Off-grid power systems supply electricity to properties that are not connected to the public electricity network. These systems are often referred to as “stand-alone power systems” (SAPS), or “remote area power systems” (RAPS).
These systems are independent power stations capable of powering a wide range of applications with dependable and reliable electricity that is no different to that supplied by the national electricity grid. Whether it be for a small or large new or existing home, a station, business or an entire community that depends on large diesel generators, off-grid stand alone power systems are commonly the reliable, clean, hassle free, cost competitive answer!
Off grid systems supply electricity to properties that are not connected to, or have chosen to disconnect from, the public electricity network.
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels convert sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity, which is then fed through the solar inverter to create usable alternating current (AC) electricity. AC electricity is then sent to the switchboard, where it is sent to the household appliances that are using electricity at the time, and any surplus electricity is sent to the battery bank to recharge it.
The inverter/charger will stop the solar system from recharging the batteries once they are full. When your solar system is not producing electricity, your battery bank will send power to your household appliances.
If the battery bank state-of-charge level gets too low, the inverter/charger will turn on the fuel generator automatically to power the house electrical appliances and recharge the battery bank.
There are two different ways of configuring an off grid system – AC-Coupling and DC-Coupling – and each have unique advantages. The configuration type will have an impact on the life expectancy, efficiency and flexibility of your system.
During your system consultation and design with Off-Grid Energy New Zealand we provide you with recommendations and information about where the system equipment is to be installed.
Following contract acceptance we provide you with detailed infrastructure guides and plans to clearly communicate where equipment is to be installed, requirements before installation and what Off-Grid Energy and the customer is responsible for.
All system components and sizes are chosen for many factors. Including capacity, performance and cost. Your Load Profile information, or specific energy demand, forms the basis of all our equipment and system design recommendations.
Your equipment location is also very important when designing an appropriate system for your property.
Solar arrays should be located as close as practical to the standalone equipment enclosure. It must be capable of producing enough electricity (kWh) to replace what is used by your property on any given day – including days of poor weather.
Below are some guides to where a solar array should be installed:
Sizing your battery bank is incredibly important when designing your system. Understanding when and how much electricity (kWh) is used will determine the battery capacity required.
The inverter/charger needs to be sized to the peak power (kW) requirements of your property. If you boil the kettle, run the air conditioner, and do a load of washing simulateously, the inverter/charger needs to be capable of delivering this power all at once.
Generator sets require much careful thought and planning when it comes to their installation and operation. The generator should be installed as close as is reasonably practical and convenient to the main residence and other stand alone equipment while giving careful consideration to the possible noise level when in use. Please note different safety regulations are applicable to permanately installed generators and portable directly supervised use generators.
Below are some prompters as to where and how a generator is to be installed:
Off-Grid Energy New Zealand’s standalone power systems are built and designed to provide the same – if not better – reliability and quality to that of grid electricity. We specialise in leading technology. High quality equipment that is designed to last beyond and outperform competitors’ products. Our knowledgeable consultants will help guide you through the off-grid power process. You can confidently rest assured that a correctly sized and professionally installed Off-Grid Energy New Zealand system will help you attain a comfortable lifestyle on your property, with no need for large changes to your lifestyle. Once installed, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you own your own ‘power station’ and are immune from the ever increasing quarterly grid supply charges and electricity prices.
Living ‘off-grid’ can mean many things. From simply not having a grid electricity connection – through to being completely self-sufficient in energy, food, water, etc. Whatever your off grid lifestyle choice, we can power your needs.
An Off-Grid Energy New Zealand standalone power system has the following ‘green’ benefits:
Completing an accurate load profile is an essential part of correctly designing an off grid solar system. The load profile is a list of all your appliances and utilities that require electricity, with an estimate of their usage frequency (e.g. how many days per week, and hours per day). Once we have this information, our system design team can accurately recommend appropriate system design and size for your needs.
Efficient appliance choice and efficient home design are by far the best way of minimising your electricity requirements, system size, and cost – meaning you don’t have to change your lifestyle to live comfortably off grid.
For a printable copy of our Load Profile Form CLICK HERE. Or for a Microsoft Excel version please contact us.
The most recent innovation in stand alone power is the AC (Alternating Current) coupled system. Energy generators (E.g. Solar array) are coupled into the system via regular 230V AC wiring.
The SMA AC coupled system uses a frequency shift control system; in some cases very sensitive devices such as some inverter type air conditioners may not operate at certain times of the day because of frequency variation. Appliances should be checked for frequency tolerance range to make sure they will operate consistently.
Until recently the traditional method has been to use a DC (Direct Current) connection method in which energy generators are directly coupled into the system battery bank via a regulator or charge controller.
Determining the cost to connect your house or property to the electricity grid is an important first step when deciding whether to live on or off-grid.
Often the power lines will appear quite close to your dream block of land but when you begin to chat with your electricity utility about the cost of connecting up to mains power, you get a nasty shock!
‘The Grid’ refers to the normal mains electricity network that supplies the vast majority of New Zealand with electricity. The electricity distributors are companies that own sections of the national grid and are responsible for grid maintenance and purchasing the electricity from power plants . Electricity retailers are companies that purchase electricity from the electricity distributors and on-sell it to the end user or customers, i.e. anyone living on-grid.
There can be large variations in the cost of bringing mains power to your property, and in some cases it may not even be possible. The cost to connect to the electricity network depends on a range of factors, including distance from the grid, underground or over ground cabling, crossing neighboring properties, easements, SWER line capacity, transformer requirements, and many more things. It’s not uncommon for electricity distributors’ quotes to be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when all charges are factored in.
Off-Grid Energy New Zealand can assist you in obtaining an accurate cost of connection with the electricity distributor for your area. Contact us to get our handy ‘Cost of Connection – How to Guide”, and chat to our consultants about the process.
The Complete System is the most versatile of our off grid product range, capable of powering a broad range of medium to large properties.
Ideal for low-consumption users, the Essential System offers a perfect green solution for your holiday retreat without the ongoing commitment and cost of grid connection.
The Shed Power systems are our smallest hardwired standalone power options. Designed for very small loads – such as a fridge, a TV, and a few lights – these systems are ideal for the back shed.