Green square blog featuring current issues and information on renewable energy and its efficiency, reliability and how to make the swap to renewable energy. Information on products biomass boilers, biomass stoves, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, solar PV, solar thermal.

Renewable Energy Guide for Off Grid Properties

If you live in a remote location, have your own self sufficient system, or have the desire in the future to be running your home completely off grid; we’d like to help provide you with key knowledge with our guide to off grid renewable energy to best suit your individual requirements.

With all of the advances made with renewable energy over recent years, we have seen many major improvements in off grid technology. It’s now much cheaper and much more worthwhile to invest.

When beginning planning to add to your renewable energy system (or to start it) it is very important to correctly assess your usage and specific requirements for you home and property. This includes taking into consideration your lighting, heating, cooking, washing and refrigeration use. This is to ensure you have the right fit for you and your needs before installation.

Determining the power requirements and sizing of your system or additional products will also include their frequency of use, timing (when you require the products/system) so you can benefit fully from your renewables. Conserving energy is important to be aware of for all homeowners not just renewable energy users!

Once you have determined these answers (you can get help from the experts at Green Square with any remaining questions) you will need to look more specifically at which products will be suited to your situation. These include battery storage, inverters and generators. These parts are suggested to make maximum use of your system, ensuring that energy is available when needed.

Off Grid or Partially Off Grid?

Firstly, there are two main type of sufficiency; fully self sufficient and off grid and partially grid connected. Fully off grid covers places where there is no mains grid available at all. This could either be down to the costs, or purely as a personal choice.

Solar is a very reliable and popular (not to mention easy to install and low maintenance) option for off grid houses, not just due to the fact they are usually cheaper than paying for mains power supplies but because you can earn money back through the Renewable Heat Incentive schemes. These homes are often designed with Solar PV, and battery storage to ensure best possible usage of your self generated energy, providing extra power at night or in times of need.

Off Grid Installations

  • Rural or remote power needs
  • Powering lighting and pumps
  • Charging batteries on boats and caravans
  • Providing reliable electricity supplies for properties off the grid

Partially Off Grid covers home where mains power is available, but is not desired or in use, or is intermittent. Suggested systems are still Solar PV, battery storage and perhaps an additional wind turbine. The main difference is that mains power can still be used as a back up, which can sometimes save money. In a standard residential property, bills should be reduced but 20% at least – depending on how many other energy efficiently steps you are taking! If you already have a solar system added, it’s important to know that to reduce your bills as much as possible, you must be aware of other steps toward maximizing your energy usage.

Grid Connected Installations

  • Domestic grid connected systems
  • Mounted onto roofs
  • Can be used as the roofing material itself

Sizing

This will need some consideration of the components that will be introduced to your property/land. This will predominantly depend on your location and expected power requirements. You will need to think about the amount of sun or wind you are exposed to and also your peak power requirements. High efficiency applications include batteries, controllers and inverters, which are designed to meet most needs.

Factors to consider with Battery systems

  • When you use the most power
  • Average time using power
  • Minimum usage
  • Voltage and frequency
  • Any patterns of usage e.g daily, seasonal etc
  • If needs require constant availability

When designing a power supply system it is extremely important to think about the whole home like a system. For example - loads are interrelated correctly – e.g placing windows strategically can help with heating and lighting; insulation reduces heating requirements etc.

Solar PV options

What needs to be looked at is the output, averages and patterns for Solar in your location. Considering there option means the system can mean a smaller battery store can be used, and overall a more efficient and cheaper system for you.

Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps

Another addition can be air source and ground source heat pumps for your home or property. Heat pumps are described as being either Air to Air, where the heat is delivered as warm air, or Air to Water, where the heat is delivered as warm water.

  • No roof mounted hardware - leaving all your roof free for Solar PV panels
  • Does not require direct sunlight, works in all weather
  • No overheating in summer
  • About 50% cheaper installation costs than panel heavy systems
  • Run whenever you like - take advantage of off peak electricity tariffs
  • You can power them directly from your solar electricity instead of the grid

Other household appliances

An inverter will be used for the following appliances in and around your home; vacuum cleaners, power tools, washing machines, large fans etc. Smaller appliances like irons or kitchen equipment require a lot of power but for very short periods of time. This means that the system inverter is large enough, they can be used additionally. Electronic appliances have a lower power consumption like computers and televisions.

Green Square takes pride in our comprehensive knowledge of the renewable energy market, as well as our extensive technical proficiency. We want to be able to provide you with clear and accessible information about your preferences. To start with this, it’s best to contact us directly with any queries or questions you may have – it’s easy to contact us on our online form or you can request a call back if preferred on 033 33 707 707.