How Much Does Off Grid Solar Cost?

off grid solar system

I had a phone call from a mate today asking for advice on buying an off grid solar system for his new house in suburban Melbourne. He was pissed off about paying the daily grid connection charge when his solar system was easily going to produce more power than he used. A typical grid connection charge is about $1 per day.

So what is the extra cost of getting completely off the grid with your solar system in the city compared to a standard grid connect solar system?

Let’s take a 5kW solar system that would power a mid sized air-conditioned house as an example.

On Grid Cost :

(updated Dec 2014 to reflect current pricing)

5kW of panels $4,000

5kW inverter $2,000

Racking and Cabling: $1000

Installation + overheads + profit: $3,000

Less Solar Rebate (STCs): -$,3500

Out of pocket cost to you approx: $6,500 (Dec 2014 prices)


Off Grid Cost :

5kW of panels: $4,000

5kW Off Grid Capable Inverter + charge controller (e.g. Kaco + Selectronic): $5,500

40kWh of Sonnenschein AGL batteries (good quality German) : $12,000

Racking and Cabling (you’ve gotta wire up and mount all those batteries remember!): $2,000

Installation and commissioning: $3,000

Bottom of the range Integrated Diesel Generator (unless you don’t mind running out of electricity occasionally): $3,000

Less Solar Rebate (STCs): -$,3,500

Total: $26,000

 ($19,500 more than the grid connect solar system)

So if my mate is going to go completely off his head off the grid, he is going to save $1 per day, or $365 per year in grid connection fees.

He’ll also, obviously not have to pay any ‘per kWh’ electricity bills either. That’s $3.50 per day in electricity which is about $1300 per year. So far he is saving $1,665 per year, compared to savings with a plain vanilla grid connect system.

Now let’s take off the annual maintenance and diesel costs – let’s call that $665 per year.

His net savings for going off grid, compared to staying on grid with solar are about $1,000 per year.

But he will paying $19,000 more for the privilege. That makes the simple payback for going off grid 19 years! Or if you factor in an annual estimated 5% electricity price rise, that payback is 14 years.

And at the end of the 14 years he’s probably going to need to replace all those batteries.

My advice to my buddy: Get a grid connect solar system which will typically pay back in 5-6 years.

Please Note: These costs are for going completely off the grid for a typical Aussie home in the city with a turnkey professional design and installation. I’m assuming the homeowner is not electrically savvy and does not want to drastically change the way they use electricity. You can pay less if you have a very energy efficient home and constantly manage your usage, to make sure that you don’t drain the system too much – but let’s be honest – most people don’t want to do this! You’ll see a lot of comments below saying you can do it for a third of the price if you import your own components and DIY the install. That of course is true. I’m assuming you don’t want to do that. I’m assuming you want to pay a professional solar company to take responsibility for the system.

There is also a compromise solution and that is to connect your solar system to the grid, but still have a battery backup. This type of solar system configuration is a lot less expensive than the system described above, because you don’t need the generator or such a fancy inverter, or nearly as many batteries. This kind of hybrid arrangement is also sometimes called “grid-tie with power backup”, “grid failover” or “grid fallback”. I’ll run through the design and costings for these kinds of systems in a future blog post.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.


  1. Robert G Scott says

    You have over priced everything. You may be an electrical engineer for all I know but you have no idea of the cost of a solar off grid setup in the real world. I am an electrician & electronics tech and it has just cost me less than $9,000 to go of the grid. I generate a maximum of 4.5 KW per hour from my 18 x 250W 24V solar panels. These panels have cost me about $4,500 about a dollar a watt. They sell for a little less now. The batteries 4 x 12V 250 ampere hour types at $400 each = $1,600. Bigger Amp Hour batteries will cost more or course but nowhere near the outrageous cost you mentioned. The battery bank charger and solar panel harvest controller about $560. The 6 KVA pure sine wave inverter about $800. Wiring about $200-300 and a 6KVA backup generator $800.
    Granted Gas supplies hot water, heating and cooking and the labour was my own. We have no power connection to the grid and we are on our own. Here in Victoria it costs $1.20 per day just to have power connected to the house. It would appear you have no idea of costs in the real world and or on e-bay right now. It wasn’t much dearer when you posted your blog, you have not researched your subject much. I started my trade in 1965 and have quite a few other qualifications in the electrical and electronic trades.

    • Hi Robert,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The price above is for a professionally installed, off grid solar system using top quality components with good warranties, professional backup, and heaps of storage, as would be needed by a typical, Aussie home with Air Con etc.

      Of course if you DIY an off grid solar system for low-usage home with a small amount of storage, using the cheapest equipment you can find on eBay, you are going to do it for a fraction of the price. You have zero overheads. Not my definition of a real world. Most homeowners I know would expect their installer to pay for: insurance, training, vehicles, wages, office, admin, designers, equipment, GST, payroll tax, etc. etc. Comparing the price of DIY to professionally installed makes no sense in my opinion.

      Also a “KW per hour” (sic) would have units of Joules per second per second, which would be a rate of change of energy, do you mean kWh ? :

      • Robert G Scott says

        now I have been in this game a long time starting an electrical apprenticeship in 1965 and finishing a communications certificate in 1980 plus 20 years in the RAAF as an electronics tech & supervisor (SGT) .
        To start with the solar panels I bought were Jenko 250W models bought from Low energy developments ACN 126 262959. (made in China) The battery bank was a lucky buy for 12V 250AH AGM batteries for $400 ea. made in China . The solar charger is sold in Australia for over $2000 by several suppliers, they are ripping people off. The inverter is also sold here for markup prices.
        The system works well, I have looked inside both the charge controller & inverter and the build quality is very good compared to mil spec equipment of which I have a great deal of experience. I consider myself a professional and have laid out the wiring and installation in a most professional manner, If you give me your home e-mail I will send you pictures of my installation. I am not working for other vested interests as you appear to be so I don’t have to pump up prices to cover enormous profit margins as seems to be the want of solar installers at the moment. I am currently writing an article for Silicon Chip on my system so hopefully many others can duplicate my efforts to reduce my electrical power bill to zero with no conditions.
        I have written articles for the editor Leo before and he seems most interested in this one. I can run a 2.2 KW split air system and am running it at the moment on this most hot (41 deg) day of January 2013. The battery bank is only good for two days without sufficient sun but that will be upgraded soon to 500 AH. I am running a 48V battery system as it keeps currents down to reasonable levels for the amount of power required. As I have said in my last e-mail this whole system would be difficult if we had electric hotwater, heating and cooking.

        • Hi Robert,
          Am most interested in finding out more about your system and setup, will keep an eye out for the Silicon Chip article.

