate a generator with auto start function to start-up to ensure your home always has the power your require.
What does DoD or SoC stand for?
DoD, is short for the Depth of Discharge and is used to describe how deeply the battery is discharged.
Different types of batteries have different discharge rates and your system designer will be able to take you through these different systems and advise you on the type that will suit your needs.
SoC, is short for State of Charge and is used to describe how much charge is retained by the battery.
If the battery is fully charged, it means the SoC of the battery is 100%, if however, the battery has delivered 50% of its energy then the SoC of the battery is 50%.
What is the usable capacity of a battery
The Usable capacity of an off-grid battery bank will depend on the type of battery used. For example, Lead-acid batteries usually have a daily recommended depth of discharge set at 30%, therefore, the usable amount of power will be 30% of the total storage.
E.G 10kwh battery with a 30% DOD = 3kwh of usable energy.
Lithium batteries have a much higher depth of discharge which is usually around 90-96% of the total storage.
How is my Off Grid system designed?
We use our own, in-house, system design software – made specifically for designing complete Solar Off-grid systems. Using your load profile, we can formulate a technically compliant system design, along with a quotation and accurate system performance details.
This sizing tool ensures greater accuracy in system design choices, specific to your situation and future needs. Meaning you are not buying a system that is too small or too large for your needs.
How much does an Off-Grid system cost?
The cost of a complete Off-Grid system depends on many factors such as energy requirements, peak power requirements, equipment quality, installation location (affects STC value and expected solar panel performance) and many others.
The biggest factor is how much energy you’d need. Generally speaking; small off-grid systems can range from $10,000 to $25,000, most family homes usually range from $30,000 to $45,000, and large or luxury homes can be from $60,000 upwards.
Prices above are given as general indications only and may vary without notice. We recommend you get in touch with us for a proper assessment to get a price for a customized system specific to your circumstances and expectations.
Should I go Off-Grid or get Grid connection?
With rising electricity prices and large upfront connection costs, choosing to go off-grid for your electricity is increasingly more attractive. When deciding for Off Grid system or paying to connect your property to the grid, looking at the full system life cycle will help to understand the total cost of each option over the long term, not just the initial upfront cost. There are a couple of things to consider;
Firstly, find out what the cost would be to get grid connection. Besides this initial connection cost, the other cost factor is your projected total cost for grid power in total over the next 5, 10, 15 years with an expected 5% price increase per year.
An off-grid system requires a backup power source for times of high usage or bad weather. When you don’t have a grid connection, then this backup power is most commonly sourced from a petrol/diesel generator.
An off-grid system needs to include extra battery capacity to give you a few days’ worth of storage, just in case there are a few days of bad weather.
Find out the expected lifetime on your Off Grid system, ongoing costs (generator fuel, maintenance) and equipment replacement over their useful life.
- No ongoing power bills
- No connection fees
- Protected from rising power prices
- Independent and sustainable electricity
- The equipment you pay for, you own
- Green and renewable source of electricity
- 85% total efficiency (95% during the day)
- Limited to the amount of power a system can provide
- User interaction required
- Quarterly power bill
- Quarterly supply fee
- Yearly price rises
- Dependent on corporation’s for electricity
- Pay to upgrade equipment that you don’t own
- Power generated from non-renewable, polluting sources
- 30% power transmission efficiency (70% losses)
- Unlimited amount of power available
- No user interaction
- No idea of power cost until the bill arrives
- Zero maintenance
Can I Expand My System Later?
Whether you can expand your battery capacity later is entirely dependent on the type of battery system you have. In most cases the solar component of your system is easily expanded (solar panels and solar PV inverters), and it’s the battery capacity that can sometimes be tricky or expensive to expand.
Systems like the BYD lithium-iron battery are extremely easy to expand as they are scalable up to 32 units in parallel (441.6kWh). Whereas many off-grid systems are difficult to expand on in five years’ time, it is usually best to go for the battery capacity you estimate to need in the future.
Ground Mount stand or rooftop installation.
Choosing the right racking usually comes down to a combination of cost and available space. Many times, it can be cheaper alternative getting a car port section built instead of ground mount stand. The space underneath can then be useful in many ways including a place for the inverter and battery bank.More FAQs