Living Off-grid with Solar Energy Storage
These days, many potential solar clients dream of living off-grid because they want to be self-sufficient and have greater energy freedom. “Going off-grid” seems to be all the rage.
Utilised by people living in remote or rural areas where the cost to connect to the grid is high or for anyone who would like to disconnect from the grid completely, off-grid solar systems are becoming more and more accessible due to the price and high-quality components. Although an off-grid lifestyle is appealing to some, it’s not for everyone. The truth is that living off-grid requires more diligence to available sunshine, power loads, and battery capacity than a grid-tied home.
What does go off-grid mean?
In theory, living off-grid means you live independently from public utilities, meeting all of your own energy needs on-site. Most commonly, this is achieved using solar energy.
Public utilities are the companies that supply you with the energy, water, gas or other services you use in your house every day. The public infrastructure supporting these utilities has been in place for many years, and it encompasses the production, transportation and distribution of energy throughout a region or community. Any adjustments to this infrastructure require permitting and inspections (and often fees) so that the rest of the grid stays stable and safe.
But now that so many localized renewable energy options are available, people are realizing we can decentralize the power grid. This would eliminate a great deal of public costs—both financial and environmental —surrounding energy and infrastructure.
Going Off-Grid: Considerations
When you decide to go off-grid, you should consider the amount of power that you need at any one time and the length of time that energy will need to be provided during periods of no or reduced sun.
We’ll start with the amount of power needed first. These are electrical appliances that use the largest share of electricity in your home. Make a list of these for your house. If any of these loads are powered by natural gas and not electricity, they don’t have to be included. The more of these loads on your list, the more energy you need to make sure they can be powered when the grid is down.
Second, you typically have appliances on continuously for example a refrigerator, lights, and ceiling fans. Then, of course, you also have loads on occasion, like a microwave, hairdryer, curling iron, phone charger, TV, and other electrical devices. Now imagine needing to power all of these loads at the same time. That’s why you will need solar energy storage to give you the ability to power your house all the time.
Battery Storage System Benefits
When you invest in a standard solar solution, it typically includes the solar panels and core operating unit. High-end solar panels produce an abundance of electricity while the sun shines, and that can help you meet your energy demands throughout the day. But what happens after the sun goes down—or during inclement weather? That’s when a battery storage system comes into play.
An intelligent battery storage system collects and saves the excess energy your panels generate during the day. If you’ve ever experienced an extended power outage due to a natural disaster or winter storm, it’s easy to remember how vulnerable you felt. When you live off the grid, having a solution in place is especially critical, as it may take time for help to reach you during challenging times. Battery storage helps you stay online during a grid failure or emergency. Energy is stored in your battery system, and then can be used to power your whole house, support your secure loads or prioritize critical appliances. For example, if someone in your house requires a medical device or you need environmentally critical heating or cooling solutions, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your power needs will be covered. A solar battery solution is an integrated device that works with your solar system, and can even be scaled up if your energy demands increase.
Solar power can help you get the independence you want, without sacrificing your security or comfort. Pairing your solar system with a battery storage solution increases your independence without increasing your electricity bill or environmental footprint—and powers the dream of off-the-grid living.