        • I don’t have any qualifications at all, but have been researching and using solar systems for over thirty years in various situations.
          And until recent times I didn’t have much money, so developed a keen sense of getting the best deal possible. (Including using cabling, switches and so on from factory demolitions, etc. (Used to be able to get ANYTHING at a bargain-basement price from the SEC depot in Port Melbourne, including 2-volt 3200 AH ‘stand-by batteries for $16 each. A mate recently dumped a set of them after 28 YEARS of daily off-grid use!)

          Point is that I agree with all the above comments about pricing etc. Just one minor observation is that any components, including batteries, can pack up just as easily whether they’re expensive or cheap ones (within reason). Therefore get the best cheaper components you can….with the best possible enforceable warranty.

          Another suggestion is to use several smaller circuits rather than a single large one.
          eg. Back when a u-bewt inverter cost about 2 years average wages, and was oversized enough to run everything, I was using SIX smaller auto-type inverters: each one running a separate circuit. All six of them cost less than 10% of one u-bewt inverter, was safer to use on any basis, and was much MORE EFFICIENT, because ~ back then ~ unless you used an inverter at more than abut 92% of its capacity it’s efficiency dropped to as low as nearly 50%. (Don’t know if that’s still the case, but the principle is still as sound as it was then.)

          Currently I’m using MeanWell pure sinewave inverters ranging from 100-watts to 700-watts in different applications. They’re fairly cheap, very efficient and come with a three-year warranty (better than most these days), which I’ve never had to invoke in over five years.
          Am running a 600AH 24-volt battery system which only ever gets discharged to 10/15 %, so should easily get the 10 years design-life of use. If so they’ll have cost a fair bit less than the ‘service-to-property charge over the same period (assuming the charge for that doesn’t increase ~ HA!)

          Th only ‘inconvenience’ is the use of a 2500-watt demand-start generator for the microwave, washing-machine, power-tools, etc.

          I’m still connected to the grid because it’s so bloody LUCRATIVE! (after usage charges and paying the gas bills it puts about $1600 year into my bank-account.

          Gawd life’s hard!! 🙂

          • Dabbles,
            Those batteries from what used to be the old SEC depot at port Melbourne, Were they NiFe batteries? do you know? (Nickel Iron batteries) also can you give me any contact details for the depot, so i can go and see what they might have lying around.
            I am after some big old batteries, for a off grid system i want to put together at my place at Romsey.

          • Hi Owen.
            Would like to help, but am talking about the ‘old days’ (Grandpa Simpson Syndrome!), and the depot has been closed down for (?) 25 years.
            It covered several hundred acres at Fisherman’s Bend (Salmon St) , and you could buy anything from 6-ton 4WD trucks to dunny paper. (galvanized nuts/bolts up to 24″x2″ @ $6 per five-gallon drum-full, Tallow-wood/Ironbark power-poles for $20, HT-pylon cross-members for $30 (best quality galvanized angle/channel up to half-inch) etc etc. ) Over the years I built six muddies for about $4,000 each with stuff from there.

            But I digress. Can’t recall that the batteries had any brandname or other details, but were ordinary lead-acid.The 2-volt ones were about the size of a suitcase, built of thick glass with glass ‘corks’. There were also 200 ah-12-volt and 500ah-6-volt ones (@ $5) available depending on the day. They were used as standby power in telephone exchanges, etc. and were replaced every couple of years whether they were ever used of not.

            Great opportunities, but in the end the ‘entrepreneurs’ got involved and bought everything by the semi-load, and got exclusive rights. Then finally the SEC was sold. (Bloody Kennett!)

            I’ve never seen material like that since ~ at ANY price ~ because price was never an issue in government spending.

            And in any solar-system the batteries are always the most expensive and least-reliable components. Lotsa years of experience tells me the best way to go is use the minimum amount of battery-power you can for lights, TVs, etc. and buy a medium-sized demand-start sine-wave generator for the intermittent heavy-users like microwaves, tools, etc. Though y’can oversize your solar-array compared to the battery-bank and run your fridges/freezers/whatever at full bore all day directly and not at all at night. Panels are efficient enough and cheap enough these days to install a LOT of them – and even switch excess power into heating water or whatever.

            Another option worth considering is to run dc circuits around the house and use dc lights/tv, etc. direct from the battery-bank. It not only saves you the cost (including the inversion-inefficiency loss) and possible failure of inverters, but allows you to avoid using an overpriced electrician.

            I do ALL my own work, but legally-speaking any post-inverter power – eg 240 vac – requires qualified installation, and would probably void your house insurance if you didn’t get a certificate. Mind you, about 99.35% of all house-fires start from circuitry installed by qualified electricians! 😉 Heavier-than-required wiring, plenty of circuit-breakers – NOT much bigger than the circuit ACTUALLY requires and a few earth-leakage safety switches should be far more protection than you’d ever need.

            Hope all that helps; sorry for the long-windedness.
            ….and always remember: If it ain’t fun you’re doing it wrong!

          • Hi dabbles, my name is ky. I love your information on off grid solar. Dabbles I was just wondering /hoping to get your contact details please? To ask a little more. Thankyou ky

          • Jack Wallace says

            Hi Ky.
            Just stumbled on you post by chance. I’ve had a most hectic 18 months and am still trying to rejig my life after having lost most of it.
            If you see this and still want to contact me feel free:- [email protected]
            (note the THREE b’s

          • Yes Minister says

            I get well over $8000 per annum FiT from a 2011 commissioned 10kw system that exists purely to send green electrons to the grid. My house runs off a separate off-grid system.

        • littlelostland says

          Hey Robert G Scott -hopefully you’re still reading posts as these were a while ago but I’m a newbie with an inkling that most of these off grid installers are totally ripping people off. I want the system you’ve got!! Im in Victoria. Have you got some advice on buying all the things you have?

          • Same here … I’m a 1 person house … Stupid bills of about 400 per quarter an I just about live by candle light!,,, so not happy … And not happy with the solar quotes I’ve been getting , I’m in Romsey as well !

        • Richard Knezevic says

          You’re a typical low level bean head sparky Robert. G. Scott who just likes to here his own rant even though you are completely wrong and misleading. You are not processing what Finn Peacock is saying to you and I should know as I have been a Electrical Contractor now for over 30 years and can appreciate and understand exactly what he is talking about and it is really is quite simple. Have you got short man syndrome or something? Or are you just jealous? You are the typical cowboy sparky that this country has to get rid of because you definitely are not doing our industry any favours. You might be happy to cut corners and get paid a bowl of rice for your work but the majority of us professionals are not.

