Offgrid of the domestic home has been a topic for debate over a number of years, and the most common question is Can it be done not only cost effectively, but also allow a household to function normally, as we would day to day?? If you read past the 5 bullet points below, you may understand why current thinking on Offgrid is well off the mark and why uptake is so slow.
Off Grid My Home by Renewable Biz simply looks at how and what is required to achieved a true off grid solution with today's technology including simply solutions using the Nomad PDU, or, we can build fit for purpose in home solutions inlcuding commercial grade powerdistribution units.
The perception in the market is that battery technology is not advanced enough to provide a viable offgrid option. The fact is that battery technology and pricing is about as good as it is going to get! have you noticed that mobile phones became realy cheap and now they are increasing in cost!! Lithium is the cheapest it will ever be, so waiting for the price to come down will be a long wait.
What does this mean for offgrid consideration? There are some basic understandings that you need to consider or open you mind to, before you can even consider a true off grid solution.
- If you want to continue to convert your solar panel catchment from DC to AC which is how or solar systems in the home typically work - with a large inverter say 5kw then you lose about 30% of the power in the conversion, so there is an efficiency issue. and then you convert much of that back to DC? with transformers such as in your laptope, routers, printer, cctv, alfresco lighting , low voltage pumps and so on. So you are losing about 50% efficiency by converting twice at least?
- Secondly - and most importantly, to run a typical home, the battery storage required is significant? and Why? becasue we contiually increase the power requirement of every accessory in the home! and increasing continually - there was a time that a 300watt microwave was the best, then 500,700, 1000, 1200 watt is the norm. We keep thinking we need more powerful accessories in the home.
- .The only people to get rich out of this is your retailer selling electrical accessories and the government increasing our bills as we get more hungry for more power !- not to mention the coal fire power neccessity, and destruction of climate issue, if you keep thinking more wattage means better product then you will never become self reliant without significant cost.
- Battery technology and pricing is as good as it will get, and if you continue to think that there is going to be a compact 20kg battery that has endless storage and power supply then it wont be in any of our lifetimes. The current battery offerings are ridiculously expensive and do not provide a return on investment and probably never will. so how do you Off Grid?
There is a simple and viable solution though if you take the blinkers off.
Unfortunatley we have that tunnel vision perspective on power, and that is we need AC, its the power that we all think is absolutely needed to run a household - Coal Fire Power (240v) to run our daily needs.
Please Note: Your solar panels efficiently produce DC (Direct Current) Power, we are then converting to AC and losing efficiency in the conversion! (Aprox 25-30%)
Please Consider: What if we did not have to convert the power to AC? and all our accessories ran off DC, either 12 or 24 volt instead of 240 (AC) volt, which requires converting the current that comes out of your panels! The current thinking is completley out of date and will never give you an option to consider in the home without considerable expense and poor financial return, so you are better off always paying synergy or you power supplier, whcih is exaclty what the govenermnet prerers in our view.
Energy Efficient Homes: If every appliance in the home required low voltage/low current and amperage, then it would require LESS STORAGE OF POWER - and 80 percent less physical batteries on site which equals massive cost saving, and will return value for money.
Real Life Example Current Thinking - Most modern homes have downlights for example that have a 12 volt transformer at each light that reduces the current to 12 volt from (AC 240v), so we think thats an efficient light? it isnt becasue we are converting AC to DC and in the current thinking, you would be dowlnloading DC current from the panels if you had a battery then converting to AC and then back to DC to power your lights!!!! - This simply highlights how we have things wrong in so many ways, that are not efficient.
DC/AC - Whats the difference? - Like VHS and BETA tapes, the BETA tape was actually better than the VHS tape, but the VHS became the commercial norm, quite simply it was worth more to certain people, contracts and agreements etc.at the time and it was adopted as mainstream, as is AC..
AC - Means Alternating current (240volt or 220 in other countries is typical)
DC - Means direct current - Typically 12 -48 volt - so low voltage low current.
DC uses very little power and every accessory in the home is avalailable in DC!!
Why do we need AC then? - Many accessories such as welders, drills, plasma guns, and other industrial equipment need the punch of AC - However that represents less than 2% of our home needs, but we have 100 percent of our power being AC, maybe thats a political question.
DC Accessories - 95 percent of your home accessories can be replaced with DC (Low voltage) product including the all important LCD , High def smart TV and airconditioning. DC Accessories are typically built to use as little power as possible with maximum functionality.