OFF GRID SOLAR POWER
An off grid system is sometimes called a Stand-alone Power System (SAPS) or Remote Area Power Systems (RAPS). These are generally used where access to a grid
connection is either not possible or very expensive. Some people choose to have their own system, even if a grid connection is possible, because they want to be in total control of their energy usage.
Living with an off grid solar system involves developing some degree of energy discipline because, unlike the grid, the capacity of the system is limited. A user must learn to operate within the limits of the system or utilise the services of a backup generator. Systems can be configured in many ways so a design process will be undertaken to size the system to meet your needs.
Cost saving benefits
An off grid system can be considerably lower in price than a grid connection if you are building in a location that does not have ready access to the grid. In some locations this could be as little as a few hundred meters away. Once a system is installed the running cost is generally the battery aging costs and the fuel & maintenance costs for the backup generator. The system will generally be incorporated into, or located in close proximity to, the building it will service to limit the cost of underground cables. A well operated and maintained system means no power cuts or rising power bills.
Good for the environment
The components of our solar power systems are selected for quality and long service life. The only part that has a relatively finite life is the battery and when this is replaced the old battery is sent away for recycling. Most good photovoltaic (pv) panels carry 25 year performance warranties with a working life well in excess of this. Manufacturers are increasingly striving to make products that are easier to recycle.
With an off grid system you are taking responsibility for your electricity consumption. You are not relying on services with high infrastructure costs, an infrastructure that is coming under increasing pressure. Electricity is being generated and stored at the point of use rather than being transmitted over many hundreds of kilometres with the associated losses.
Part of the design process will involve discussions about energy efficiency so it is desirable that these talks take place before any fixed decisions are made about your building or appliances.