    • Dave Cadwell says

      We have land 2km’s from the nearest hydro pole. Putting in a line as of 2 yrs ago would cost over $ 50,000.00 CDN at a 40:1 exchange rate. As of today the rate is 37.50:1.
      WE must be off grid.
      If my math is correct, I need an 8kwH system. I am building in the Philippines, so I am researching systems in the U.S.A. vs trying not to get gouged by folks in Manila.
      Assistance would be a great help. Au gets as much sun as we do in Eastern Samar so what you use will be available for me.
      The system I am looking at from the U.S.A. is $19,000.00 plus batteries, [ 24 1284 Ah 48VDC $ 8,674.00] mounting, exchange, and Canadian import fees—import fees will be refunded, eventually.
      My problem in dealing with Manila is a) price gouging. Every “foreigner” wipes his ass with a $100.00 U.S bill is a common mind set.
      b) you can’t get a straight answer from people.
      That said, SMA make a good inverter Sunny Tripower 8000Tl ?
      Panels–another can of worms. Replacement cost have to be factored in as well as efficiency.
      Mounting will , most likely be ground mounted on a wheeled structure so I can get them into cover when typhoons hit.
      [Yolanda hit us , wind destroyed all 65 coconut trees on our property.]
      As silly as this may sound, how does one shut off a solar panel?
      Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
      Yes, I do have a professional electrician doing the wiring.
      Thanks for your time.

  2. steve smith says

    i to am currently building an off grid solar system as it would cost 60,000 to get the power to my house, at present i have imported 24 1000 amp batterys from china opvz 10,000 dollars, i;m trying to find a suitable inverter charger am a bit shy of chinese as i want it to last can you suggest a good 5 kw unit i’m looking at a vectron for $5500 right now solar pannels from samil still waiting for a quote they don’t do off grid inverter at present. as you can see it is going to cost a lot more than the above mentioned system. but i hope it will last me 12-15 years on the batterys minimum.

    • Selectronic are excellent – Australian Made – off grid compatible inverters:

      • Not so good if I read the the tech. notes correctly.
        Apparently the 3kw unit restricts the input to about 35 vdc,
        which means you’d need cabling (& bits) heavy enough to launch a bloody space-shuttle.

        I’m currently running two strings of a nominal 24-volt ( 28-36 actual volts open-circuit 46 vdc) into an Aerosharp inverter at around 200 vdc per string. When I convert my grid-connect system to stand-alone I’d prefer to do and spend as little as possible, which means I’ll want an inverter that either has tow trackers @ 200+ vdc (ala the Aerosharp) ~ or, better a single tracker that’ll handle a 500vdc input @ about 5 amps.

        If possible, I’d prefer to keep the Aerosharp, but would need some way to circumvent/disable the ‘anti-islanding’ link……. (perhaps feed 240vac to it from a battery/inverter source ~ would that work?)

        Any info/suggestions from any of you qualification-glutted whiz-kids would be appreciated. (and I’d be willing to pay for your time, of course.)


    • What I’d really be willing to pay a quid for is an inverter that does everything a good grid-connect inverter does, and as efficiently, but in a stand-alone application, ie, without he ‘anti-islanding’ loop. (or better still, with an on-off switch to connect/disconnect the anti-islanding thingo)

      If any of you whizkids can come up with such a unit PLEASE give me first refusal.

  3. RobertTalty says

    Sorry Finn but I have to concur with the other Robert because your costs are way too high almost double what I would calculate. If you decided to have a generator for backup than the 50Kwh battery storage seems a little excessive, to say the least. With the price of PV dropping so much recently I find it better to over install PV and add west facing PV for the late afternoon / early evening loads. Additionally where I live the grid connection charge is $1.48 / day so it is not insignificant.

  4. Guys,

    Robert is correct, the prices quoted are far in excess of what is commercially available in the market now. I also am an electrician with significant other qualifications over the years. I got my first contractors license in 1978 and over that time have installed a significant number of alternative power system. You will appreciate that in some instances off grid power is not just not viable but impossible.

    First of all start with calculating you maximum demand to size the system. If you calculate that 5 KVA is acceptable per the example above then you can calculate your reserve capacity required. Once done you know what size batteries to use. Then you can get your quotes.

    Batteries “Exide” 2V 1150 AH ex Bris should cost around $8,000 for a 48 volt system includes links
    5KVA Inverter including MPPT solar charger allow $1500 ex Taiwan land in Australia
    Panels allow $1 per Watt
    A 5KVA Generator with auto start should cost approx significantly less than $5,000 in fact my mate bought on recently for $1000
    For installation its the same except you now have 24 batteries to accommodate. Add 2 – 4 hours

    For those of you that want a fully integrated kit then I can source an 8 KVA system includes the batteries and a purpose built steel cabinet for less than $20,000.

    So if your currently using the standard 15KWH per day then the average household will save about $2000 per year in electricity charges and pay for a $20,000 system in 10 years at current rates. I calculated this at 25 cents per KWH but prices are expected to rise well above the 30 cents some people are now paying. Allow for battery replacement as well though depending on your choice better batteries last longer. 18 plus years for good ones AGM 11 years

    • Lloyd: I’m looking up costing a similar battery system using Exide 2v 1050 AH batteries. However the price that I’m seeing almost everywhere is about twice what you’ve quoted above.

      These batteries are only under warranty for 4 years (from this supplier), though I do believe that their data specs say that they should last about 20 years at 20deg Celsius.

    • But keep in mind there’s ‘many a slip twixt the cup and the lip’. Long experience has shown me that ‘design-life’ is one thing and ‘reality’ something else.

      Any accident, oversight, close lightning-strike, fault-in-the-regulator, charger voltage-surge, etc. etc, can fuck a thousand-dollar battery as quickly as it can a $100 dollar one.

      The current bench-mark seems to be bout $2 per AH, with warranty,half that for second-hand battery banks. (eg. stand-by agm batteries from routinely-replaced UPS systems.) Paying more, in my opinion, means one has more money than brains.

  5. thomas of the Norse says

    Fell across this blog by accident and find it very informative as well as entertaining. But here I see a case of “mine is bigger than yours” going on. I have found all the replies entertaining as well as useful BUT I am the average everyday homeowner that Finn would be talking to. I am not a DIY sort of person in fact I am positive it is illegal for me to own power tools in the state of Victoria. (My wife wont let me near a hammer!). I yell for my 9yo to help when the Xbox throws a panic attack. If I was to call a ‘sparky’ around to install an off the grid system and he remarks casually, “What size kW system do I want?” and I stare blankly into thin air and blink, I will be able to see the dollar signs reflected as they roll through his eyes. I wouldn’t be able to build a system for the prices mentioned above because: a/ I don’t have the experience, b/ no know – how c/ lack of knowledge. I do have a question though after all that. Can a wind power system be combined with a solar system to work as an off the grid system and would this be a cheaper alternative to the above system?

    • Sure you can hybridise alternative systems, and quite cheaply, too.

      But my best advice is FIRST GET EDUCATED in the subject. Whether you get someone in to do the job or do it yourself (recommended: it’s like brain-surgery: simple when you know how!), it behooves one to understand what’s going on.
      There really isn’t anything complicated about it: once you grasp the concept it’s just a matter of buying compatible components and plugging them together. I’ve done heaps of them over the years (and innovated: built hyro-generator ~ the very best option as far as I’m concerned ~ out of bits accumulated in the shed) but still can’t figure out how to use a mobile phone!

