The cost of connecting rural properties to the electricity grid can be incredibly expensive. More and more Australians are choosing to install an off-grid solar power system as an alternative to traditional power options.
When properly designed, installed and maintained, an off-grid solar power system can be more reliable than grid power. In the last few years, inverter and battery technology has rapidly improved in both quality and reliability, however most systems still rely on outdated installation methods and may not deliver the results required.
Our fully designed systems are available in a range of sizes to suit most off-grid energy requirements. We can also custom design a standalone solar power system to suit your specific needs and budget if one of our systems doesn’t work for you.
We can also incorporate an auto-start generator into your system to ensure you never run out of power even if the sun isn’t shining.
Things to consider when looking at a Sunshine Coast Off-Grid solar power system
What is your household electricity load profile?
Every home is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for an off-grid solar power system. It is important that we understand how much power your home will use and when you will use that power, i.e. during the day or mainly at night. This information will enable us to calculate exactly what size battery bank you need to meet your needs and how many solar panels will be required to efficiently charge the batteries.
What is the maximum power peak of your home going to be?
Your Victron inverter charger must be sized to meet and preferably exceed the maximum power peak of the household. Or, to put it another way, if you are using your washing machine, cooking a meal in a microwave, watching TV and boiling the kettle for a cup of tea all at the same time, the inverter charger must be able to deliver enough electricity to power all of those activities at exactly the same time. A 5kW Victron Multiplus can only supply 4,000 watts of continuous power although, like all, Victron models it does have significant surge capacity.
How many batteries do you require?
The battery bank is the most important and most expensive part of your off-grid solar power system. Correct sizing of your battery bank will ensure maximum battery life, minimal generator use and hassle-free, efficient operation of your system for years to come.
What type of off-grid system should I choose?
There are 3 types of Off-Grid solar power systems, AC coupled, DC Coupled and AC and DC Coupled each with pros and cons
In an AC Coupled system the DC power from the solar panels is converted into AC electricity via a normal grid connect inverter such as the Fronius Primo. The AC power flows into the Victron Multiplus and can be used directly by appliances in the home without going into and out of the batteries.
Excess power, not required by the household load(s), is converted back into DC and this is then used to charge the batteries. At night, or when demand exceeds the amount of power being produced by the solar panels, power will be drawn from the batteries.
Pros: This installation method is perfect for homes requiring large amounts of power during daylight hours to run items such as washing machines, pumps, etc and allows the solar panels to be some distance away from the battery bank.
Cons: if you batteries are very deeply discharged the inverter/charger may not start requiring the use of a generator to recharge the batteries.
In an DC Coupled system the power from the solar panels is used to directly charge the batteries via a suitably sized Victron MPPT solar regulator / charge controller. Power to run household loads is then drawn from the batteries. This type of system is perfect for smaller off-grid systems.
Pros: DC Coupling is a very efficient method of charging a battery bank
Cons: All power for the home goes into and out of the batteries and due to voltage losses the batteries must be installed as close as possible to the solar panels to prevent high voltage losses in the DC cabling.
AC and DC Coupled
This type of Sunshine Coast Off-Grid gives the best of both worlds and is the system we recommend for larger Off-Grid systems.
Pros: Efficient battery charging via the MPPT charge controller, Efficient supply of power to daytime household loads via the Fronius Primo and quick recovery in the event the batteries are deeply discharged.
Cons: Can be more expensive