Small Off Grid systems are great as a budget-directed start point from which to grow if and when needed.
Or if the load is just lower than a normal home a system can be designed to suit. Pump-houses, huts, batches, sheds and other low demand situations can easily be supplies with an Off-Grid Solar Power System.
As an example, a system we designed to run a container batch for Architect Greg Noble was featured in the Home Magazine, Christmas 2013. This system was designed to run a Smeg refrigerator, Coffee machine, Lights and some iPad and phone chargers (all the essentials!).
The price for a system like this cost around $6k to $12k with a lot of room to move depending on your particular requirements and future plans.
The Sounds Retreat is the luxury accommodation in the Marborough Sounds. This exclusive single unit lodge has all the mod cons from spa to coffee machine and the power bill to go with it - but that's changed recently! We spent many hours, calls and emails discussing with Tony about various systems from going completely Off Grid to a Grid Interactive arrangement and we finally settled on a Grid Tied system that youd produce enough energy as we could from the available roof space. We managed to install exactly 10kW of Panels, tilted up to 31 degrees North on the 10 degree South facing roof. Tilting isn't always the best economic choice for Grid Tie systems but in this case it was essential. (Here's a video explaining the economics of tilting an array.)
Using Enphase Micro-Inverters we have overcome all the shading issues and the system also eeks out the very last drop of sunshine in the late afternoon as the sun drops behind the native bush clad hilll that the lodge is nestled into.
So the results? Over the first month of operation the system has produced 1.34MWh that's 1.34 Million watt hours in one month or 1340 kWh which equates to around $250 - $375 depending on the level of Self-Consumption Tony manages each day. Considering The Lodge averages around 20kWh per day (the same as a normal NZ household) it looks as if they are well on their way to operating bill free and maybe even making a small income from the sun. Time will tell and it all really depends on the guests' electrical requirements but suffice to day as with most of our customers the glare doesn't come from the panels, it comes from their teeth!
Oh, and here's us tidying up (the most important part of the job!)
AAA Tough Plumbing and Drainage is a Successful Cromwell business with large power bills and five tenants in their property. Andrew Tough did his research and found an Australian Solar Panel supplier who could offer 37kW of coverage of his roof area. After contacting S4SOLAR Andrew realised that by using higher efficiency panels he could get over 42kW out of his roof. The inverters are EnaSolar 3.8kW single string MPPT Grid Tie Inverters and there are 11 of them. Ben Stanton from S4SOLAR advised Andrew on all the options including using two 20kW 3phase inverters which would have been cheaper. The decision to go with EnaSolar was twofold. Supporting a Christchurch manufacturer was important at the time but "The real benefit of using a greater number of inverters for a large solar array is the mitigation of risk. If one inverter fails in the future then the rest of the system continues to make power, this is quite significant when this system can produce well over $400 worth of power each week during the summer." says Mr Stanton. Currently the system is on track for a 7.5 year payback judging by the amount of power it is producing and the increasing cost of buying power from the national grid. "It (power) just keeps going up and up but for my business half of it is now Locked down at around 9cents" Says Andrew with a big grin.
For Some more real-time info on some of the systems we are installing have a look at our Facebook feed.