      • Hello Dabbles,

        I hope you might be able to answer my question. I have an Aero-sharp inverter which seems to be stuck on a message in the display window reading ( Aero-sharp please wait ) I have tried to re-set the system following the instructions on the inverter box but its not working. Any advice would be much appreciated. The system is still under warranty but the suppliers have informed me I will be charged for someone to come out and check it. As I am a widow I am trying to avoid this extra expense if I can.

        Kindest regards,

        • Hi Helga,

          If your inverter is in warranty your supplier has an obligation under Australian Consumer Law to fix it or replace it at no cost to you. May I ask which solar company it is?


  6. The cost of connecting to the grid will be $27,000. Finn, if you were in your seventies, would you pay probably $50,000 to go off-grid or would you go on-grid for $27,000 and then probably another $10,000 for a solar system?

  7. I’m with the bulk of the responders here. If these are the prices for a base system in Australia, then you folks are getting ripped off blind. While one would pay a similar cost for a well designed off grid home in America, that price includes triple redundancy. There are still a few issues with solar power systems that can cause them to fail if constantly worked at full load. I would opt for a solar-wind mix, and add a Pelton Wheel for the heavier equipment. That’s one benefit we have on this continent, lots and lots of small streams that run year round which you can tap. And hydroelectric is top notch for heavy load generation. If somebody is building a new home in the country, it would be idiotic to connect it to the grid in this region. $25k per mile construction costs, as well as being responsible for your own maintenance from the point where it branches off the grid is bad enough. Top that off with winter surcharges, and rate hikes which appear to be whims, and it quickly becomes clear that off grid is the only option that makes sense.

    • Agreed, Tim. Hydro-power is easily the most desirable option.
      For one thing it minimises dependence on the most expensive and least reliable component of an alternative system: the battery-bank.

  8. i am also looking at using renewable energy
    8kw power output but using a hybrid of solar panels and wind power as you get get wind day or night with a 5Kva generator back up with some batteries more for a buffer, as you only need a small reserve is required as I dont mind starting a generator when required. at the moment i have a generating running 15 hours a day.

  9. Why go solar just yet? Even the cost of the basic setup will be enough to cover my electricity bills for the next 7 years at current prices. Sure prices will inevitably raise but I am sure that the system would not pay for it self in less than 5 years.

    Batteries will get better and cheaper and so will the panels. I don’t beleive that it’s time to go solar for many people. Sure the larger houses would benefit but that again depends on the state you live in as the climate varies a lot between TAS and QLD for example, hence the power requirements.

    • It also depends on how prepared you are to adjust your power-usage. I’m only using about 2.5 kwh per day (with perhaps another 0.5 kwh from the generator running the microwave, washing machine,etc.

      I don’t squander power, but don’t skimp, either; it’s just a matter of priorities and awareness.

  10. Interesting, while it might take over 100 years to pay off for a city person, if you are building in the country it can cost $180,000 to get the power connected to your house (that’s just to run a line an extra 1km or so). In that case even spending $50,000 is an instant pay off. The ongoing power savings are all gravy

  11. Robert L Jones says

    I might have the wrong ideas but if a 100AH battery stores 1kWh of usable energy (not fully discharging and lack of storage due to high discharge) then you save $.25 (cost of one unit) a day. So that breaks down to saving $91 per year or $455 over five years. Is this enough to cover the replacement of the battery only?

    • A 100Ah battery will deliver 100A for 1 hour (or in reality a max of 5A continuously for 20 hours) . Power = Voltage x Current. I’m assuming a 12V battery.

      So 100A at 12V is 100 x 12 = 1200W = 1.2kW for an hour. So the battery will store about 1kWh. Yes.

      Battery storage is still very expensive!

  12. The bottom line solar in any form is never going to be cost effective. A normal random selected hydro power station say within NZ as an example produces more voltage than the three largest solar stations in the world. Even today there is nothing suggested in the pipeline that equates as cost efficient with a large solar scheme in USA unable to raise finance anywhere. Domestically rig up a small solar panel onto two car batteries for a light , or TV or computer, turn off your mains power and watch how you still get stung LOL

  13. We sell and install a 5kw off grid hybrid system which is approved for installation by local councils

    $7500 = 2.5 to 3.0Kw wind turbine and self standing pole, (A&NZ approved) hole excavation extra cost.
    $3840 = 2.5 solar panels
    $1600 = racking and cabling
    $1800 = off grid 6 kw inverter
    $8000 = each pack 1150amp/h batteries recommend minimum of 2
    $450 = each(second hand fork lift battery packs best buy.
    $2500 = electrician charges

    as a lot of our products are sold to farmers they all like to install it them selves which is legal, but they can not hook the power to the house from the inverters as that comes back to dealing with 240 volt so must use an licensed electrician.
    for the wind turbine we can not quote the excavation for the hole as too many times we have struck rock so now either do it by the hour or get the client to dig it.

    But this goes to show that there are genuine prices out there its only a matter of looking.
    total cost is still around the $30K $35K mark
    our biggest problems is the battery prices , that is what kills the price for off grid

    as for warranties
    wind turbine (replacement warranty 5 years,) estimated life 20-25 years
    solar panels normal 25 years as what other companies provide.
    inverters 3 years warranty we are still testing ours for life time, been over 5 years so far, still testing.
    batteries 2 year warranty but expected life time 12 years, depends on the abuse they get.

    when I talk about batteries, people expect more than what a battery can handle, one client ran a old window type air conditioner all day and night running the batteries down to zero and kept doing this until they ruined the gel batteries.
    I am not impressed with the gel batteries and if some one here finds a battery that works good for themselves or there clients i would love to know, specially pricing.

    • One presumes you’re using gold-plated panels at that price?
      Panels these days (with as good a warranty as you’ll get anywhere) are selling for under a dollar ~ and down to 74 cents if you buy a few ~ per watt. That’s the retail price, so one presumes the retailer/installer gets them cheaper still.
      $1.50 plus can’t be justified.

      ps. the 25-year ‘performance’ warranty needs to be supplemented with a materials/manufacture warranty as well, particularly if (as most warranties’ fine-print insist) it’s solely up to the dealer to determine what ~if any ~ fault exists and whether the fault lies with the consumer or the producer/dealer.
      Many people don’t know there’s a difference.

      That said, can you provide details on the inverter. (see my note elsewhere on the blog ~ to which none of the whizkids have responded!)
      What I want is a stand-alone inverter that does all the jobs a decent high-efficiency grid-connect inverter will do (regulation, MPPTs that deal with 2 or 3 strings, and ~particularly~ a minimum 500+ vdc input at (nominal 24 volt) levels:- ‘working’ @ about 36 vdc, open circuit at about 46 vdc.).

