OFF-GRID SOLAR SYSTEMS IN QUEENSLAND: What is an off-grid solar system, how it works, & is it worth investing in?

    Introduction

    Off-grid and hybrid solar panel systems have become quite the rage in Australia, particularly in Queensland. A hybrid solar system is definitely more expensive than an off-grid system. Is that extra mile really necessary? Or can you get the same results with off-grid solar panels in Queensland? Let us help you understand what exactly an off-grid solar system is, its features, advantages and whether it would be suitable for you.

    What Exactly Is An Off-grid Solar System?

    The off-grid solar system, also known as Standalone Power System or SAPS, is one of the most sought-after solar systems across Australia. It basically generates electricity through the solar panels and charges a solar battery via a controller. That electricity is then converted into AC current, which can be distributed among all your household appliances. The battery helps store the energy generated so that it can be used later, during the night or when the panels receive little sunlight.

    What equipment does an off-grid solar system cave?

    As with any other solar system installation, there are pieces of equipment that need to be added to the off-grid system. An off-grid solar system would include the following things-

    1. Solar battery
    2. Solar inverters
    3. A battery controller
    4. Solar panels
    5. An alternate energy source (this is optional)

    If you looked into getting solar panels in Queensland then you are probably aware of the battery and inverters. So, let’s start with the lesser-known ones first.

    • Battery Controller

    These are also known as battery chargers or solar charge controllers. As the name suggests, they regulate and control the current or voltage the battery gets. This prevents the batteries from overcharging and damaging. Sunlight in Australia can be quite harsh, so sometimes there would be a high load of electricity. Controlling it will ensure the batteries live up to their lifespans.

    • Alternate Energy Source

    An alternate source of energy as a backup system is worth considering during winter. You won’t get much sunlight during Winter, so if your household is large then you should definitely look more into it.

    • Solar Inverters

    Solar inverters are one of the most important equipment in solar system installation. They help the panels convert the Direct Current or DC into Alternating Current or which is used for most household appliances. These are also known as Solar Converters or PV Inverters. Standalone inverters are recommended for off-grid solar systems.

    • Solar inverters are available in three different types:-
      1. String Inverter: These are roughly the size of a briefcase or small suitcase.
      2. Microinverters: These are around the same size as a paperback book.
      3. Optimizers: The optimizers are a combination of both the string and the micro-inverter. The string inverter is slightly cheaper than a micro-inverter, and they are wall-mounted. Microinverters are placed either underneath or on the back of each panel individually. 

    One thing you should note is that you should never mount the string inverters where they would receive severe sunlight. Australia’s summers are harsh and it pretty much affects the functioning of inverters during peak summers, if the inverters are placed under direct sunlight. Hence, either mount them where they will get a shade or build a shade over the place you mount them. The inverters are always hard at work in a solar system and hence are likely to need a replacement in 15 to 20 years.

    • Solar Panels

    The number of panels you will need depends on the space you have and the kind of appliances you use. But the amount of electricity the panels generate depends solely on the sunlight. Hence, getting more panels doesn’t mean you will generate more energy or vice versa.

    Each individual solar panel usually has at least 60 or more cells. There are 4 different ways to arrange the cells viz., polycrystalline, which is the most common and traditional one, monocrystalline, half-cut layout, and shingled. All of them work in the same way, but if your place gets a lot of shade during the day, then getting a half-cut or shingled module would be better. The panels are available in two sizes:

    • The residential size will have about 60 to 66 cells and are ideal for small residential buildings or if your rooftop doesn’t have much space.
    • Commercial size panels will have around 72 cells and are heavier than the residential ones.

    Despite their names, you can use either of them for residential and commercial purposes, depending on the space you have. The advantage of commercial panels is that they would generate slightly more energy, but the size also makes it harder to work with. Residential ones are lighter and easier to work with. However, the difference would be slight so you can choose either with no major difference.

    Advantages of an off-grid solar system

    Off-grid solar systems have their advantages over on-grid solar systems in Queensland. Here are several benefits of getting an off-grid solar system:-

    • No worries during blackouts

    Off-grid systems ensure that your household appliances and electricity continue when there’s a complete power outage. The local electricity fluctuates because of heavy rain, poor weather, or strong winds. You won’t have to worry about any of that since the batteries store all the excess energy for later use. And you can always add a backup source when the weather gets worse.

    • Hassle-free installation

    Solar panel installation might seem daunting at a first glance but the process is much simpler than one would think. Any CEC (Clean Energy Council) accredited solar system Queensland company will provide you with all the components and post-installation services. You won’t need to have in-depth knowledge about solar systems or electrical systems and the installer will let you know all the basics that you need to know.

