Off Grid advice please

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Off Grid advice please

Postby Meshel » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:40 pm

Hi All. Im new to this forum and have a few questions regarding requirements for an off grid system. I am wanting to move into a house that currently has a very small off grid system (unsure of size), but too small to even run a washing machine. So, I'm thinking of moving this smaller system to a studio and setting up an entirely new system for the house. I'm thinking a 10kw system should be enough but would appreciate some sound advice.
My current household daily energy consumption is 40kwh. This is high as I run a regular fridge, use heat pumps for heating and generally run the house as a normal, energy hungry suburban home. Heating in the new house will be wood, lights will be led's, fridge is not gas (but possibly could be if worth it).
So, just after some ideas on what to get. The house is located in southern Tasmania. I do want to be able to run a washing machine, vacuum cleaner, regular fridge is preferable (as I already own one), computer, charge phones, microwave and a tv. I'd also appreciate an idea of what this kind of set up might cost me. I'm not interested in getting the cheapest system, you get what you pay for, but I do want a middle of the range to high quality system in a reasonable price range. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Off Grid advice please

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:24 pm

Hi Meshel, welcome to the Energy Matters Forums :)

In southern Tassie, you are going to need a much larger than 10kW system to meet anything near your current 40kWh/day usage, or even 30kWh/day without periods of almost continual running of a generator in winter (and a fair bit either side of winter). 40kWh is more than twice the average Australian household electricity daily usage.

When considering how much PV generation capacity you might need, you should size a system for winter (allowing for some generator usage if necessary), rather than annual solar radiation averages.
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Re: Off Grid advice please

Postby jaahn » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:05 pm

Hi Meshel, :)
I am no expert unlike others on here so I will just ask a couple of question to get some ideas on your situation.
The current usage seems high and you could get some data on your usage by buying a simple plug in meter to monitor your appliance usage. Light power will be improved by LED replacement and turning off.

What is the possible roof space area for your panels. What direction and angle do they face.

Are there any shadings from trees, poles, wires, hills or buildings which might affect the sun on the panels.

Sun hours in winter for your location.

Will it be a grid connect or stand alone system, with batteries? How did It workbefore as off grid ??

Some things to think about to get started :shock: for people to give suggestions.
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Re: Off Grid advice please

Postby Privatteer » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:44 pm

Meshel wrote:My current household daily energy consumption is 40kwh.


First step is create a full load list of your current house with day vs night loads. That's quite a high usage, as an example I average 12kWh a day with all the items you mentioned with an extra 3kWh in winter for HWS booster.
Do you have electric hot water? Pool pumps?

The running load of a modern fridge is fairly small. I've been monitoring mine recently and its around 80w once its running but spikes up to 1200w on start. Daily usage varies on temp and how often opened but has been around 1 to 1.5kWh in 24hrs.

Energy matters main site used to have a calculator that gave some rough figures for a standalone system but it seems to be broken atm. As a very rough guide its around $10k per 10kWh of storage required so it adds up quickly once you take into account a couple days of cloudy weather and only discharging to safe percentage. That is not including the solar panels etc either.
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Re: Off Grid advice please

Postby jaahn » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:00 am

Hi Meshel :)
Here is a reference to a useful page for estimates of average use and output of solar arrays.
https://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/how ... s-produce/
It is aimed at grid connect but the panels put out the same power :shock:
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Re: Off Grid advice please

Postby davidg » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:25 pm

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:Hi Meshel, welcome to the Energy Matters Forums :) In southern Tassie, you are going to need a much larger than 10kW system
When considering how much PV generation capacity you might need, you should size a system for winter (allowing for some generator usage if necessary), rather than annual solar radiation averages.

Gordon is bang on, however what does this house have in it or more accurately what does the house need to have, that you will need if you want it all electric, at the moment it looks about 3 times the amount of PV you mentioned for reliable generation for off-grid plus a suitable generator. It's quite possible to do that's not the issue, however when you use it is important as that impacts the battery capacity/size, which impacts cost. Unless you have deep pockets a system and what you really need in the house needs to designed rather simply doing system a based on a guess, with all due respect.
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