Submitted by Andrew on Mon, 12/10/2020 - 14:04
So you want to go off grid

Going off-grid is an appealing prospect for many people. With rising electricity prices, there are certainly obvious benefits to being able to produce and consume your own electricity. Especially in places with an unreliable connection to the grid, or areas so remote, there is no consistent grid available, there are definitely good reasons to consider a self-sufficient power system.

But as appealing as it may sound, we would not advise this option to most people, unless you truly have no alternative.

Generally, the only reason to go off-grid is if your home has no grid connection in the first place, or its connection is very unstable. In the case of the former, yes we would recommend a large-scale off-grid system capable of providing power for your entire home, with further backup systems such as gas generators on standby. In the case of the latter, however, and in almost all other cases, we would not recommend going entirely off-grid.

Many people underestimate just how difficult covering an entire household’s power and energy needs 24/7 will be. Consider this, if your battery can only generate 6 kW, but your air conditioning requires 7 kW to start up, then, when you attempt to turn your air conditioning on, your power will shut off entirely. Your air-con may usually only consume 3-4 kW when running, but, like many devices, there is a large draw of power when it initially starts up, which your battery may not be able to provide.

On top of this, without a grid connection, you cannot sell your surplus energy back to the grid, and you won’t have anything to fall back upon should your system malfunction. In general, an off-grid solar energy system design process is also far more rigorous as off-grid components are not easily replaced should they fail. You will also require significant upgrades to your home’s electricity system, especially whenever you want to install a large item with a significant power requirement.

It is for these reasons and more that we do not recommend going completely off-grid unless you have no other alternative. Instead, when people approach us with the idea of going off-grid, we recommend that they install a back-up capable solar battery system. This will mean that, if they have an unreliable connection to the grid, they will be able to fall back on their solar PV system when the grid fails, and export energy to the grid when it is going strong and their battery is full. A backup-ready system will provide similar savings to those that one may expect from being entirely off-grid, without nearly as many additional expenses and risks included. 

In summary, while going off-grid may seem like an attractive option, it is far more difficult than one may initially imagine, and will often create a less reliable system than you would have had otherwise, as one component failing can put your home at a fair degree of risk. So, unless you truly have no other option, your best bet is instead to investigate into a backup-ready PV system, which will supplement what the grid can provide you, in addition to providing excellent savings for your home.

If you would like to learn more about battery systems, view our battery storage range, or check out what specials we currently have available.