Solar power and home batteries are ok but what options do you have with offGrid uninterruptible electricity. Fortunately, there are systems in many countries that provide systems that integrate solar PV, batteries, generators to provide long duration power even when you may have a week or more of storms and interrupted power.
Some solar PV and battery systems require a grid connection, and when the grid fails, the system is not uninterruptible. Others can be configured to provide frequency. Some systems are dc only, some dc with AC for house appliances to minimise cost of appliances.
Offgrid uninterruptible systems Global Spread
According to 2018 IEA World Energy Outlook there are currently 1 billion people in the world – 13% of the total population – with no access to electricity, mostly in Africa and South Asia. Fossil fuel energy systems rely on centralised power plants and a distribution system.
The cost of connection is high in many developed countries as well, and the cost of poles and wires can exceed the cost of onsite offgrid systems. There are a number of different technologies as explained here. There are AC or DC coupled systems.
- Battery Inverter/charger or Multi-mode hybrid inverter
- Solar inverter (AC) or MPPT Solar charge controllers (DC)
- Battery bank
- Solar panels
- Generator (Optional)
US Suppliers of OffGrid Uninterruptible Electricity
A podcast from Bill Nussey called “Ben Polito of Generac: How a 60-year-old industrial company is transforming itself into a leader in the clean, local energy market” describes Generac which provides turnkey systems using gas backup generators from 10kWh to 150kW. They used to be just gas backup systems but now include solar and batteries and operate in North America, Australia and Europe.
- Day: Home runs on solar, charges the battery, and sells extra power to the grid
- Night: Home runs on battery power, energy use is optimized and can be recharged with the generator
- During a Power Outage: Run your home on battery, daily recharge with solar, optimize loads, top-off the battery with PWRgenerator when needed.
Generac is available in Australia. Other companies include:
Enopte is a Sunshine Coast based provider. They have focused on tiny houses and off grid systems and they have a central control box that can take the input from a standalone generator.
Offgrid Systems in Less Developed Countries
With over 1 billion in energy poverty some countries are making a concerted effort to bring electricity to rural communities. Eg. as part of wider efforts by the government of Sierra Leone to address limited rural electrification, a groundbreaking project will roll out clean solar power in up to 41 remote communities, delivering first-time access to electricity for homes and businesses. The project plans to establish approximately 12,500 new connections, with around 85% to households and 15% to micro, small and medium enterprises and public institutions such as schools and health clinics.
With energy and internet connection (e.g. Starlink) education can then be accessed. With education comes health.