Is Off Grid Solar Right For You?

Going off the grid and freeing yourself from the eternal cycle of monthly electricity bills is a very appealing idea, and at least on the surface, it seems like a viable power generating option.

Nothing is stopping any home or business in any location from installing off-grid solar provided there is sun and space for the solar panels it can be done in the inner city or the suburbs. However, the big factor is system installation cost vs payback time.

So here is how an off-grid solar power system works:

During the day the solar panels generate electricity, this power ends up in two places, 1- it gets used in the home, and 2 -  it is used to charge a bank of deep cycle batteries.

When the sun is no longer powering the solar panels, the energy stored in the batteries can be drawn upon to get you through the night or until the panels become active again and the charging/power consuming cycle starts again. Then you can say goodbye to the grid and give up your life as a coal junkie.

So what are the drawbacks of going off the grid?

Off-grid solar power systems cost much more to design and install compared to a grid connect system because they need:

  • A large bank of deep cycle batteries.
  • An electronic charge controller to maintain and control battery charging.
  • A secure, well-ventilated weatherproof shed to house the batteries and associated electronic components.
  • Much more ongoing maintenance is required to keep an off-grid system performing at peak capacity.

So after taking into account the extra cost and system maintenance why would anyone choose an off-grid system?

Here are a couple of reasons why off-grid may be an excellent solar option:

1) You live in a remote location where there is no power grid and no possibility of there ever being one built in the future.

2) You live in a large or rural property, and there is a grid power line on the main road. However, the price of laying a cable X-kM's to your desired point of usage is higher than the cost of a decent off-grid system, which is around $23,000+/-.

3) You have connected to the grid already and operating some electrical device or machinery that is critical and needs a 100% up-time power supply with no chance of interruptions or blackouts.

4) You don't care about the $25,00 cost and want the freedom and joy solar can bring into your life!

In summary with today's technology and the price factor of off-grid systems, the economics don't add up for going off the grid for most Australian homeowners.

A more detailed article about going off the grid can be found here - Does An Off Grid Solar System Make Sense For You?