Off-grid systems

So you want to go off grid. First of all, let's back up a bit - why do you want to go off-grid?

In our experience there are two basic reasons people want to go off-grid:

  • 1 - For money (ie. to save it)
  • 2 - For peace of mind (ie. philisophical reasons such as the environment or for energy security)

The first reason is dependent entirely on how far you are away from the utility and how much energy you plan to consume. We can work out these numbers in detail with you but here are some things you should know:

  • Grid electricity is cheap and reliable. Replacing that service is expensive. Generally, going off-grid when hydro is nearby does not have a payback period. Something as common as replacing batteries every 10-15 years in an off-grid energy system will swallow any hope for cost effectiveness.
  • Most off-grid homes rely on a fossil fuelled generator to meet peak energy requirements during the winter months when the sun isn't shining or the wind not blowing. Generators need regular service and fuel.
Hunter House - an off-grid house

The second reason is a little more tricky as money is always a factor in there as well, but here are some things to consider:

  • A batteryless grid-tied solar electric system is the most environmentally friendly way to use the technology. Unlike being off-grid, you always have a place to put excess energy (the grid will always buy it). If you are off-grid and you are away for a few days and your batteries are fully charged excess energy goes no where. This is poor efficiency.
  • Batteries need replacement. While batteries are one of the few prodcuts in our economy that are well recycled, this recycling takes energy.
  • Batteries have charging and discharging in-efficiencies. For every 1 unit of energy you put into a battery you will get only 0.75 - 0.85 units out.
  • In most cases, a connection to the grid eliminates the need for a back-up fossil fueled generator. Fossil fueled generators are not especially clean buring nor quiet.
  • Over 80% of the world's solar electric capacity is installed as batteryless grid-tied. It benefits the entire grid.
  • Most power outages last for less than 1 hour. To get through longer outages, a battery back-up system can be installed to get you up to 72 hours of power security. For outages longer than this, either solar capacity or a fossil fueled generator will be required.

So, now back to your question - what is possible for you?

We always start with a load analysis. The load analysis gives us a rough idea of off-grid or on-grid system cost. Feel free to download our sample load analysis, fill in the values and send it back to us. Once we have this we can have a more substantive conversation about your specific needs.

Our off-grid projects: Hunter House, Simmons House

It has been a great pleasure working with you, the project has gone very smoothly. We are very pleased and we look forward to continuing our relationship with you over the next 20 years as we generate power.
I was a great relief to find Generation Solar, after having numerous unpleasant dealings with my initial installer. Their responsiveness and professionalism were top notch. They represented me in dealings with my equipment manufacturer over a warranty issue and produced results that I don't feel I could have on my own. Most importantly, they did what they said they would and kept me informed every step of the way. I would not hesitate recommending Generation Solar and look forward to a continued relationship with them.
I just wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the system you and your team installed. Things have been running great. Checking the inverter for the daily output has been part of my routine, and I enjoy counting the kW. Thanks so much for all the work, professionalism and guidance on this project. You and your team are great.
Wanted you to know that Jackson and Geordie were Amazing and very helpful, hard working in the heat. They did an Awesome job and were very tidy, a hot weather bonus is probably in order though they did say they love working for you.

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