Off-Grid Power Systems Explained

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Off-Grid Power Systems Explained

Living off-grid is a deliberate choice for some, whereas for others in rural areas, it’s an absolute necessity. Even in a country as small as the UK, the National Grid doesn’t reach everyone – and getting your home connected can be a very costly proposition.

In this piece, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about the power systems that are used to achieve this.

How Does the System Work?

An off-grid power system is an economical and cost-effective solution for delivering electricity to domestic or commercial properties that are outside the reach of the National Grid.

There are two options for delivering electricity to a premises not connected to the grid:

1.       You could either pay the distribution network operator in your area to connect you to the grid, which, depending on the complexity of the project can cost anywhere between £10,000 to £250,000. This could include obtaining permission to lay power cables across land owned by someone else, which could increase costs.

2.       You could efficiently generate your own electricity at an upfront cost of between £9,000 and £18,000 depending on the size of the land.

These kinds of systems are designed and built to provide electricity to a property 24/7. The system will power all of the equipment and appliances running on the standard mains power, and in the case of the Powerguard PS System, the system will operate efficiently for 25 years or more.

The system will control any form of auto-start generator by providing an efficient use of electricity. This control system will also control the battery charger, inverter and the battery bank to ensure that every drop of fuel is converted as economically as possible.

In a typical scenario, where a system needs to provide electricity to a variable load, such as a private dwelling or business premises, the generator will usually be required for between 8 and 12 hours a day.

Our intelligent PS System starts the generator to power the property when electricity use is heavy and will use any surplus power to recharge the battery pack. The system will also automatically adjust the battery charge rate to fit the load on the generator.

Once the demand for electricity within the property increases, the system will reduce the electricity flow to the batteries and divert more energy into the property and vice-versa. This is designed to ensure that the generator is providing the best fuel economy.

When demand is light, the system will switch off the generator and supply the energy exclusively from the batteries through the inverter.

By reducing the run-time of the generator, you can increase the life cycle by more than three times, which also reduces fuel consumption, pollution and maintenance work needed.

On average the PS System or something similar will pay for itself in less than three years when used in a typical mixed load application.

When the generator is in operation, it moves power via the changeover contactor; simultaneously diverting energy to the charger which recharges the batteries.

Once the generator has been powered down, the inverter starts and directs power to the load via the changeover contactor.

Generators

Systems like the PS System will be able to control any auto-start generator, which will activate when a relay contact is closed and stop when it is opened again.

If you don’t currently have a generator or your current solution is on its last legs, then it’s certainly worth considering the Powerguard PS Generator.

These generators are designed and constructed with fuel economy in mind, which make them more efficient than the standard standby generators on the market, which use multi-phase alternators, which are 20% less efficient than single phase.

Renewables

Selecting the right renewable inputs for your off-gird system is absolutely crucial. Currently, solar is the most popular renewable solution in the UK, and the Powerguard team are happy to assess the opportunities for solar power in your location.

Wind and hydropower are less common at the moment, but demand is starting to increase. Our systems have a dedicated input specifically for wind or solar panels, while our work in the marine sector has grown over the last few years.

The control system monitor included with the equipment assesses what power levels are being drawn into the system and will adjust the engine power accordingly.

For instance, a 1kW wind turbine can make a useful contribution to fuel efficiency and towards reducing your carbon footprint. The system will monitor the energy it’s producing, and if the battery has been charged, it’s capable of switching to the immersion heater to produce the energy needed for hot water.

System Maintenance

In the same way that you would service a car, it’s worth noting that any off-grid power system will need to be checked and serviced every so often.

The highly sophisticated battery storage unit at the heart of each system needs to be charged, thus distributing power where necessary – this can only be done so when the batteries are functioning efficiently, which is why they require a clean to prolong battery life.

Any solar panels will also need a clean down occasionally to ensure optimal performance, and your generator will need a service as per manufacturer recommendation.  

How We Work

At Powerguard, we know what it takes in terms of investment from both a financial and time perspective to have power equipment installed. Which is why we’re committed to providing a positive experience for those who are considering our services.

We have considerable experience in the industry, and we’ve worked with some of the biggest names in sectors including, banking, broadcasting and health care, as well as organisations such as the MOD.

Our Engineers

Our engineers are highly trained professionals who strive to create an open and informative relationship, during every stage of the installation.

Every customer will be given personal contact with an engineer, which enables the customer to communicate with them, which gives the engineer an idea of the time scales they’re working with to ensure minimum disruption.

Site Surveys

We know that in order to ensure a project is completed smoothly and within the requisite time frame, it can be helpful to establish necessary information at the outset.

By doing this, we can create a better experience and deliver maximum value for the money the client has paid.

Installation

We offer a comprehensive installation service, for sites in the UK, Europe and further afield. All equipment is delivered ahead of time, so the engineers can get straight to work upon arrival.

Once the installation is complete, our engineers will run through a full list of safety checks to ensure the system is safe and working correctly. The engineer is also more than happy to liaise with the customer to explain the operation instructions, and how to extract the best from the system.

After Care & Support

We provide thorough after-sales care, which includes optional bespoke maintenance contracts, servicing, and engineering support.

 

If you’d like to learn more about what we’ve covered in this piece, or you’re interested in our off-grid power systems or any of our other products or services, then why not contact us today for more information?

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If you require more information please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)1507 600688