Energy Systems

Off-Grid solar 101

Going Off-Grid for electricity can be one of the biggest challenges you can face and also one of the most expensive. 

After doing a Geoff Lawton Permaculture design course in 2013 I learnt the secret to taking my family’s home off-grid in the city which I had been wanting to do for years and was constantly told I couldn’t. 

You can see our Off-Grid house in Sydney in this video.

There is also the other element to going Off-Grid and doing it in a permaculture way. 

For us doing it with low embodied energy products, using solar panels that would pay back their environmental footprint not just the bank account.  Batteries that would last a very long time and also be choice that would make a difference for our children was very hard to get to the bottom of and talk to guys who could answer any of these questions. 

Most sales guys just want to sell you a 6.6kw solar system because that’s the best payback period financially for most countries. I remember one guy giving us a quote and asking “ are you one of these greenie types?” You think maybe growing all your own food and the garden tour he got 1st would have quietly helped him answer that question in his own head.

Going Off-Grid for electricity and taking responsibility for your own power is one of the most rewarding things that you can do in my opinion. 3rd to growing your own food and harvesting your own water.

I created this Video to help people understand the basics of Off-Grid Solar and help you get your head around Off-Grid and how different it is to Grid tied systems. 

The key is to design  a solar system with everything else in your garden and include it in with your permaculture design. If you get your property design and building right, solar is easy to do. 

The trick to making solar easy is not requiring to heat and cool your house.  If your home can be naturally cool in summer  and warm in winter a solar system becomes something  to run lights and fridges which is easy to do. 

I am also not a big fan of gas and the reality is it is the lowest cost way besides having a fire to cook. When designing the solar system these days helping people get the best system possible for the budget and not use gas is always a goal of mine as cooking with renewable energy is a priority in a design as cooking is what I call driving your solar system, When cooking with electricity Off-Grid is when you are really using your system, The rest of the time it just does its own thing. 

With the right design and a good plan you can have a great system on a budget and do most things with solar and fire off-grid. 

I hope the video is helpful and to find out more about how to design a solar system without gas on a budget check out our youtube channel.  24 Hour Solar Youtube

And remember the 3 best things you can do to save energy is Grow your own food, Harvest your own water and catch public transport when you can. 


One Comment

  1. Hi Mark,
    Please Help. I am a single woman looking after my mother. I have been researching for some time now & ready to go ahead but I am not getting answers or people are trying to talk me out of doing things, its exhausting. Is there not someone out there that can come in & say Ok what do you want done, lets go! Is $20,000 enough to get set up, we already have solar panels I really want to get off grid. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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