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Why would I go off-grid?

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Australia has a stable national grid, in terms of the power, voltage, frequency and minimal fluctuation so we don’t have a lot of requirements for being an isolated system. However, the country has been set up in a strange way where we are all crowded into the city, then huge distances to the next mass, instead of lots of little towns. People build properties that may be 20km – 30km away from a town and they might be building on a block where the house site is 1-2km back from the boundary fence which can be very expensive set up.

Although, the national grid serves as a fantastic resource for industry and large power users, energy conscious homeowners are starting the realise they are very capable of generating and managing their own energy systems.

As far as cost goes, if we look at a standard house – 100 square metres – 3 bedroom – 4 people – 2 adults – 2 children, here is what one would expect to pay:

1. If we assume that the house will completely off-grid and will be built an hour out of Melbourne.

2. If the house has electric hot water with solar boosters.

3. If the house has electric hotplates for cooking, and the family uses computers and and TV’s.

Melbourne’s unpredictable weather needs to be taken into account when installing a battery system. As a minimum the residence needs three days of autonomy, meaning the household needs to be able to live without sunlight for three days. The estimated kilowatt usage of the residence is 10-15kw hours per day, with the worst case scenario usage being 17-20kw hours. With that in mind the house will need 45kw hours of storage.

Once the storage capacity has been calculated, it is time to decide on what type of battery system. Usually the ones that are the cheapest to buy, the battery needs to be overcompensated enormously, since they have been around since 1840 lead acid batteries are proven to stand the test of time. Due to the battery chemistry we can  only use 30-40% before recharge without frying the system in a couple of years, as a minimum the life expectancy is 7-10 years.

With all of this in mind, the standard, 100 square metre house would best run off a 70-80kw system, as an estimate the cost would be $50-$60k. This figure can be daunting and usually on review families will reassess the heating requirements of the household and are able to install a smaller system.

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For a free insulation quote call us on (03) 9753 3811 or visit www.enviroflex.com.au