      ..or else a way to bypass/disable the ‘anti-islanding’ loop.

      • @Dabbles
        Even if I paid $0.68 USD cents for the panels I then accrue extra costs like
        Transport to ship
        Shipping Insurance (they fall off container ships or get dropped)
        Container costs
        Shipping costs
        Transport to warehouse,
        Return container via transport
        Warehouse cost/rent
        Staff wages handling
        Then you have the extra costs if they fail or get dropped when installing plus the warranty if a panel fails.
        You then have to return to the job find the fault and replace that panel or panels all at our own cost.
        As for the warranty from the manufacture that’s pretty much a laughing matter, they want you to pay for the return of the panels and also cost for it to be shipped back to you.

        So GOLD Plated panels and at $1.50aud per watt, hell yeah, I would not even bother to sell them for less and would sooner go broke than try to sell at a cheaper price.
        I am patiently waiting for all the other companies to slowly either close down or go broke as they are starting to now.
        When our dollar rate drops like it is to the USA dollar we will still try to stay with the same costs.

        We specialise in off grid and use our own inverters which is approved in Aust and NZ
        As you are aware of the pricing of solar panels then I presume you will know about as much as I do on the inverters.

        • Yeahbut. Everybody that retails panels has similar overheads, I presume, and still manages to keep prices down ~ though fluctuations in the exchange rate can make a difference.
          But still, I bought several at 98 cents per watt, and that included shipping from Qld to regional Vic., and there’s another crowd in Melbourne that ~ from time to time ~ offers similar prices.

          All have the standard sort of warranty, though what you’re saying about transport fees etc. is true ~ and a pet peeve. To date I haven’t had an issue with any of them. A friend of mine is still using panels I bought second-hand in about 1983 (from memory), so I live in hope.

          I don’t know how much you know about inverters, but I’m certainly no expert; take more a suck-it-and-see approach. You’ll see in earlier posts here that my (carefully-chosen) installer installed an Aerosharp 2kw inverter with my grid-connect system, and although all the ‘experts’ online were shitcanning them at the time I had no problem with it because it was about half the price of the u-bewt units and gave a ten-year- unconditional warranty when most of the others were offering 2 years (conditional) and the best of them 5 years, also smothered in ‘Terms and Conditions’.

          Six months later a voltage-suppressor failed ( a known fault apparently), and I rang the installer, who was prepared to come out that afternoon (from 2.5 hours away) to fix or replace it. I suggested he have the dealer send a replacement down and I’d fit it myself.
          It arrived early next morning by courier: right inverter wrong fittings. I rang the dealer/importer, who apologised profusely (mostly in Chinese!) and sent up the right unit the following morning, and I sent back the other two units with the same courier.

          ….and there wasn’t a single hint about waiting to have the crashed unit inspected, transport costs or anything else. It’s the sort of service I haven’t seen in about fifty years, and pure gold as far as I’m concerned.
          It’s been humming along nicely ~ at about a 97% efficiency ~ for over three years since then.
          …and still has nearly 7 years to run on the (new) warranty that came with the replacement.

          On the other hand ~ as stated elsewhere ~ what I’d REALLY be prepared to pay for is a stand-alone inverter that will do all the jobs a grid-connect inverter does, with the same efficiency. Need to handle 2 strings (MPPTs) and accept an input vdc of 500+. (or simply to rejig the grid-connect unit to bypass the ‘anti-islanding’ loop.)

          Given the government/industry stuffing about with FITs, ‘Smart-Meters’ etc., I won’t be the only one who’ll be looking to convert their grid-connect system to a stand-alone one.

          Any offers welcome.

          • You are quite welcome to contact me, but I do not know how you can.
            This website forum would have rules and all comments are moderated before they are posted.

            Have you seen a standalone system?? As far as I know they would all have a controller,
            With the unit I use it is a hybrid wind and solar, all the energy goes to the controller first then to the inverter or batteries,
            Some inverters have power on demand then battery others have battery only.
            I use the 48 volt AnyPower inverter (off Grid) as far as I know they do not have a grid connect inverter, well not the company I deal with anyway.

            There are copies of this inverter with other Chinese companies and they offer a 2 year warranty, ours has a 3 year and if you pay the extra dollars for it you can get more. But we have been testing this inverter on factory conditions, pretty much giving it hell to see if we can blow it up.
            It’s been nearly 5 years now, so more or less given up. But every now and then we try to overload it.

            The manufacture now has a new one and we are waiting for it to be changed in some areas of the manufacturing design, we are fussy and sometimes we want better parts installed.

            The people we deal with have had their share of us telling them we want better, even if it costs us.
            I have a friend that is also an importer who wanted a cheaper product to save money.
            I am still cracking up over that one.

            Well the Chinese bless their little hearts sold it cheaper a 40 foot container load of jack hammers all the parts were made of plastic instead of steel and they lasted 2 hours of testing before breaking up, he still has that load , so a good lesson for all.

            That’s why we made sure we do not screw our supplier for the inverters.
            As an importer we have to abide by the rules of importing, believe it or not, there are pretty stiff fines to importers who break these rules.
            One cannot just import an electrical appliance and sell it, everything must be approved even the LED lights that people import to fit their home out with.

            I am waiting for the insurance companies to stop paying out homes that catch fire due to unapproved led lights that people bought from China. That will be a very expensive lesson.
            I bought some Chinese LED lights in from a company and when we put them up for testing they caught fire after being continuously on for 10 days. Hence we no longer import lights.
            Just not worth it, even though it’s a good profit margin for importers.

            The new AnyPower pure Sin Wave inverter when its completed will be better than the older model,
            One thing I must say to any person that imports any electrical appliance that’s going to be sold here in Australia or New Zealand, beware of the rules as fines start at about $50K up to $500K. even second hand if they were no approved when new. no excuses are excepted.

            When buying an electrical appliance ask for the testing certificate/report specially if you are importing to sell.
            The inverter report of the Pure Sin Wave Inverter is 45 pages long. without that report we will not deal with that manufacture.
            Manufacture that copy a product will not give you a copy of that report unless they falsify it and if your good at paperwork you will see the difference.

    • Jeff, i’m working on a off grid system to be installed at my farm at Romsey and i would like to know if you have ever seen any big second hand Nickel Iron batteries about? I’m after batteries that will add up to a 48v system, probably in 2v cells. New ones are incredibly expensive, but they can last a lifetime.

  14. We live 16ks out of town and have always been totally off grid. The cost of getting and installing our system was half the cost of bringing the grid to our property line. Plus we never get a quarterly bill!

    • How big a system did you have installed??
      Are you finding it big enough for what you need?
      I am sure you will be saving lots of dollars as now I see the gas is even expected to go up another 30% like the power is.

