With the world focusing on renewable energy and trying new ways to save energy costs, going off the grid is one of the best options. Countries like Australia have adopted this system quite well and it is estimated that six new solar panels are installed each minute. Although the technology has brought multiple benefits to homeowners but some remain skeptical about its disadvantages. So let’s take a look at some pros and cons to see whether you should be living off the grid.
The declining prices of batteries and solar systems
A chief reason countries like Australia have decided to increase the utilization of solar systems is due to a drop in the prices of the equipment over the last decade. Since prominent manufacturers have been working on sustaining energy and introducing new technologies and ways to help reduce the energy, the competition was destined to bring the price down.
Every year, each brand comes out with a new product that is comparatively more advanced than its predecessor, including more features as well. There was a time when solar panels were expensive. Even the batteries would put a huge dent in the wallet. However, today the situation has completely changed. This is the perfect time to considering going off the grid since it is relatively more affordable than ever today and will help run your entire home with ease.
Another valuable benefit of going off the grid is that it is accessible almost anywhere. Back in the day, if you were planning to build a house, it was suggested that a location that is near to the main power should be chosen so that the access is easy. However, considering the regular decrease in solar equipment prices, you can build and come up with your own clean energy on-site.
In addition to that, with the availability of solar panels along with the batteries, it has come to the point where many homeowners in Australia are running completely self-sufficient homes. Plus, homes with powerful batteries and solar systems enjoy the same luxuries as electricity-powered households. Today, you do not have to compromise any of the comforts to make full use of going off the grid.
You will save money long-term
Apart from the environmental benefits solar systems have to offer, you will save a substantial amount of money in the long term. If you plan to build a home in a regional area, you should also first consider the ease of connecting the mains power to the property. It might seem easier said than done but it depends on multiple factors. For instance, proximity being the biggest concern.
While the connection can cost you somewhere around $10,000 to $100,000. Once you have installed the connection to the mains power, you will receive both ongoing and rising electricity bills each month along with supply charges quarterly.
With that being said, you should consider and think of investing in a self-sustaining solar system instead of spending the entire amount on the mains power connection. If you were to do this, your energy bills are going to be comparatively loser and it might be that you do not receive any bill from the retailer either.
On the other hand, if your property already features a connection to the mains power or the cost of the connection is quite low, you can opt for a grid-connected solar system as well. Not only is it going to be a better financial decision to invest but you are going to keep your energy bills at a minimum while the grid ensures that you receive continuous power.
It Helps Protect the Environment
There is no denying that the mains power has played a huge role in the lives of Australians before the introduction of solar systems. However, today the demand is on the rise and almost every homeowner is trying to adapt to the same lifestyle considering the lower costs, ease of availability, and installation. Around 15 years ago, almost every home was mains-powered.
Currently, the situation is the opposite with homeowners trying to reduce their dependence on the grid or completely without it altogether. In addition to that, an off-the-grid solar system also helps utilize the power relatively better. Since most grid-connected households waste energy, solar-powered homes on the other hand are intelligent in that sense. These systems allow the homeowners to make the best of the self-generated power.
The Capital Costs
Even though the costs associated with installing a powerful solar system are huge but it is still better than spending money on connecting to the mains power along with the ongoing power bills. Depending on the size, complexity, and quality, off-the-grid solar systems can vary. When it comes to these systems, you cannot say which the best is.
The reason is that each system is specifically tailored to suit your needs and energy requirements. When you plan on going off the grid, you will discuss it with a consultant who will give you an idea of what you need and how much, considering your needs in the present and growing in the future.
Additionally, the price and scale of your solar system will be based on your energy requirements. It might cost you anything between $15,000 to $90,000.
The maintenance and initial setup
While choosing to install an off-the-grid solar system, you need to consider its maintenance and initial setup. While planning the installation, you will need to discuss the size, weight, and solar array’s location. Furthermore, you are going to install and place any other relevant hardware nearby.
Once the system is good to go, it is going to need maintenance each year. Bear in mind that maintenance is crucial to these systems. In order to keep them running optimally, a professional is going to run a thorough inspection and keep everything in order.
Although living off the grid is possible and has paid off many homeowners in multiple ways but it mostly depends on the location and your energy requirements. If you are able to determine that the cost of connecting to the mains power is comparatively more than the initial solar system setup. Then you should choose the latter.
However, if the cost of connection happens to be low or the house is already connected to the grid, you can opt for an on-grid solar system. It all depends on what you need and other important factors such as the connection costs etc.