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- New Off-Grid Systems - Design, Supply and Installation.
- Existing System Diagnostics, Repairs, Upgrades and Battery Replacement.
Things to consider when going off-grid:
Are you more than 200M from the nearest Grid connection point?
Are you paying over $60/month in lines charges?
Do you just want to be totally independent from the power companies?
The photo above shows a 750M2 home that runs completely off the grid. Their full system cost less than $95k and their cost for a power cable was going to be about $140k - in this case the math works out!
We provide full turnkey systems including PV panels, battery banks, chargers, inverters, generators, all the necessary peripheral devices and most importantly the knowledge to make your alternative energy system out perform the rest (even the grid!)
The Off-Grid Power system is a fully functional Power Generation and Storage Package. You can power anything from an RV or tent right up to a full Industrial Workshop.
The equipment available these days is very robust and capable of providing stable, reliable power for even the toughest of demands.
The most common systems we provide are remote family homes
Here are a few photos of systems we have installed recently that are completely off-the-grid. For further information or to discuss your requirements please call Ben on 021 75 00 24 or see our contact page.
If you are interested we can arrange a personal tour with one of our friendly staff to any of these installations. Please feel free to contact us for further details or have a browse through our General Information section.
There can often be quite a bit of conversation going on in the background as we design a system that suits you. This is mainly around loads (for electricity consumption in the home), what your heating sources will be, even your septic processing system (I strongly recommend Biolytix because they use very little energy), how well insulated your home will be, your choice of generator backup versus larger PV and Battery... All these things need to be worked through.
Pricing: To give you an idea of a ball park price is difficult without first doing the above homework, however here are some examples.
We completed a system for a couple in the Raglan area for $32k incl GST. It was an old school classroom converted to 3 bedrooms, Wood fire for cooking, heating and waterheating with solar water heater for summer heating (this could be unnecessary because the PV system has heaps of excess energy in the summer to be able to give some to the hot water). They also used gas for their cook tops.
An autostart Petrol/Diesel/LPG Generator is an optional extra for the middle of winter but not always required.
Another couple in the Christchurch area had a similar setup. They had to shift their house out of a red zone and it was going to cost them tens of thousands for a grid power connection. Running an old home is difficult but with added benefit of a Honda petrol generator and double the battery size they can use all their existing appliances and an electric oven (we measured the load from the oven very carefully). Total installed cost $55k incl. GST
For these larger fully featured systems (with complete battery monitoring and historical usage datalogging) you are normally going to need to budget about $8000 per KWH of required daily electricity usage. EG. If you want to run a refrigerator and some lights and some other appliances and the daily usage comes out at 2kwh/day then you will be looking at a cost of about $16k incl. GST. This can vary a lot (up to 30% over or under) depending on the particular way you use your electricity. Just one conversation about where to locate your deep freeze could save you $1-2000 in system set up costs, it sounds impossible but it is easier and cheaper to save electricity than it is to make it.
Also, a very interesting trend we are seeing is that Solar Hot Water is now giving way to PV panels, more here...
Another example: Drop right down to the bare basics. One fridge, a coffee machine, toaster and two LED lights - $13k but no guarantees on battery life expectation as this system did not have a battery monitoring system included. The usage is intermittent (every second weekend for a couple of days) and the whole system had to be secure which meant the batteries had to be mounted inside. Our GEL batteries answered both of these concerns and offer the longest life expectation of any other bloc GEL on the market.
Generally the batteries are going to be the most vulnerable and sometimes the most expensive part of your system so it is important to get the right battery type and size for your particular application. (What ever you do please don't just let someone sell you any old deep cycle battery without them first asking you all about your usage, we have been called in to systems supplied and installed by other people and replaced more batteries than we have installed into our own new systems. Some have fallen over in less than two years just due to incorrect sizing and even bad programming.) Having enough grunt in the system to fully recharge the batteries each day is very important, as is not letting them cycle down too low overnight. Cycle depth is directly related to expected lifespan and good information and design at the start of the job can easily triple the life of the batteries.
We will design your system for a 15 - 20 year battery life and then discuss cutting back from there. Your expectation should be that your system will be reliable and robust and will not fail so our initial design is based on the motto "the power is always on".
With battery technology changing so rapidly we have a common question about downsizing the system and replacing the batteries in the future with better and cheaper technology.
This is the conundrum and conversation I have with many many customers. Some main points to keep in mind when considering this are:
Start with fewer Panels. Panels are easy to add to later on - Even your electrician with no solar experience would have no problem doing this, it's simply just installing some more rail (unless we run all the rail initially), clipping the panels on and plugging them into the existing row of panels. We would allow the cable to be long enough so it was easy to do this without having to re-join it. Simpler than an 8 year-old's lego set... (a lot simpler!)
Batteries: 2 things:
1: You can afford to go a lot smaller with batteries especially IF you have a lot of panels (relative to your daily load) The way it works here is that if your load is say 4kWh daily and you have 6kW of panels installed then even in very poor weather your panels will produce your full 4kWh with no direct sunlight. This means that you can reduce your battery size to just see you through one night and you also eliminate the need for a generator. This is called a "generator-less design" it has one main risk: Daily Consumption; if it turns out that you use more energy than predicted then the system fails on low battery.. and 6kW of panels is a LOT of solar!
2: Battery prices are reducing and technology is increasing - not quite at Moore's Law rates but around 8-12% per year at the moment which has a significant impact on design thinking. If you were to look at smaller and a lot cheaper batteries (the old-school flooded lead acid) you can work these harder, they are already properly vented being under the house and you just need to check the water every month or so. You would get a reasonable life out of them (4 - 10 years depending on usage) and by that time you have a lot better options for a replacement set.
This doesn't of course suit everyone because the idea is often to reduce costs for as long as possible so I always quote the 15-20 year battery life design first - As mentioned above, I over-spec' most systems as standard so you'll find that a smaller option will still perform well, I just have this habit of under-promising the performance / over spec'ing the system so that the customer is always pleasantly surprised and very happy (especially through the winter months!) The main impact of a smaller system is a shorter battery life and higher generator usage and both these things can be mitigated by adding more Panels at a later date.
The important work is getting it right at the design stage - the installation is comparatively easy (see lego example above!).
The Complete Off-Grid, Hybrid and Stand-Alone Power Monitoring and Management System.
This system was installed many years after the house was built. We replaced the old solar panels and dead battery system with a completely new setup. Sue only sees 3 hours of sun in the winter months but still has enough power to see her through. She is so happy with her system she has offered to host tours for anybody interested.
This 750 SqM home is fully Off-Grid using SMA equipment we have powered the whole house. You would not know you were powered entirely by the sun, the system just works.
Raglan, New Zealand is one of New Zealand's (and the world's) best surfing beaches.
A 4WD helps sometimes.
Outback Inverter, Solar Controller and Charger set.
Hoppecke Batteries - top quality German batteries designed specifically for the solar industry.