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Is It Possible to Run Off-Grid?

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We are hearing more and more about off-grid solar systems as a solution to the ailing mess that is South Africa’s electrical grid. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to rely on the grid, especially with unpredictable load shedding and rising energy costs.

But, is living off the grid in South Africa possible? It is something that every South African should consider and weigh up, but it can be frustrating when you’re not sure how you’ll ever be able to afford an off-grid solar system, or how one works in the first place!

An off the grid solar system is a perfect solution for those looking for energy independence. With an off-grid solar system, you’ll never have to worry about blackouts or outrageous electric bills again. In this article, we take a look at what living off the grid means and what you should be considering before you do it.

What Does it Mean to Go Off Grid?

There are varying levels of going off the grid as a homeowner. In South Africa, the term off-grid is most commonly when you install a solar system that allows you to run your home completely separate of Eskom, meaning you would not rely on the national grid’s electricity to power your home. Other off-grid practices can include generating your own water, growing your own food and even relying solely on a bicycle for transportation.

For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on energy in the form of electricity only and talk about how to go off the Eskom grid and generate your own electricity through an off-grid solar system.

The Challenges of Going Off Grid

Mark Bester, Managing Director of Goscor Power Products, believes that it is “easy” to go off the grid if you install the correct equipment and system. If you do it properly, you should little to no challenges to contend with on a daily basis.

He believes there are a few steps you must do of any solar system to ensure you keep your challenges or problems to a minimum:

  • Make sure you install sufficient solar panels to match your inverter
  • Always install back up batteries to store power

“The first step in the process of going off the grid is to decide what the key components are which you want to run off grid. Is it your entire house including heavy-drawing items like air conditioners, pool pumps, garages and gates? Do you want all your plug-points and appliances to be powered? Do you want your geysers to be run on solar power too?”, asks Bester.

The key thing to remember about installing an off-grid system is that the more power you need the more expensive the system will become.

The Benefits of an Off Grid Power Solution

Apart from not having to rely on an unreliable electricity provider in South Africa, like Eskom, going off grid has many other huge benefits to both you, your back pocket, and the environment as a whole. The benefits of going off grid include:

  • Once the initial installation cost is paid, you will be able to save money every month on ever-increasing utility costs and increases in electricity prices too.
  • In the long-term, your home’s energy costs will be less expensive to run
  • Going green, in terms of electricity means greater benefit to the environment by saving on fossil fuel burning, cutting down on waste, and reducing your carbon footprint
  • Your solar system will always be reliable even when the utility supply goes off. In fact, homeowners with off-grid solar systems say they are not affected by load shedding at all.

5 Things You Need to Consider Before Living Off The Grid

If going off the electricity grid sounds like something you and your family would like to do, it’s a decision well-made. However, as power supply experts, we would recommend considering these five things before going off grid:

#1 – Where to Source the Off Grid Power Components?

Find a power supply company that you can trust. You ideally want a company that can provide the best equipment for your solar system like solar panels, inverters, solar batteries and more. You also want to invest in a company that can expertly install your solar system and can help you maintain it well.

#2 – Maintenance of Your Off Grid System

Maintaining any kind of electrical system in your home is essential to the effective running of the machine for years to come. When you choose an off-grid system, make sure your provider or installer offers regular maintenance as part of their service plan.

#3 – Do You Have the Space for an Off Grid Solution?

Making sure you have enough space is very important to consider before jumping in to an off-grid solution. You need space for both solar panels on the roof of the home as well as space for the system to be housed which usually includes battery packs, inverters and the solution mainframe too. Usually this is housed in the garage of the home and needs to be under cover and in a room where no direct sunlight or too much heat can affect it.

#4 – Changing Your Power Consumption Patterns

When you go solar, you may have to change the way you consume your energy most especially in terms of power consumption patterns. An example of this, is when it has been a rainy or cloudy day, your solar system may not have generated enough power for the geyser, which means you may have to split your family’s showering schedule between day and night. Changing your power consumption patterns is a minor thing though, and will take no time at all to get used to, you will learn to read the weather, read your system, and know what you have to do to conserve or change energy patterns if the need arises.

#5 – Converting Some of Your Appliances

It might be worth looking at converting certain appliances to solar appliances too. Options you have may include installing solar geysers instead of electric ones, installing solar panels to heat your pool instead of having an electric heat pump, and installing battery back-ups for things like your electric garage and gate.

Where To Find Of-Grid Systems and Solutions?

Goscor Power Products has been providing South Africans with alternative power solutions for over 30 years. Check out our range of inverters, batteries and solar panels and products now. Or request a quote online today.:

For all your equipment essentials like generators, inverters, inverter generators and other power products, contact the experts at Goscor Power Products now.

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Off Grid Power Solutions

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