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OFF-GRID (BATTERY) SYSTEMS

Mostly suitable for locations that are not connected to the national electric grid, off-grid (or stand-alone) systems store spare energy, generated from wind/solar/hydro etc, in a large battery bank. During periods of insufficient generation the battery then provides the power needed (for lights and appliances etc).

Battery systems tend to cost 10-20% more than grid-connected ones - mainly because of battery cost (and 10 yearly replacement) and sophisticated charging controllers.

However, well designed and installed systems are very reliable and usually no different to the consumer than conventional grid-connected buildings.

As all battery systems are tailor-made for each individual customer, more discussion is necessary between yourselves and our engineers - please check through the Your energy needs page and read it carefully, then download the load-table document and fill it in as best you can - you will probably need to CONTACT US for help with this.

A battery system must have a weather-proof room to house all the equipment that will manage the power. This room can be within a house or outside (shed), and it is often called the 'powerhouse'. The powerhouse will usually hold the following equipment: Large bank of batteries (in sealed box), large DC fuses/disconnects, charge controller (regulates battery voltage), dump heater, large inverter (transforms battery voltage into normal mains 240V), energy display meters, automatic generator start controller and AC fusebox. These are usually fixed to a plywood board attached to the wall - preferably out of childrens reach.

All this equipment contains complex and expensive electronics and so should NOT be kept in humid or damp places - condensation (common with tin roofs) should also be avoided.

When the battery bank becomes full, the charge controller will often need to divert the incoming energy to a dump heater or two - this could be an immersion or a storage heater. These can be installed in the powerhouse but are more useful in a living space - there's great satisfaction felt when these heaters come on, warming you up and telling you that the batteries are full!

The batteries are usually installed in an insulated plywood box (or similar) with two vent pipes taking the explosive/corrosive hydrogen gases outside. Fuses and disconnects will be installed close to the battery for protection and the large cables will then connect up the charge controller and inverter.

A typical powerhouse set-up would look like this (battery is adjacent):



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