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Craig Andrew: I’m Craig from A Grade Solar Solutions Australia. Behind me is a house which is completely off-grid, which means that there is no electrical cables, no electricity bills, purely self-sufficient from the sun, the solar and batteries. We’ve connected up six kilowatts of solar to a battery bank which has a usable storage of 14 and a half kilowatt hours, which means this whole house can run normal like it’s just connected to the grid like a normal suburban house. If you come inside, I’ll show you where the batteries and the inverter are.
So here we have all the equipment connected to the panels. Now, the first half of the system is what your normal household grid connected solar system would be, where the panels are taken to the oscillators which connect into the inverter, which then goes into the switchboard. Now, this is where the off-grid side of things comes into effect. This battery charger, generator distributes the power how it sees fit. So, the sun is shining, this unit here will then say, okay, it’s needed in the house to control the loads that are being used and the leftover goes into the batteries.
Now at night when there’s no sun shining, this unit says to the batteries, okay, we’ve got no sun assistance anymore, we need you to control the whole loads in the house. Then in the event that there is a few days of cloud and rain and the batteries aren’t getting charged and discharging down to the programmable rate, we have a generator backup which then will charge the batteries up to the level that we require them to, the house runs as normal. So in effect, there is no loss of power at any stage and this place will run self-sufficiently for the rest of its life.
So let me recap what I was saying about the generator, if the batteries are discharged to the pre-programmed rate, which occurs if there’s maybe three or four days of consistent rain, no sun, lots of cloud, then the generator will kick in, charge the batteries back up again and act as the sun.
Now, this is a very — it might happen maybe once, maybe twice during the winter but your house runs as normal, you have no power outages. There’s enough here to power a normal house and how we come with that is before we design the batteries and design what size solar we’re putting on, we sit down with the customer and run through their load sheets. In other words, we go through all the appliances they’re going to have, how much power they use over what time over a 24 hour period and then we make our assessments and our designs of what size battery we need, what size solar we need on all that information.