Off grid is a term that refers to properties running without making use of public utilities, often primarily electricity. This does not mean that they have no access to electricity and other services that are widely used in everyday life – far from it, in fact. These properties will instead run using off grid solutions, which are alternative sources of energy that give them complete independence. While not all properties will be totally off grid and may use hybrid energy systems, many properties are; they do not make use of public electricity or gas for heating and cooking.
Off grid living is suitable for both domestic and commercial properties. However, the considerations will be very different depending on the type of property and what it is used for. For example, a small off grid cottage will have very different needs in terms of the energy required to run it compared to a large commercial operation. The first part of working out how to provide the energy needed is to assess the property in full, work out how it is going to be used, and then devise a plan in terms of how energy will be generated. This is the basis of an off grid solution and is how the best approach will be found on a case by case basis.
Domestic Off Grid Solutions
A growing number of domestic properties are turning to an off grid approach – they are either adopting renewable technologies and turning to off grid solutions or they are being built already off grid. There are various ways in which a domestic property can benefit from being off grid – it can help to reduce energy bills in the long term and it will of course save energy, as well as giving a sense of independence that can be very rewarding.
The main source of off grid power that is applicable to residential properties is solar power. This is where photons (particles of light) are used to generate electricity. Solar panels contain many photovoltaic cells that create energy from sunlight – even on a dull day, they can create electricity. Specialist renewable energy companies can help residential customers set up off grid solutions that will work perfectly with their properties, generating as much energy as is needed.
Commercial Off Grid Solutions
These are solutions designed for larger, often more complex commercial properties. There are a wide range of solutions that might be used in the commercial sector, including:
- Solar panels, working in much the same way as domestic solar panels but on a larger scale to generate more energy.
- Battery storage solutions – these are not a totally off grid solution on their own but can help to prevent power outages.
- Solar car ports. This is a great way to charge electric vehicles easily, helping properties that are off grid to generate energy in multiple ways.
To go truly off grid, a full energy assessment will usually be needed so solutions can be offered. From there, current operations can be taken into account and new solutions found for an off grid future.