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Going off the grid is something many Australians desire, either for environmental, ethical or logistical regions. If you have the planet in mind, you may enjoy the idea of generating your own energy rather than relying on a massive, fossil fuel-based source of power. If you are more concerned about logistics, you may be going off the grid simply because your remote location makes it appropriate to do so.
Whatever your reasons, here are a few things you should know about off-grid power as you consider your options.
Solar and wind power dominate the off-grid system
According to Australia’s Clean Energy Council, solar and wind power are the most commonly found off-grid sources of power. Any building that requires more than 10 kW of energy and is not connected to the National Electricity Market, the North West Interconnected System or the South West Interconnected System is considered off-grid.
Solar and wind are popular options simply because they can be accessed anywhere. Australia’s sunny conditions and plentiful wind make it an ideal place to go off-grid. Many families also have backup generators in case of a shortage.
There are a number of solar options available
Solar power doesn’t just come in one form. Photovoltaic (PV) panels are what most people think of when they conceptualise solar power, but you should also become well-versed in the option of solar collectors.
Solar collectors, as their name implies, simply collect energy from sunlight and store it for later use. They can come in the form of flat or evacuated tube solar, with the latter being better at producing energy even on cloudy days.
Tracking weather can be invaluable
Speaking of cloudy days, off-gridders know that keeping tabs on the weather can be helpful for predicting your energy needs and determining how you should utilise your energy sources. If you are relying on wind power for energy, you should familiarise yourself with wind power forecasting techniques.
Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) is a method of data tracking that meteorologists use to predict wind speed and other weather variables. Consider familiarising yourself with weather patterns so you can adjust your energy consumption if wind is expected to be in short supply on a particular day.
As for solar power, tracking cloud coverage can be invaluable to utilising your off-grid power efficiently. Fulcrum 3D, an Australian technology company, recently received $452,000 in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA for the development of a cloud tracking system.
“Effectively predicting off-grid solar PV output means diesel generators can be switched on before production drops or solar output can be gradually ramped down, smoothing energy delivery and potentially allowing more solar to be used,” said Ivor Frischknecht, CEO of ARENA, said in a statement.
Monitoring cloud coverage, wind resources and other weather conditions can lead to greater efficiency for your off-grid lifestyle.
Learn more about Apricus Solar Hot Water Systems or contact us to discuss your needs or organise a solar hot water system quote.