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Renewable Energy for Homes Off Grid

Homes that are found in incredibly rural parts of the country will often have no electricity supply, meaning they have to survive without electricity or look at generating their own source. Often renewable energy sources such a solar, water or wind power hold the answer, with these homes being able to generate enough electricity for themselves.

When these types of systems are set up, they will never give as much as you would expect from living on mains electricity, but it can save a lot of money for these households and is more environmentally friendly and quieter than using a diesel powered generator.

If you’re looking to start up a renewable energy source and you are off grid then you will need to start by looking at your current electricity consumption and how best you can reduce this. All homes that are having renewable sources installed will need to carry these steps out, but it is even more important for those homes that are off the grid. Look at ways in which you can stop using electricity altogether and use another source; for example, heating water and cooking with gas systems will help to significantly reduce the costs involved in generating electricity.

Battery Store

An important part of electricity generation for those homes that are off the grid is a store of batteries that will enable you to gain power all through the day and night from excess electricity that has been stored during the generation process. You will need to have a store of deep-cycle batteries; these can last up to 5 years if the correct system and controls are put in place. As they are not going to last forever, always make sure that replacement batteries are included in your budget for the lifetime of your renewable energy system.

These types of deep-cycle batteries will require a lot of care and attention as they are like car batteries (lead-acid) but they also have solid plates that are needed for them to cope with the intensity of the charging cycle. As they have liquid acid within them, this requires particular attention as hydrogen gas will be emitted during the charging process, with them also losing water over a period of time. There are more expensive types of batteries called AGM batteries, which are far easier to maintain and don’t have liquid inside them.

In order to get as much electricity as you require you may have looked into having more than one source of electricity generation. For instance, you may have a wind turbine that is on an exposed piece of land, but you also have solar panels for windless periods, alongside your diesel generator that can be used when there is a high demand for electricity. The batteries you have stored are able to be charged by all these different types of electricity generation, allowing you to store electricity from all of these sources.

You may find, if the location of your property is right, that you can have hydro power installed that will not need any form of back-up generator or battery storage; but this will depend entirely upon how much electricity your household needs and where the property is situated.

Producing Electricity with Inverters

Lighting and appliances that use direct current (DC) can use the electricity directly from the battery source; but in order to convert the electricity to alternating current (AC), which is needed to power the majority of your electrical appliances, an inverter will need to be installed in the system.

This can be separate to the batteries and system or it can be included so as to look after the batteries, control the system and sometimes act as a battery charger.

Opting for a Feed-In Tariff

If you are generating your own electricity then you could be receiving payments through feed-in tariffs. This is also the case for those homes that are off the grid, allowing you to receiving some of the tariff for generating your electricity, but you will be unable to get the tariff for exporting it.

Please note that in order to receive these types of payments you must ensure that the equipment installed and the installer are registered under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. Due to the complicated nature of off-grid systems, it is vital that they are installed correctly and safely, being able to generate all the electricity you require without making any damage to household appliances, batteries or the generators. Try to find an installer who has had experience in dealing with off-grid renewable energy installations, and ask their advice when designing your system.

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