Why Off-Grid Living?
There are a variety of reasons that people choose to live off-grid, for some it make sense economically, others like the independence it provides, others prefer it for the reduced environmental impact. Whatever your reasons Dandelion Renewables can design and install a system to suit your needs.
What is an Off-Grid PV System?
An off-grid system is a solar system that is not connected to the electric grid, these systems are most commonly used in remote locations but works well anywhere. Off-grid systems have a few more components than grid-tie systems, such as a charge controller or solar inverter, a battery bank, battery-based inverter, as well as optional monitoring and automation equipment.
As there is only as much power available as what has been generated by the solar system, once the battery bank has been depleted, if there is no back-up power source then there will be no power.
Off-grid PV system design differs substantially from the design of a grid-tie system. Each project has to be carefully planned around the home’s daily and seasonal electrical usage, as well as daily and seasonal availability of the sun. The PV system must be able to keep the battery bank charged, we also frequently recommend having a back-up generator.
Dandelion Renewables always takes time to plan and design an off-grid system prior to construction. We saw and fixed too many off-grid systems that poorly performed of the years due to design flaws. Our design includes decomposition of AC and DC power loads, balancing solar PV system and the battery bank capacity to a given days of autonomy, sizing battery-based and generator. In the end of this design process, we issue a 15-page report summarizing all projected loads, electrical design of the recommended system as well as options to consider.
Since 2012 our company designed and installed many off-grid systems, using different components and new concepts, including installing li-ion battery banks, designing and building AC-Coupled systems and trackers.
Benefits of Off-Grid PV Systems
- Off-grid solar can be a financially viable solution for sites with high interconnection costs or locations where power generation and consumption can be automated
- There is no power bill, off-grid owners do not experience the price spikes and additional transmission charges that grid-tie users will face
- Off-grid systems are in influenced when there is a power outage
- Solar systems generally help to improve energy efficiency by putting electricity generation and consumption in the owner’s hands
Shortfalls of Off-Grid PV Systems
- Off-grid systems are more expensive than either a grid-tie system or simply being connected to the electric grid
- Maintenance is crucial in off-grid systems and mistakes can lead to premature replacement of parts such as batteries
- There is a negative environmental impact from most batteries
Living with an off-grid solar system will likely impact how and when you use electricity and will perhaps help your life-style to become more sustainable. Our recommended operations and maintenance services for off-grid projects will provide on going support and piece of mind. Going off grid is a long-term investment and we are here on the journey with you.