Steps towards energy self-sufficiency at your workplace
Installing a ‘stand alone’ renewable energy system in an off-grid location may be a necessity or a sustainable choice at your workplace. Either way you have much to gain from today’s increasingly efficient and affordable solar panels, turbines, inverters and batteries.
Renewable energy generation such as solar and wind power not only helps you create a sustainable power source but benefits the environment, reduces noise, reduces air pollution, and cuts diesel transport costs to save you time and energy.
Whether you are trying to power a chicken farm, a communications tower on a mine site or a private house in a remote location an important first step towards energy self-sufficiency is to minimise any unnecessary power use. If you think your site may suit a wind power or micro-hydro power system, this is also an option.
When setting up a solar PV power system, locating the best, north-facing location and assessing the optimum system size for this location is an essential starting point. If your roof does not have north-facing surfaces or is shaded too much, you can use pole-mount systems which may offer good alternatives.
The system size, orientation and the tilt of the panels allows you to estimate the annual power generation of the system. For off-grid systems, the tilt is generally quite steep (40°-60°) to achieve the best solar performance in winter, when you need to make the most of available sunlight.
The battery storage system is generally contained in a separate room or enclosure, if in the same room as the inverter and other componentry. A monitor will allow you to see at a glance what the ‘state of charge’ of the battery system is. A diesel or petrol backup generator is commonly available to keep the batteries at a good charge level at those times when insufficient sun or wind is available.
The beauty of a stand alone installation is that the up front cost is almost all you pay for your off grid power. You then have very low running costs for up to 20 to 30 years.
For more information on stand alone systems: http://solarquip.com.au/off-grid-or-standalone-power-systems/
If you are interested in solar power and stand alone power systems then you might like to attend the upcoming 3rd Solar-Diesel Hybrid & Battery Systems Conference in Melbourne on the 22nd & 23rd November 2018 which will cover the design, installation and maintenance of renewable hybrid systems.
Day one of the conference features eight technical presentations/case studies from industry professionals and covers small to large installations. Day two involves a full day practical and hands-on workshop on “Designing Stand-Alone Power Systems” presented by local industry guru Glen Morris. The workshop focuses on small scale installations but the information/calculations are easily transferrable to larger projects. The event will have a technical focus, covering key design, implementation, and operational considerations for solar/diesel hybrid and battery systems including installation and maintenance. Also covered will be the hurdles encountered when introducing solar to an existing diesel power system, retrofitting, and the importance of maintaining consistent electricity.
You can download the full event brochure HERE or register online HERE.