      I feel sorry for all the people that have put their systems in back to grid, when their contract completes, I wonder what will be the cost paid for the power they generate in there solar system back to grid, $0.06 cents?? or maybe less.

      What people do not realise is that the power companies have them by the knackers and will screw them down.
      Like everything the government has done, it’s screwed up another area of the general public like they did with the batts.
      So “Patience” I reckon you have done the right thing with your power situation, your off grid and making your own, good on ya.

      • Not at all. I had a grid-connect system installed with the very intent of rewiring it for stand-alone use the minute they ever send me another power-bill. (to date I’m making a PROFIT of $1600 a year from the premium FIT.)

        I produce nearly three times electricity as what I consume, and when you get into it you wouldn’t believe how cheap and easy it can be to make a small (mine is 2.5kw) set-up run an entire house (with some adjustments in usage.)

        • littlelostland says

          Hey Dabbles – im looking at going completely off grid and clearly wanna spend no more that $8000 on the whole thing afetr Ive read the entire thread here. Can you advise me?

          • Yep. Certainly willing to help if I can. Viability would depend on how much power you actually need and to what degree you’re willing to rejig HOW you use it. Much of it has to do with mindset, but none of it’s very difficult, and (can be) cheap enough these days so that you can go a long way on the money you mention.
            Drop me a line at: [email protected] if you like and I can walk you through it.

          • Yes Minister says

            I’ve just managed to get the total cost of a 2kw off-grid system down to $5000 using low mileage s/h panels, GSL charge controller, chinese inverter / AGM batteries. At that price the system will pay for itself in five years. Batteries should last well since they won’t need to be discharged more than 15%.

  15. Everyone please stop right there.Just a thought What is a battery, think about this, a battery is stored energy, so is water in a dam on top of a hill, and so is compressed air & probably many other substances I cant think of at present. I am currently trying to work out running an air compressor from a wind generator, which could also be run through a condenser to create cool air on its way to a small? generator that could be very easily be made to operate on demand, I am told storage of the air is possible by linking truck brake compressed air cylinders available from the wreckers & the good thing is they can be mounted all over the place in any small nook or cranny & could also be used in a hybrid system as some modern compressor designs dont draw as anywhere near as much power as the old reciprocating ones, I think we need to think laterally here, & change the terminology to stored energy & goodness knows what people much smarter than myself can come up with

    • Yep. Lotsa schemes like that ~ some even work. But just remember that there are losses at every stage, and you’ll never get near the energy output as the input required.
      That said, efficiencies may not be the main consideration: if you have a permanent creek you can churn out consistent free electricity and use some of that to create hydrogen, which can then be used in most combustion motors.

      Keep posting. Brainstorming can be most useful.

  16. Mary Madigan says

    Help ! They are FORCING ME to connect to a SMART METER today against my will.

    We have two meters on our property and when we installed 1.5 kw solar on our shed they installed a solar smart meter on our house and my computer and fridge died within a week. I had not had trouble with either. I rang them and they came back the next day (again without tell me ) and replaced the solar smart meter with my old one. NOW somw years later they are coming to put the smart meter back.

    We had signed up for a much bigger solar power system as we had a letter from Peter Garret MP at the time for an interest free loan. When we went to use this they refused to honour it.
    Imagine that a politicians promise not honoured. Before he got into politics I thought Peter Garret was a smart bloke.

    I live in South Eastern Melbourne. Democracy is just a word.

    • Democracy has accurately been described as “A dictatorship of the people” (or ‘Proletariat’ as Marx put it all those years ago.) ~ and people have been brainwashed into thinking it’s a ‘privilege’, valuable enough to die for, and all that crap.
      A ‘people’s dictatorship is STILL a dictatorship.

      Just don’t let them near your meter: physically bar the way (if they touch you it constitutes assault), and start screaming ‘Rape’ as loudly as you can. ;). (Seriously –> how do you KNOW they’re NOT going to rape you?).

      Check out a website called ‘’ (I always add ‘Victoria’ to avoid all the news of all the objectors from around the world. There’s plenty of info./legal notes, etc, to help you make a stand.

      Failing that go to a local shelter and adopt a rottweiler. 😉

  17. On grid solar is very economical… especially if you’re not home during the day with a ToU tariff. In QLD I’m on Tariff 12 with a small 1.25kV PV system. I don’t get home until 6PM weekdays – halfway through the 4-8PM peak period. So effectively, out of 168 hours in a week I’m only really using electricity during peak times for 10 of them (when we’re not home the only things on are the fridge and septic blower). Propane cooktop as well helps, and we stay cool/warm overnight economically due to the 30% cheaper off peak tariff.

    Using this method, we export half the output of the PV system and consume the other half locally. Over a quarter that’s around $200 of solar credits off the bill of $500 – with a very small system by today’s standards.

  18. This post is 2 years old now, how much have prices changed since then?

    • Dr Mike,

      Panel and inverter prices are always falling – and have come down. Everything else is pretty accurate. Here’s the 2014 version:

      5kW of panels $5,000

      5kW inverter $2,000

      Racking and Cabling: $1000

      Installation: $2,000

      Less Solar Rebate (STCs): -$,3500

      Out of pocket cost to you approx: $6,500 (Jan 2014 prices)


      Off Grid Cost (low end figures):

      5kW of panels: $5,000

      5kW Off Grid Capable Inverter + charge controller: $4,000

      4 x 1350 Ampere hour 12V batteries: $18,000 (approx 50kWh of storage)

      Racking and Cabling (you’ve gotta wire up and mount all those batteries remember!): $2,000

      Installation and commissioning: $3,500

      Bottom of the range Integrated Diesel Generator (unless you don’t mind running out of electricity occasionally): $3,000

      Less Solar Rebate (STCs): -$,3,500

      Total: $32,000

      As many commenters have pointed out – you can do it *a lot* cheaper if you go bargain hunting on eBay and graysonline and do all the 12V installation yourself. But it is a fairly technical exercise with lots of opportunities to electrocute yourself or worse!

      And yes – that is an awful lot of batteries, but the average Aussie house uses an awful lot of electricity. An efficient home can get away with half the storage – but most homeowners are not prepared to reduce their consumption that much in my experience. This many batteries is generally what is needed to give the customer the performance they generally expect from their home’s power supply.

      Hope That Helps,


  19. Hi
    Most of the course of discussion is w.r.t. going totally off grid. What about the option of going solar but without feeding back into the grid. Thus just you using the offpeak solar electricity your own house produces during the day. So timers on washing machines to run say after 10am, electric hot water also to come on after say 10am, in slab heating, split systems , etc. So a similar principle to the old “offpeak 2:30am” supply that was common years ago, just back to front.

