A guide to power generation when living off the grid
- 17 August 2018
Either way, there’s a lot more to consider when living off the grid than just installing some solar panels on the roof. Here are the vital ingredients to a working off-grid solution.
Just like the fuel-conscious driver wouldn’t cruise the highways with their windows down and their aircon up, people who are choosing to go off the grid need to take some vital elements into consideration when choosing or renovating their home. For example, position solar panels so they take the best advantage of the sun’s travel path through the sky, have wind turbines in clear, high areas and replace windows with ones that keep more heat inside the house to lower the impact of cold winter months.
Take an accurate assessment of how much power your house and all its devices use in an average day and use that to base equipment purchasing decisions on. You may be surprised at how much juice your computer or old washing machine use during a day. Get wind turbines, solar panels and batteries installed by a certified technician and ensure they will supply enough energy not just in peak production but can also handle adverse conditions such as persistent cloud cover or periods of no wind.
Learn about your equipment
It’s not enough to just have the equipment in place, quietly converting the sun’s rays into usable energy. You will also need to know how to properly care for, monitor and maintain these devices. Ask the people installing the equipment to guide you through the basics such as how to see current levels of battery storage and energy usage or the best methods for cleaning solar panels. It’s not advisable to repair the complex and often dangerous electronics inside a battery panel, but it is good to know how they work and how to prolong their lifespan.
Make the right lifestyle changes
Even as the performance capabilities of modern renewable energy systems increase, you will still need to make some small adjustments to how your house operates on a day-to-day basis. For example, ensure the devices in your home can fall into a standby mode when they have not been used, or be set to use less power in off-peak hours. Keep doors closed early in winter and open windows in summer to reduce strain on temperature controls inside the house.
Have a backup plan with a power generator
Even with a raft of solar or wind power generators on site, there will be times when there just isn’t enough energy being supplied to the house. That’s why it’s important to have a power generator on-site ready to kick in when your battery level falls beneath a certain level or when the system can see that energy input is being dwarfed by usage.
There are many models of power generators available for off-grid living and are designed to give you extra power the second you need it. A 2400-watt portable generator will keep basic home appliances and energy-efficient lights running for many hours, and you should consider a larger, dedicated generator that recharges your solar batteries overnight. While cheap generators have flooded the market recently, they should be avoided as many of them are not designed for prolonged repeated use.
A reliable fuel supplier like Bulk Fuel Australia will ensure that your power generators are always full and ready to use at a moment’s notice. We have a specialised fleet of refuelling tankers that can access sites that are not only off the grid but also off the map. The trucks are designed to supply power generators of any shape and size, from houses to industrial installations.
At Bulk Fuel Australia, we ensure a reliable, clean supply of generator fuel for on-site refuelling at even the most remote locations around the country. Contact Bulk Fuel Australia to see what energy supply options are right for you.