Power systems are our primary area of expertise and are what we believe we do best. We are not alone in this view and, as noted elsewhere, our work is highly regarded both by our clients and our industry accreditation body, the Clean Energy Council.
These are self contained power supplies that operate independently of the electricity grid. People tend to choose these systems rather than pay the often huge costs of connecting coal fired electricity to their properties. These systems use solar, wind or water power in whatever combination best suits your site, power requirements and budget.
Grid connected systems with battery back up offer a number of advantages over standard systems, which, amongst other limitations, offer no protection from power failures. As electricity retailers move toward time-of-use billing - a system where the amount you pay for power varies depending on the time of day - hybrid systems will offer considerable savings to people who can disconnect from the grid and run from batteries when electricity is most expensive, which will be on hot sunny days.
We have a 5kW hybrid system running our showroom and warehouse that allows us to run from batteries during the day and charge overnight from the grid if required. The system also acts as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) so that all of our office and test equipment is protected from brownouts, surges and power failures.
These are an excellent way to reduce your contribution to global warming by giving your home a smaller carbon footprint. Grid connected solar has grown enormously over the past few years, pushing the price down to levels once thought impossible.
Dramatically reduced prices have made photovoltaics - solar panels - an excellent investment for many families and businesses. The cost of rooftop solar has now reached grid parity according to recent research - the same price as coal fired electricity - and the kind of large scale installations common throughout Europe should start to appear in Australia over the next decade.
Small Technology Certificates, or STCs, are available for all systems containing photovoltaics and are calculated on the number of watts and the area in which they are installed.
This is the amount paid by your electricity retailer for the energy you export back into the grid with domestic and commercial systems. The base rate in Victoria is currently 8¢ per kilowatt hour, which is between a quarter and a third of what most people are paying to purchase coal fired electricity. This significantly increases the incentive to use every bit of energy your system produces or store it in batteries so that power is only drawn from the grid when it is cheapest.
How off grid systems work
Electricity is produced by photovoltaic (solar) panels, wind &/or micro-hydro turbine and stored in a battery bank for later use. The energy stored in the batteries is turned into standard 240V power using an electronic device called an inverter, which supplies your house via a standard switchboard.
Virtually all household appliances can be run reliably from an off grid system. Many will actually run better than ever due to the high quality and stability of the power provided by modern systems.
These depend almost entirely on how much energy you want, or need, to use - less power equals lower cost.
Stand alone systems run from $15,000 to $50,000 and grid connected systems start at around $3,000 after rebates. Once we know how much power you expect to use, we can tell you exactly how much it will cost.
As a general rule, any appliance that uses electricity to produce heat will consume a significant amount of it. Electric jugs, toasters and fan heaters fall into this category. Refrigeration is another large energy consumer and various alternatives to standard fridges and freezers are available.
All of the above can be catered for in a stand alone system - we can run anything you like - though you can save yourself a substantial amount on the cost of a system by looking at different ways of doing some or all of these things.
If you are looking for a power system within the Goulburn/North East region of Victoria and would like to discuss the viability of alternative energy for your application, please give us a call. We can answer your questions far more quickly and simply by telephone than by email and can send you a copy of our introductory package on request.
For stand alone systems, we need to get at least a rough idea of your expected consumption so that we can design a system that is right for you. If you would like to start this process simply download our Power Usage Calculator (Microsoft Excel, click to download) and give us a call when you have completed it.
For more on some of the system components we use, take a look at these sites:
Micro-Hydro Turbines - Platypus Power
Wind Turbines - SOMA