If you are from Bathurst, New South Wales and considering installing solar power for your home but are not able or willing to connect to the main electricity grid, you can choose an off-grid system. Off-grid or stand alone solar power is the solution if a grid-connected one is not feasible. Residential solar PV systems in Australia are commonly installed in the electricity mains grid. When the sun shines or even when it does not, solar cells generate electricity. An inverter converts DC electricity into 240V AC electricity used by households.
Reasons Why Off-Grid is the Solution
There are several reasons why households and even business owners go off-grid, but commonly, this system is used in remote areas where connecting to the local grid is impossible or expensive or in locations where power in the grid
is inconsistent. There are instances when technologies are combined with solar PV, such as small wind turbine or micro-hydro system and they are used to provide power for home or business use. Some use a backup generator to supply power if the renewable system cannot meet the demand. Living off the grid gives you independence on the electric utility for your solar power can provide you with the power you need. Due to this, most off-grid systems are larger than grid connected types. An array of solar panels and greater storage capacity are needed. If done properly, off-grid solar PV can be truly cost-efficient.
Before Going Off-Grid
Your power use is an important consideration before going off the grid. You might have to make some adjustments with how you use electricity or live within the limitations of your system in order to make it reasonable in terms of cost. This means a more conscientious use of energy is needed. The designer of the system determines your electric consumption especially during peak period of winter when there might be greater demand than production. Talking to people from Bathurst whom you know uses off-grid solar PV is also helpful for they can give you actual information.
Pros and Cons
Off-grid solar PV is easy to maintain and can even be controlled online, especially the modern systems. Batteries are efficient and the quality of power produced may be better. If you are using this and not the traditional grid connected solar, it does not mean you do not get rebates or incentives. This means financial incentives are also available for those choosing off the grid system. You are still eligible to receive credits subsidy, which is also based on the REC or Renewable Energy Certificates. However, your system must be new and full. You may have to allot a bigger space for batteries or other components of your system. Some off-grid users also complain about having to replace batteries every three years.
How It Works
Solar panels produce DC electricity routed to a charge controller or solar regulator through wiring. This regulates charging made by the battery bank. DC appliances can be powered either by a power inverter or off the battery to supply household appliances with standard electricity. The number of panels you may need may vary, but generally, a 75 to 120 watts solar panel is needed for every 200 AH battery. The number of batteries needed in a household may depend on your energy consumption. Small appliances with less energy requirement may use 100 AH battery with the right-sized solar panel. A household may require more battery capacity. It is best to contact a solar PV expert who can accurately answer your questions, including solar quotes. For your convenience, comparing solar quotes in Bathurst, New South Wales online is possible, just to give you an idea.