HERE’S HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR OFF-GRID SYSTEM | Off-Grid Energy Stuff

HERE’S HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR OFF-GRID SYSTEM

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We fully appreciate it’s difficult to understand all the ins and outs of designing an Off-Grid solar system and that’s why you get an expert to do it for you. However, we always recommend you have a good understanding of the analysis behind the design of your specific Off-Grid system.

How to analyse your energy usage

Anything that is plugged in and can be turned on uses electricity. Your home energy usage needs to be broken down into bite size pieces to calculate how much energy you need to go Off-Grid. Find out what, where, when and how you use energy in your home i.e. what are your daytime household routines (washing machine, vacuum cleaning, dishwasher, cooking etc.), what are your night time activities? Do you watch TV? What lights do you use and leave on? Do you boil the kettle for evening tea?

The amount of time you run an appliance is just as critical as the power that it draws.

Energy that we consume (Wh or kWh)

The energy we consume is measured in watt-hours (Wh), or kilowatt-hours (kWh). 1000Wh equals

1kWh. To calculate energy consumption, you simply multiply the appliance’s wattage (W) by the number of hours you use it to find the number of watt-hours. You can find the wattage normally on a sticker somewhere on your appliance.

POWER (W) x TIME(h) = ENERGY (Wh, kWh)

EXAMPLE 1

A 500W washing machine needs 500 watts of power to make it work and uses 500Wh of energy in an hour (0.5kWh). If you run the machine 1½ hour it uses 500W x 1.5 = 750Wh (0.75kWh).

EXAMPLE 2

An electric Kettle rated at 1800W uses about 90Wh over 3 minutes (1800/60min x 3min).

That’s only 0.09kWh BUT it requires the system to deliver the required 1800W (1.8kW) instantly.

This is where the inverter’s maximum output capacity becomes important


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