Is Off Grid the Future?

Rural Farm with off grid solar
15th January 2021

What is Off Grid?

Off Grid Living is when you have no access to any services such as the electrical grid or mains water. It may include other community utilities such as garbage collection. Being off grid means you have no connection to a power network or grid and have to self generate your power through other means.

The thought of living off grid is rapidly gaining popularity with many people taking the plunge or in areas where they simply don’t have an option. Generating your own power can be very empowering in our modern age. We are at the mercy of electricity and power companies, and unfortunately, their rapidly rising costs. For some it may go so far as growing your own food or dismissing many modern technologies. For the majority, it’s a rural or remote location or simply an area with no mains connections.

What are the benefits?

They are many benefits to living off grid and the main one is cost. If you live in a rural or remote location, it may simply be more cost effective as the cost of connecting to the grid are so high. Zero cost energy and no bills are also a major driver.

For most ‘energy independence’ is something to aspire too. Of course, living in a rural or remote location often comes with fabulous scenery or views and the ‘clean air’ that we all crave so much.

Around 1 million homes lived off grid in 2010, this has risen to over 99 million in 2020. Forbes magazine  has predicted over half of new electricity connection’s will be off grid or mini grid by 2030.

Forbes Magazine

Powering an off grid home, depending on where you live in the world, can take various methods. Renewable options such as solar & wind are the front runners with some choosing geothermal or even micro hydro. 

Solar is a very popular option but what happens when the sun stops shining? Long dark winter days may see your electric needs fall short. As Solar only provides energy on a ‘use it or lose it’ your generated power stops when the sun goes in.

Want to understand more about the fundamentals of going off grid? Click here to find out everything from crops to energy production to insects and land ownership.

How many solar panels do I need to run my home off grid?

Wherever you ask you’ll get a different answer. Some say an average of 24-34 panels will do the trick but of course, this depends on a number of factors. Geographical location, house size, lifestyle and the actual panels performance. 

Combining a number of renewable power sources is one option, but adding a battery to your solar is a far more efficient way. Battery Energy Storage technology has come so far over the last decade. With the right solar and battery storage option you can power an off grid home with no need for additional power sources. 

Adding a battery storage to your solar allows you to store the excess daytime solar power. So, when the sun is shining, you are powering your home, but you’re also charging your battery. And when the sun goes in, the stored energy in your battery goes to work powering your home.

Soltaro’s All in one combined energy storage system, the AIO2 is perfect for on or off grid living. Batteries work harder when completely off grid, and many manufacturers batteries simply aren’t up to the task. The number or size of batteries needed to power your home depends on factors similar to that of solar. We’d always recommend speaking to a professional who can go through more details before recommending the best solution.

With technology evolving, the mini grid or shared community energy also has it’s place. Entire new communities are built or investing in solar plus battery storage to create a network of energy. Sharing energy across a community is an increasingly common concept. Ageing infrastructure and rising costs see many wanting to distance themselves from the grid. Read our article about VPP to learn more.

Want to learn more about battery storage or the AIO2 and living off the grid?

 Get in touch with one of our technical advisers by emailing [email protected].

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