Getting “off the grid” is quickly becoming a reality for many Australian home-owners. I’m not talking about disappearing into a Tron inspired wasteland, but rather the possibility of disconnecting your home from mains power and relying 100% on the energy your solar panels produce.
Source: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/234400 By Jutta.
As the quality of storage batteries improves and becomes more affordable, coupled with the rising costs of power in Australia, off-grid solar setups are a topic of hot discussion, which has been further fuelled by Telsa’s announcement to use Australia as its testing ground for their Powerwall product.
Building an off grid solar home will necessarily involve the installation of solar panels if you don’t have them installed already. Opting for the off-grid type of installation offers a few advantages over mains power based solar setups. For starters, off-grid solar energy will not fall prey to problems resulting from power outages.
Solar energy stored in a grid also tends to be costly as this will depend on the price set by the grid operator. Building an off grid solar home should result in a significant drop in charges, with the owner of the solar panel having the option to conveniently save the harnessed energy via the accompanying storage battery.
Additionally, solar energy intended to power the home can be initiated even by the home-owners themselves. A growing number of do-it-yourself guides are being submitted online where the process of installing solar panels in the home are clearly discussed. Building an off grid solar home has thus become a lot easier in recent years. Although with many solar companies only honouring warranties for professionally installed systems, it might be worth contacting an installer such as Brisbane Solar Needs, to ensure your system is covered.
Source: https://pixabay.com/en/solar-panels-placement-green-energy-944002/ By MaryLucas
Of course, solar energy produced off-grid has not been without its share of criticisms. A major point of contention has to do with the reliability of the energy produced. Obviously, power generated from solar grids is more reliable as this is readily available at any given time. In other words, access to grid-based solar power is practically limitless.
In terms of energy storage, the off-grid model is said to throw away some of the energy stored in its system. This usually happens when the battery has become fully charged and there is no more room that will make way for the excess energy. The scenario is quite common during summer, and what many solar panel owners often do is find a way to make good use of the available power rather than simply throwing this away.
This brings us to the next common criticism of off-grid solar power - the limited capacity of the solar battery. This becomes especially obvious when summer time rolls around. During this period, more than enough solar energy can be produced but the standard solar battery could hardly contain all of this. As a result, a good amount of summer energy gets wasted unnecessarily. That being said, combining a 4kW solar system with a 7kW battery system would cover 92% of the average Australian household’s energy consumption (12kW). Plus if you were to combine other energy efficient products with your setup such as solar lights, roof ventilation, or solar hot water systems, the off-grid solar solution becomes even more effective.
Despite these perceived disadvantages, off-grid system are becoming quite popular, especially in areas where electricity rates are high. Building an off grid solar home is obviously an effective means of cutting down on mains power consumption.
Home-based solar energy generation is also unaffected by power outages. This is easily the best selling point of solar power as the average household no longer needs to rely heavily on commercial suppliers for their electricity needs. It’s also much better for the environment!
Building an off grid solar home however, tends to be quite expensive. This is especially true during the installation stage as a number of parts and products will have to be purchased. After the installation, there are the maintenance costs that have to be considered as well. Still, there are ways of reducing the expected expenses by doing your homework and finding reliable and cost effective panel and battery options. Building an off grid solar home is mainly dependent on the battery. As such, it’s a good idea to understand how a solar battery works, and the various means by which its life can be prolonged or extended.
As the cost of power in Australia is only expected to rise, it really does make sense to go solar down under. They don’t call us the sunburnt country for nothing!