    Any ideas. Any costings


  20. Yes, solar is really cheap if u keep the CEC and accreditation and the government out of it. Even using CEC approved equipment, if u select and install, u can do it for a fraction of the official prices from accredited solar companies. $1 a watt for solar, few thousand for good pure sinewave inverter setup. Dont skimp on the inverter too much, they tend to burn out-dangerous so install with safety in mind. Batteries can be expensive-also install with ventilation, say $300 per 100a at 12v. Less if u go lead , more for some gel types etc. Add a modest 5kv puresinewave generator $1-$2000?. Perhaps a 500w wind generator as they r cheap $700. Solar/wind hybrid charge controller for $500. As something to think about, high power usage devices like cooking can run from the generator on a as needed basis to not use the batteries. Power storage is really the main thing that needs improving, perhaps work needs doing on using dams(water tank?) as small hydro generators. Using gravity to run the gens to a lower dam during the night and solar to run pumps to bring the water back?? How much water does it take to run a 500w hydro gen?? Also, hot air electric generators from deeply sunk bore holes, how warm does it get down 100m and could it run a stirling engine for say even 100w of power?? Would the ground temp just a metre down run stirling engines for 10w of power for lighting??

  21. Andrew Reither says

    I was quoted $55 000 to bring grid to my front fence, then another 10K to bring it to the dwelling. At $32 000, my SAPS is already ahead. AND I am never going to beholden to price fluctuations (read increases).
    A couple of things.
    Most punters paying a lot more that $365 a year for electricity (I dont understand the one dollar a day thing). Working families can be getting annual bills of 1500 to 3000 dollars per year. Therefore system may pay for itself in a decade and a half, less depreciation of batteries which I factor at about $500 per year.
    Second I am completely insulated from future market variations (read increases)
    Thirdly I am insulated from power outages caused by a third party infrastructure problem.
    Fourth I didn’t pay for the infrastructure for a private company to give them the privilege of then sending me a Bill for the rest of my life. And when I shift from the house, they still own it and charge the next owner.
    Lastly, you can take SAPS with you when you shift house. Its yours. You own it.

    Automation. Yes you can automate everything within an inch of it’s life, and it costs money. Why? My system is mostly manual because I monitor it, which you should anyway.
    Generator – petrol, cheaper than diesel units, converted to LPG as most rural properties have bottled gas. Therefore no decanting of fuels (safety). Remote key start but NOT auto as I monitor SOC from remote readout in living room, as you should – religiously over winter.

  22. Bah, humbug says

    I’ve just come across this article and would love to see an updated cost of going off grid, given it’s almost three years of cost reductions for some components. Anyone?

    • I’ve just updated the costings using the latest pricing from my local solar wholesaler and reducing the required kWh of storage a bit. It comes down to $26,000.

      Hope That Helps,


      • Bah, humbug says

        Thanks Finn, less, as you say, and still miles above your detractor’s figures, although he conceded at the time that he did some work himself. I suspect the cost will have to come down a lot further to generate much interest in going off-grid.

        • Agreed! And obviously almost 50% of the price is batteries, so if you can get the kWh storage down, you can save a lot. But most folks will not want to massively change their lifestyle to accommodate a smaller amount of energy storage.

          • Buggered if I can work out which planet some of you people live on!…. but suspect you’re running your own private Space-Shuttle service, given the amount of power and money you’re talking about.
            In fact, I’d agree with everything Andrew Reither says above, until he crows about bringing the quoted price down to a measly $32000.

            At today’s prices ( and component-quality) ~ and depending on how many kids you’ve got (and how intractable to discipline they are) ~ a useful stand-alone solar-system can cost well under $10k. And for a single person like me, prepared to do the arithmetic and some manual-control stuff, along with adjusting methodology, SIX grand is ample. (and that’s starting from scratch.)

            Perhaps I’m just getting too old; time was when alternative power (or most anything else!) was as much a matter of principle as saving money.

  23. Apropos the above…..AND SOMEWHAT URGENT!…. see below.

    In my experience the way to go off-grid is to keep the solar-system (particularly the battery-bank) as small as practicable (for lights, tv etc.) , and use a smallish generator to supply the bigger loads in short bursts; eg microwave cooking, tools, vacuum cleaners/washing-machines….( even enough to run a 60-amp battery-charger ~ see below)

    (Stay away from diesel unless you’re going to use it for hours at a time: they NEED to run hot, and stop-start running will kill them early.)

    And at the very moment Bunnings is selling A SUITABLY-SIZED INVERTER GENERATOR AT ABOUT HALF-PRICE. (2200 watts/$349 ). It’s their ‘home-brand’ model (‘Full Boar’), so there’s no knowing the quality of it but since it’s use in the above scenario would be very light it’s worth grabbing one at the price ~ which I believe, having enquired) is a misprint, but one they have to honour.
    (only a 12-month warranty, but Bunnings are well-known for doing the right thing re. warranties ~ and just about anything else.)
    I don’t know how easy it would be to run one on LPG/woodgas/whatever, but given modern innovations like ‘economy mode’, etc. it shouldn’t cost a lot to feed it petrol given very limited use.

    I’m not sure how often Bunnings’ flyer comes around (week? month?) but you can bet the same offer won’t be available next issue, which means YOU NEED TO ACT QUICKLY IF YOU’RE IN THE MARKET.

  24. This site has been very helpful and a good start for a person like me who is new to the solar electricity industry. I have just built a small house in a remote area in the NT (90km south of Darwin) where the climate is harsh (up to 38 deg all year round and humidity 80%) and I need to know that my solar system is going to last. I am told that there are a lot of solar companies, many from southern states who are setting up shop in the top end and selling solar systems up here that are ok for the colder climates, but will only end up lasting for about 6 years in the top end climate. I have been been told that a combination of solar panels and wind power is a good mixture for my location and surroundings but solar companies here aren’t interested in this combination as I think they just want to sell me a system in exchange for my hard earned $$ and see ya later, i’ll never see them again. I just want to talk to a genuine person who is knowledgeable on the subject, who doesn’t mind giving advice on off the grid solar systems and brands and who may be able to put me onto someone in my region who is not out to rip me off! Can anyone suggest some contacts (even if they aren’t in my region?) Any advice would be much appreciated 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,

      You absolutely should buy a Tier 1 panel.

      Q-Cells panels would be a safe bet in this regard. They are really well made and have been very stringently tested for reliability in Humidity and Temperature cycling chambers. They also have very good warranty service on Oz.

      As for inverters – again go quality. Delta inverters perform really well in heat. SMA are very reliable with great warranty support.

      Hope That Helps,


      • Yes this is helpful Finn. Any inormation/recommendations are much appreciated and where better to get it than a forum like this one with many knowledgable experienced people sharing their experiences, and who know solar system and have tried and tested the many products on the market 😀

  25. Hi there,

    I know this thread is getting old but I really need some help! Im planning on building my first house totally off grid in Northern NSW near Mullumbimby.

