Going Off-Grid Done Right – SolarQuotes TV Episode 9

In this episode of SolarQuotes TV, discover how to go off-grid properly. Finn showcases some of the best examples of off-grid living in Australia and the solar hardware making it increasingly possible.

King Island’s Off-Grid Odyssey

00:00 – King Island in Bass Strait – home to around 1,800 residents – went from 100% diesel based electricity generation to mostly renewable energy over a couple of decades. The shift to renewables wasn’t triggered by environmental reasons, but was financially motivated. Hydro Tasmania was paying more to generate the electricity than they were allowed to charge the residents – not exactly a great business model!

The company then began installing solar and wind power – 470kW of utility and around 500kW of residential PV, plus 2,700kW of wind power; backed by a 3MW/1.5MWh battery.

Regardless of the primary motivation, turning to renewables was a win for Hydro Tasmania’s pocket, King Island’s people and the planet.

Off-Grid Guru Glen Morris

02:41 – SolarQuip’s Glen Morris is living a solar energy nerd’s dream as part of an off-grid community of 30 households just outside Melbourne that was established in 1974. While originally starting out as an “alternative” community, these days its residents have a much more diverse background – including solar installers like Glenn.

Glen shows us around his Smart Energy Lab, which has an amazing array of solar power, energy storage and associated hardware. Moora Moora is his base for testing components, consulting on large projects and running installer training; with components supplied by companies wanting Glen’s students to train on their products.

Electric vehicles are also an important part of things, with 4 EVs and 3 plug-in EVs charged by a charging station consisting of three 22kW fast chargers and various other infrastructure.

Living In Off-Grid Luxury In Rural SA

05:50 – See a luxury off-grid home in Strathalbyn, South Australia boasting all the mod cons – including under-floor heating – powered by solar panels and batteries. When the owners looked into getting their new home connected to the mains grid, the cost was going to be between $50,000 – $70,000 given their location. This is where going off-grid can make a lot of sense and save money.

Colin Lord from Apex Energy, who designed and installed the system, and the owners chat about the project – all are very happy with the results.

Is It Possible To Go Off-Grid In The City?

10:16 – Short answer – yes, absolutely. Whether you should or not can an entirely different matter. Even someone who has achieved it advises against doing so.

In a longer answer, Finn explains why staying connected to the grid and “going hybrid” is a better idea – it provides a cheap, silent backup power source compared to a dirty, expensive diesel generator that many off-grid homes still need to run from time to time.

Selectronic Battery Inverters – Made In Australia

12:11 – Take a look inside a factory in Victoria manufacturing what is widely regarded as some of the world’s best off-grid power conversion equipment – Selectronic inverters. Established in 1964, Selectronic started producing renewable energy components in the 1980’s and its reputation for manufacturing quality kit spans the planet. Selectronic’s Lindsay Hart also offers some valuable points to consider when choosing a battery inverter.

RedEarth Energy Storage – Customer Review

14:40 – This month, Ned relays a review from a very happy RedEarth Energy Storage customer, which assembles its RedEarth solar batteries in Queensland. By the way, while the company focuses on off-grid battery systems, it also produces an on-grid solution called RedEarth Sunrise.

Going Off-Grid – What Does It Cost?

16:12  – Ronald crunched the numbers for ditching the grid in the suburbs. While it is possible to go off-grid with a $10,000 battery, it’s not the sort of life many would appreciate and he doesn’t recommend it. In fact, he strongly advises against it unless you’re a nutter like him (his words) or are looking to trigger a divorce.

What Ronald says it will cost to cut the cord and maintain a comfortable lifestyle for the average Australian household in an average Australian home will probably promote greater appreciation of the grid and understanding of its importance. Staying connected to the grid can also help the environment, and he explains how.

Earthship In The Adelaide Hills

21:19 – Very energy-efficient households living in very energy-efficient homes can get by on small off-grid systems. This “Earthship” home in the Adelaide Hills region has a tiny system and consumes just 3-kilowatt hours of electricity per day (Australian average is around 16 -18kWh). Discover how this has been made possible.

For a bunch of videos on everything solar power related and other SQTV episodes, check out and subscribe to the SolarQuotes Youtube channel!

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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