So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Are you sitting comfortably?
The complete system – energy audit, professional design of system, all labour and equipment was $60,090 (in 2012). By far the biggest expense was the battery bank – around $35k just for those. We were thankfully able to access a government rebate of $7000.
So, why did we go off-grid? Because we’re in a rural area (on 17 acres and over a kilometre from the nearest power pole) the quote to a) install a power pole near our front gate b) dig across the road, albeit a dirt one with very little traffic and c) dig a 500m trench & install conduit & cabling came in around $35,000 anyway. Plus 15-20 years of power bills.
While we might save money in the short term, eventually the battery bank will need replacing and the final outcome of off-grid vs grid-connect is a little hard to evaluate. However it pans out, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
While this really isn’t a viable option for many, a small storage battery might work for some. In the meantime, I’m just hoping for an ongoing price reduction for batteries!