    Building a smallish home (2 bed). Im on a small budget and need to get the best system i can that will last and supply what I need. I probably need less than average in terms of power but should plan for new family members..

    Can anyone help me out in terms of recommendations. I Know if your buying components off eBay etc they all need to match up to each other, but have no clue what works together ( I don’t really know what is what).

    I have a mate who’s an electrician, he’s done a solar course but not experienced with it at all. The build will be an owner build so really need to figure this out.

    Do you recommend waiting for Tesla’s powerwall in terms of battery storage? Or should try get some old huge lead batteries?

    There is also a small continuously flowing creek about 150 metres away from the house site with a dirt road between – is it worth looking into a hybrid hydro system? How the heck do you figure that out? haha. There is barely any wind its in a valley.

    Id be so so grateful for any advice tips or contacts my email is [email protected]

    I got a few quotes a while ago which were all over or around 20k which seems excessive. I really don’t want to get ripped off or pay too much unnecessarily.

    Thanks so much


  26. Probably a simple question for most of you on here,
    can anyone recommend what size/how many panels I’m going to need to run a large home (2 adults 3children) ducted air-con to 4 rooms and a wood fire (not sure if that matters).
    Wanting to go totally off grid as we live rurally and will cost close to $100,000 to get power from Ergon.
    This is going off my brother in laws current electricity usage, 45kwh per day. (Ours should be considerably lowers then theirs as they run air con 24-7 and 3 flat screen tv’s about the same).
    Can anyone tell me what size or system I would need please?

    • Wendy, you need a full energy audit. These things can’t be guessed as the batteries have to be sized to your usage. An extra 10kWh per day usage could add tens of thousands to the cost of the system. For most homes to go off grid, you are starting at $50,000.

      • I thought so, we haven’t built our home yet and were hoping to get a rough estimate of costs for off grid in case it was much more then connecting to the power (which is going to be close to $100,00k). From what I’ve read on this forum it’s not a good idea to over estimate a larger system “just I case” either. Will have to start shopping around for air con (hardly used either) and water pump as there the only other electrical items we will be putting in the new place.
        Thanks for the response, I have already been contacted from one of your selected solar companies 🙂

  27. Hello, I am Garry. I like your information on off grid solar. I am just wondering to get your contact details for few more facts.
    Thank you.

  28. Yes Minister says

    My first off-grid system cost me around $5000 for a dozen used 180w panels, Australian GSL regulator and crappy chinese 3kw labelled inverter and 4 x 280ah chinese AGM batteries. The inverter was probably a 2kw one in reality because it carked it after a year and Aussie Batteries & Solar didn’t want to know. It was replaced by an ex data centre inverter which did a brilliant job, although I’d hate to pay for a new one. That setup just about ran my very efficient home for a few years, after which I upgraded to a dozen new old stock 250w panels, a 5kw Victron inverter and direct from china 24 x 2v x 600ah OpZs batteries. Total cost around $12,000 less $2500 for the old system. I now have more power than I can use (and I have al the 21st century mod cons) , except for when I’m charging my EV when its close to the limit for a few hours. I’m fixing that with another dozen used 250w panels I got very cheap because some mindless lunatic chopped the cables instead of looking for an MC4 tool. They will only be used occasionally so the EV gets fed exclusively green electrons (so much for the clowns who claim EVs are responsible of more pollution than dinosaur juice conveyances.

  29. Yes Minister says

    Whilst the pie in the sky installation cost of an off-grid system was evidently conceived to scare off the majority, this stuff isn’t rocket science. Anyone genuinely committed to going off grid should have the ability to do most installation and maintenance themselves unless perhaps they have more money than sense. Personally I don’t give a flying f**k about rules (which are meant to be broken anyway). For that matter, most extra low voltage work can be done (legally) without a qualified sparkie.. In any case, I pity those mugs in the sticks who need to rely on someone who gets his charging schedule from the Australian Medical Association recommendations for brain surgeons. .At least we can be thankful the initial proposition didn’t get into horribly overpriced albeit sexy Tesla batteries.

  30. Erik Christiansen says

    If there’s a newer thread on going off-grid, I’ve missed it.
    Things have changed since the photo of Simon Hackett with both a PV inverter and a battery inverter on the wall. One good hybrid inverter will do both jobs off-grid, i.e. island if so set up. An article on how well a few of them nowadays perform at charging the battery at modest current (they’re all limited in charge rate, for modest size, e.g. 10 kWh), while providing 3 or 4 kW of AC power, would be a godsend.

    OK, they were a bit less efficient, I read, but efficiency is oversold, I think. A few more panels quickly fix one that’s only 90% instead of 95%, especially with a wall or roof vent and fan if it then gets a bit hot. (Each 10 deg C rise in operating temperature will halve its service life.)

    What we need is reliability, low idle (night time) current consumption, and modest price, I think. (Latter less critical when you’ve been off-grid for 53 years, and changing that would involve extending an already long SWER line by several km in sandy country in dessicated Gippsland. Probably $100k+ if they’d even consider it.)

  31. Yes Minister says

    The cost can vary from quite affordable to astronomical, depending on whether or not the home owner can do the installation themselves, or needs to rely on some ‘expert’ who expects to get filthy stinking rich before morning smoko. My first off-grid system cost me around $5,000, although I could do that same these days for significantly less. Presently I have a somewhat bigger system which cost around $12,000 total. To get some Australian ‘expert’ to install my current system would have amounted to well over $45,000. The gotchas are firstly, learn how to install off-grid yourself (its neither rocket science nor illegal), Secondly, avoid sexy by horribly overpriced Tesla / LG lithium batteries, Thirdly, figure how to import proper OpZs solar batteries direct from the manufacturer, and Fourthly, look around for pre-owned panels at a fraction of the cost of new ones. Regardless of what some will have you believe, panels can last more than fifty years. Fifthly, buy recognized brand name regulators / inverters because Chinese electronics are crap. Personally I prefer Sydney-made GSL regulators and Dutch-made Victron inverters for price, support, warranty, and ease of service.

  32. Yes Minister says

    Obviously its possible to create any ridiculous cost scenario is one is intent on ‘proving’ the only viable option is to continue supporting the fatcats running Origin & AGL and using sufficient imagination to price off-grid systems at a level to break the federal economy. On the other hand, an off-grid installation can be done for chickenfeed if one doesn’t expect run much load. One particular local has an installation that cost a grand total of $3000 that has run his house since Adam was a boy. (junk maybe but it works for him, and no Martha, he doesn’t have or need airconditioning) In between there are countless options, for example I’m sitting on a 2.5kw $11,000 proposal using high end components mit most of the bells and whistles and that would easily supply my usage allowing for two days with no PV output.


  1. […] blogged how the cost of going off grid with solar would be over $50,000 compared to about $12,000 for a standard, grid connect 5kW system and that […]

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