Yes, it’s a big deal going off-grid solar.  No, we do not have to live like cavemen to have the next few years electricity bill free.  These and other pressing issues dealt with here.

How long will an off-grid solar system last?

The life of your batteries is the bit you need to watch.  With regular maintenance and floating (getting to 100%) them everyday, they should last 15 to 20 years.

Do you have a plasma TV/washing machine/hairdryer/microwave etc?

Yes.  I also have two teenage children who like to use all of the above.  Well, except the washing machine. The only appliance I don’t have that you’ll find in most households is a tumble dryer and that’s mainly because my old one broke and I haven’t got around to replacing it.

Are you hippies?

Although some days I dream of packing the caravan and running away to Nimbin, we’re not what you’d define as hippies.  Hubby & I are both tertiary educated professionals with white-collar jobs and the kids are rapidly growing teenagers.  The average family.  However, I would describe myself as an environmentalist, which I define as someone who cares about what they’re doing to the planet.

How big is your house?

It’s an average Aussie home.  Around 38 squares all up, including the garage.  For anyone not versed in
this measurement, that’s four bedrooms, three bathrooms, laundry, TV room & library nook.  Download as a PDF here – HousePlanFloorPlan2

Apologies for picture quality - the plans for the Off Grid Solar House

Apologies for picture quality – the plans for the Off Grid Solar House

How do you heat/cool it?

Lots of insulation and double glazing means the house is pretty good throughout the year.  For hot days we have ceiling fans in each room.  For super hot days we have friends with a pool.  For winter we have two wood fires…and yes, I realise they’re carbon emitters, but we try to use them as little as possible.

How do you cook?

Like everyone else who owns a Jamie Oliver cookbook.  A six hob gas stovetop and oven is our preferred method.  Microwave comes in handy too.


4 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. While burning the wood does emit carbon dioxide as long as the wood used is replaced by new trees this carbon dioxide will be slurped up by growing trees so nets out to zero. A sustainable bioeconomy is a zero carbon society. If you have 17 acres a small woodlot/shelterbelts can supply sufficient sustainable wood to heat your home. And that’s without considering local windfall, prunings, thinnings and arborist waste. We’re keeping toasty at the moment from burning pine branches that fall from shelterbelt trees on our farm and some blackwood that blew over in the winds late last year as well as some arborist waste. For anyone reading who is interested in wood heating, always buy the most efficient heater you can afford. An efficient heater will use less wood and produce much less particulate matter emissions than a poorer quality model. If you are burning well-seasoned wood in an efficient heater you shouldn’t see any smoke once the fire is alight.



    • Hi David, thanks for the comment. September is our tree planting month, around 300 fledgling gums to add to, however we also need to keep in mind that our area has always been grasslands with little tree cover. We’ve gathered messmate from a collection point in a state forest, which is great to get the fire started, but then we feed it with red gum which, as you say, is dry and burns beautifully. In the meantime, we’ll keep mulching the gums and growing our future fuel 🙂

  2. Nice set up, what brand of batteries are you using?
    I use to live in Anglesea out of Geelong but now live over in WA on 1 acre in a country town 80km east of Perth. I am kinda on and off grid. Connected to the grid but run my own stand along system as well. 1.9Kw solar panels going to a 1,200 amp hour 24 volt battery bank. 40,000 litre water storage tanks, gray water system, veggie garden, usual hobby farm animals and my two dogs.
    It’s more of the lifestyle of self-sufficiency, well as best as I can considering I live on my own. (male aged 44)

    • Hi Glen, apologies for the late reply (pesky work got in the way!). We’ve got a 2200 amp hour, 48v, 24 cell battery bank (acid filled) – enough for two adults and two TV-addicted teenagers. Grey water system is the next job, along with some water tanks. Have been looking at an aquaponic system for the vege patch, could be interesting! Your set up sounds great – would you be interested in sharing it with a few photos on the blog?

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