The best way to get ready to use off-grid power at your property is to start by thoroughly analysing how much power you are likely to use. There are lots of things you can do to be leaner electricity consumers and make your off-grid power go further, without living like an ascetic! For example, appliances that heat or cool (space, air or an element) are the most power-hungry, so finding alternatives for those appliances can really help.
Consider these five ways to make the most of your off-grid power system and you may even be able to operate your household comfortably on a small system, saving thousands of dollars:
Gas or Solar Hot water – An average hot water system for a 3 or 4 person house can easily consume 4 kWh per day alone if it is powered from your new off-grid system. Installing a gas or solar hot water system is a simple way to drastically reduce you power consumption and save yourself big dollars.
Gas Cooking – Electric cook tops and ovens are another big burden on an off-grid system. Although running ovens and cooktop elements from your off-grid system is definitely achievable, you will find choosing gas will save you a lot of money.
Wood fire heating – Electric Bar heaters are massive energy consumers and when run for long periods don’t really have a place in an off-grid household. Wood fire heating is an great option that many of our customers use. Alternatively, the ambient temperature of a wood fire stove can be harnessed to heat up living spaces.
Efficient appliances – If you are building a new home, take the opportunity to choose the most efficient appliances at the outset to reduce your off-grid power system requirements. Energy star ratings are now present on most appliances along with a yearly kilowatt (kWh) usage. This can be used to select the most efficient appliances for your budget. LED lighting has come a long way and is now a very efficient option for lighting your home. When numerous lights are used for a few hours each day, choosing efficient lighting can add up to big savings.
Change how you use your electricity - Some simple adjustments to your daily routine can earn you some electricity savings. The principle is simple: use your bigger appliances when the sun is out. Do your washing and vacuuming during the day, so that you are using electricity supplied directly from your panels rather than discharging your batteries. For smaller off-grid power systems you may want to load-share by staggering the use of your high draw appliances such as toasters, microwaves and kettles etc. This will reduce the requirement for a large off-grid inverter which will save you even more money on system cost.
Most importantly, if you have any doubts or concerns about what size system you will need, call us - we are here to help.