Solar power is rapidly transforming into a popular source of electricity generation. From solar farms set up by governments and corporations to commercial solar setups and residential solar panels – more and more people have begun to adopt solar power for its benefits and sustainability. For people who live in faraway places where electricity is not easily accessible – or for those who don’t want to rely on power plants for their electricity – going off-grid is a good idea. What is off-grid? Let’s dive into the dynamics of off-grid solar power.
Off-grid simply means that you’re no longer connected to the main power grid supplied by power plants. Off-grid solar refers to an independent solar power module that can fulfil the power needs of your home without tapping into any networked power grids. Off-grids are rising in popularity, as the cost of installing solar panels is falling.
How Does It Work?
The system consists of an array of solar panels, which absorbs sunrays to convert them into electricity. The number and area of the panels depends on the amount of electricity required to be produced. The panel rating needs to be selected based on a number of other factors, such as loses in the system, the capacity factor and changing weather conditions. The electricity produced by the panel is then stored in a battery. The inverter then converts the direct current (DC) from the battery into alternating current (AC) required by appliances and delivers it to your home. The rating of the inverter must satisfy maximum loading conditions.
Advantages of Using Off-Grid Solar Systems
For people with little or no access to the grid, off-grid solar systems help to supply continuous and uninterrupted electricity for all household needs. The Australian government offers a number of incentives at the central and state level to encourage the use of solar power, based on the needs of customers. A number of incentive programs are held from time to time to promote the adoption of off-grid solar systems.
Disadvantages of Using Off-Grid Solar Systems
Although some incentives are offered by the government, the initial investment required for installation of a solar system remains high. This cost is difficult to digest for people living in smaller towns without large enough incomes.
If the system goes unused for a long time, or if the system is not regularly maintained, the batteries may wear out and must be replaced. Replacing batteries often can be an expensive proposition. That’s why solar systems need extra care and maintenance.
When the sky is heavily overcast for days at a stretch, people may need a secondary power source such as a diesel generator to fulfil their home’s power needs. This becomes a drawback in winter and poor weather conditions.
Although off-grid solar power has drawbacks, the advantages far exceed the problems. Efforts are being made to minimise these drawbacks as much as possible to optimise the use of a solar powered system. Off-grid solar power systems are being used more and more throughout Australia and every system installed takes the country one-step closer to becoming a sustainable nation.
If you’re considering an off-grid solar setup, contact Hush today and we can talk you through it.