OK, so maybe going off-grid does sometimes require small compromises – in Lorna & Ken’s case, a new (and not-as-nice-as-the-old-one) fridge! The couple got in touch after reading about The Off Grid Solar House in the Sunday Age and have kindly shared their story and a couple of photos of their set up with us.
Tell us about your off-grid house.
“Our home is reliant on cross flow ventilation and over head fans in summer a wood heater and wood fired stove which produces hot water during winter. Our permanent residence is modest but has all the usual white goods plus water pumps for both the house and garden. We sadly discarded a much beloved double door cafe fridge in preparation for going off grid as it was too energy inefficient.”
Why did you go off grid & how big is your system?
“We decided to go off-grid in April this year primarily because of the area power provider restrictions on inverter size. We were advised this would limit the use of heavy usage items such as large water pumps and electric hot water. Our panels are ground mounted and through the winter months get shaded 11am to 1pm but the batteries are usually full or near full by then. Even with overcast weather or heavy fog there have only been 3 days that it did not recharge fully, but not to the extent we needed to externally charge with the back up generator.”
“Our system is 20 SunTech STP250S-20/Wd, KAKP Powador 6002 inverter, Selectronic SPMC241 4.0kW 24V with 12 BAE 1220 Ah 2V battery. We use about 6 kwhr at present which is without the hot water and garden water pump which would double usage. These would be run during the daylight hours to maximise the suns generation so as not to rely solely on the batteries.”
Have you had to change your lifestyle to go off-grid?
“Apart from having to purchase a fridge with wretched plastic moulding going off-grid has in no way compromised our lifestyle. In fact it makes us more confident that we made the right decision. It is also seems a better choice for preparedness for the fire season and we have not gone without any electrical appliances. After 3 months more than happy with our decision to go off grid just wish the technology was available 30 years ago! We just find it sad that the excess power can’t be diverted to the local hospital or schools.”