Being Off-Grid is not a simple decision unless you just have no other choice. Many of our customers start by thinking it is the right thing to do but then eventually realise that paying the expensive electrical connection fee is the better option.
If you have to be Off-Grid due to a very remote location or the Power Company wants a small fortune to connect you to the local grid then there is a series of things to consider to help you decide.
- Assess your existing/proposed loads now and what they might be in the future so think about how much power you might need at any one time and how much in a year and the pattern of use.
- Get a connection quote from the Local DNO (Western Power for most of the Midlands)
- See if you can make the quote cheaper by doing the Non-contestable works yourself such as cable laying/trenching.
- If your power use is going to be low with for example peak loads for short periods of time of less than 10kw and annual usage less than 5,000kwh/ year then going Off-Grid (OG) may be affordable as well as sensible and environmentally friendly.
- But, if you are a non-technical person it may not be such a good idea! OG can be complex and will require your time to manage it and deal with the inevitable maintenance/refuelling/power failures etc.
- No one will give you any financial grants for an OG system unless it involves Renewable energy sources. However, todays subsidies such as the Feed in Tariff (FIT) will help but they will not make OG a profitable exercise!
- Even at its simplest an OG system taking all its power from a diesel generator will cost around 30p/kwh in fuel costs alone.
- Replacing expensive fuel costs with Renewable energy sources makes sense but is expensive to start with.
- Look at your site and decide what Renewable options you have from solar panels, wind turbines, small Hydro (water turbines), Biomass CHP (combined heat and power engines) and batteries combined with a generator to balance loads and provide backup and short term power storage.
- Work out if there are processes or heating loads that need to be met as well as electrical loads as this can help in increasing viability with renewable energy heating and indicate if a constant supply of heat and power can be used usefully form a Biomass CHP unit.
- Once you have some ideas of Energy uses, loads, patterns of use and possible Renewable options we can help you by doing appraisal modelling, option analysis, calculate likely costs and savings.
- We can advise on ways to minimise electrical and heat loads to keep your system smaller and cheaper to install and run.
- Make the most of our extensive Renewables/Energy management/Battery experience with a free assessment of your options. Involve us early on so future buildings can be optimised for minimal energy use and Renewable energy generation.