Off-Grid Solar

Understand your Off-Grid Solar Power System

The cost of connecting rural properties to the electricity grid can run to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars and more and more Australians are choosing to install a standalone power or off-grid solar power system.

When properly designed, installed and maintained an off-grid solar power system can be more reliable than grid power. In the last few years inverter and battery technology has rapidly improved in both quality and reliability, however most systems still rely on outdated installation methods and as such may not deliver the results required.

Our fully designed systems are available in a range of sizes to suit most off-grid energy requirements however we can also custom design a standalone solar power system to suit your specific needs and budget.

Each of our standalone systems include premium components such as Selectronic SP Pro Inverter/Chargers, Victron Inverters and MPPT regulators, LGREC or Risen solar panels, Sealed Gel, AGM or lithium batteries.

All our off-grid systems are designed with the following parameters;

  • Minimum of 2 days autonomy
  • 4 peak sun hours per day
  • 50% minimum charge in battery bank (following minimum of 2 days autonomous usage)

We can also incorporate an auto-start generator into your system to ensure you never run out of power even if the sun isn’t shining.

3 things to consider when looking at an Off-Grid solar power system

  • What is your household electricity load profile?  Every home is different and there is no one size fits all solution for an off-grid solar power system. It is important that we understand how much power your home will use and when you will use that power i.e. during the day or mainly at night. This information will enable our system designers to calculate exactly what size battery bank you need to meet your needs and how many solar panels will be required to efficiently charge the batteries.

 

  • What is the maximum power peak of your home going to be?  Your inverter charger must be sized to the meet and preferably exceed the maximum power peak of the household. Or to put it another way, if you are using your washing machine, cooking a meal in a microwave, watching TV and boiling the kettle for a cup of tea all at the same time, the inverter charger must be able to deliver enough electricity to power all of those activities at exactly the same time. A 3kW SP Pro (SPMC240) can only supply 3,000 watts of continuous power although, like all, SP Pro models it does have significant surge capacity.

 

  • How many batteries do you require?  The battery bank is the most important and most expensive part of your off-grid solar power system. Correct sizing of your battery bank will ensure maximum battery life, minimal generator use and hassle-free, efficient operation of your system for years to come.

For more information on Off Grid solar power systems please read our Off-Grid Battery masterclass blog Part 1 and Part 2

AC Coupled vs DC Coupled Off-Grid Solar Power

There are 2 types of Off-Grid solar power systems, AC coupled and DC Coupled.

AC Coupled.

In an AC Coupled system the DC power from the solar panels is converted into AC electricity via a normal grid connect inverter such as the Selectronic certified Fronius Primo. The AC power flows into the Selectronic SP Pro and can be used directly by appliances in the home without going into and out of the batteries.

Excess power, not required by the household load(s), is converted back into DC and this is then used to charge the batteries. At night, or when demand exceeds the amount of power being produced by the solar panels, power will be drawn from the batteries.

This installation method is perfect for homes requiring large amounts of power during daylight hours to run items such as washing machines, pumps, etc and allows the solar panels to be some distance away from the battery bank. This is the preferred method of installing larger off-grid solar power systems.

DC Coupled.

In an DC Coupled system the power from the solar panels is used to directly charge the batteries via a suitable MPPT solar regulator / charge controller. This is a more efficient method of charging a battery bank and is primarily used for smaller off-grid systems or when little or no daytime power is required. An inverter will be convert the DC power stored in the batteries into AC whenever power is required by the home.

With this method the batteries must be installed as close as possible to the solar panels to prevent high voltage losses in the DC cabling.

Most Off-Grid solar power systems installed today are AC Coupled.

Contact us today about Off-Grid Solar

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