    • Reduction in electricity bills

    The cost for a solar panel installation would seem high, but it’s a worthy investment since the price of electricity is always on the rise. There are various programs, laws and rebates available all over Australia that give you major discounts or paybacks for solar systems. We’ll discuss more on this later on. By installing an off-grid solar system in Queensland, you won’t have to pay monthly electricity bills. The systems require little maintenance, so you won’t have to spend too much on its tools and kits either.

    • Environment friendly

    The energy generated through solar systems is clean and renewable. This includes hybrid solar systems and on-grid systems. These systems don’t need fuels to run, so they decrease your carbon footprint too, whether your system is residential or commercial. Sustainability is one of the main reasons getting a solar system in Queensland or anywhere for the record is worth the money.

    • Great for rural or remote areas:

    Getting the grid connections in rural or remote locations is quite costly compared to getting them in towns. Not to mention, maintenance and repairs are difficult as not every company will increase the rates in one go. If you live in such areas, then an off-grid solar panel installation would be the best choice for you. They would never require the extensive maintenance or repairs grid connections would need. You would be saving money as well as efforts by getting an off-grid solar system.

    Are off-grid Solar Systems in Queensland only for small to medium houses?

    The straightforward answer is NO! Off-grid solar systems can be used diversely for various layouts. You can get solar panel installation for small or large or medium households, vocational cabins in remote locations, small and medium scale businesses, beach houses, holiday houses, and properties in rural areas.

    The number of panels and the type of inverter you would need depends on the property and location. An installer will always check the property physically first before commenting on the system or numbers.

    What are the Solar Rebates and Feed-In Tariffs in Australia?

    Australia has a lot of rebates and FITs (AKA Feed-In Tariffs) to promote solar system installation for both residential and commercial purposes. With over 29% of homes choosing residential solar systems, around 2.77 million solar systems are in use all across Australia.

    Solar systems in Queensland that are 99kW in size are eligible for an incentive(financial) in Australia, which is known as the STC Program (Small Scale Technology Certificate). Through this program, you get paid according to the expected generation of energy in the next ten years. The numbers and conditions might vary according to location and networks. This program tends to get applied as a sale discount. If your system is over 100kW, you no longer are eligible for the STC program. You will be eligible for the LGC instead.

    To get LGC, the installer would need to first register their business to be an official “accredited power station” with the Clean Energy Regulator. The process is handled by the solar system installers, so you don’t need to scramble. They will just need to provide proof that your meter is up to the standards of the National Electricity Market and you can track everything properly.

    There are a few laws in place too that you should know about:

    • The Australian Consumer Law gives legal protection and recourse to illegal or unreliable solar installations. This law applies to services and tools that are worth less than 40,000. This means commercial & residential solar systems that are less than 40kW will get legal protection.
    • The Australian Contract Law presumably covers systems that are worth more than $40,000. You will need to get in touch with a lawyer to know more about getting this subsidy. 

    Solar energy is one of the cleanest and most reliable power sources in Australia. Over 30% of homes in Brisbane, and 29% of houses all over Australia currently use only solar energy for their households. With such a growing demand for solar systems in Queensland, the upcoming number of installers in the market is also high. So choosing one now is definitely trickier than ever before. 

    Why should you choose us?

    GoRunSolar is an award-winning solar installation company that provides services all over Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Logan, Ipswich, Caboolture, and Gold Coast. All our equipment and practices are CEC accredited and we offer both pre and post-installation services.

    Here are some reasons we would be the best fit for you:

    • We provide cost-effective & efficient solar services
    • We have CEC accredited installers
    • We give you full control over the decisions
    • You will get top quality inverters and batteries
    • We will let you know about the rebates and handle all the paperwork that is required for the respective program
    • Our solar panels come with a 25-year warranty

    What do we offer?

    We are solar power retailers in Australia that have expertise in turnkey solar panel installation & solutions for off-grid solar systems as well as hybrid solar systems. Our team of engineers, with their in-depth experience, will provide you with an extensive top-grade solar system. Apart from the installation of solar power systems, we also offer great after-sale services.

    We can also help you convert your pre-existing off-grid system solutions and also help you get a brand new off-grid system, be it your house or office. We offer the following additional components-

    • Power meters
    • Battery systems
    • Charge controllers
    • DC disconnector (this is optional for a system)
    • Battery-based inverters

    Conclusion

    If you are looking for a solar system that will help you through fluctuations, bad weather, and power outages, then we can help you find a suitable solar system. Whether you want it for your house or your office, Go Run Solar has an appropriate system.Our experienced engineers will work with you to decide on a system that suits your requirements, budget, and locality. All our installers are CEC accredited. Our award-winning retail can guarantee you an affordable system with great customer service even years after the sale. For more information, <INSERT CTA>.