What do you need???
Category : Power and lighting
Published by admin on 09-Jul-2018 21:00
How much does Solar cost? What do I need ?
What a huge question?

Are you new to this Solar Of living Off The Grid thing?

The whole thing, you by now have looked at? , you think you had if figured out? , then you get lost and wind up back where you started, with quotes all over your table that just give you a bloody migraine !

Well this post is maybe a better re starting point for you?
:- )

This question has many components to it, that does tend to do in the heads of the people new to it .
I am going to just put up my idea of perhaps where to start to answer this question in a basic and simple way .
Hopefully this will give you a few clues that will enable you to start the process in your own mind without the need for Panadol .

The first question that gets asked over and over here is how much does it cost ?
Well the answer to that is actually has near nothing to do with that question !
( ok now you just reached for the Bourbon or Panadol ) before I even get started ... lolol

If you are new , you need to take this step by step , without quotes that look like telephone numbers , or advice from me or anyone around you telling you that this is what you need ....

Before you even think about this , you need to go through these steps ..

1/ How much can I afford to spend ? and be honest with yourself !
( this determines some what, the answer to the next question ? )

2 / What are my needs ? and try to be half reasonable and remember you have to pay for this ?
( This answer will be effected by the first question largely ? )

3 / What could I get by with ? Stop and think about how much you could do to cut back on your urban life power use by !
( this will be more than likely wind up determined by the first 2 questions that you just answered )

4 / Then the last question , that is quite a biggie , what will be my choice of gear ?
( that also WILL BE determined mostly by the answers you give above as well ... )

OK you by now, if you have answered the above QUESTIONS to yourself honestly , you will have hit the bottle :- ) , or nailed three cups of tea or coffee to relax. lololol

This is all going well yes? lol, .. but hopefully you at least have not gone and stopped reading and asked more of the experts for quotes that scare the chit out of you because they look like telephone numbers and chosen to can the whole idea !! :- )

OK ... 3 drinks under your belt by now , you have chosen a figure that you can afford ... woohooo ! you are at a good starting point !

Now come the good bits .

1 / Your spend figure determines what size you can install.
2 / Your choice of gear determines how far your cash will go .
3 / Your system size and choice of gear determines what you will be able to run .

So you have read this far and you are still going well and have not had that 4th drink I hope as yet? lolol

Now for the hard yards ..

After you tear up those quotes that you thought you were going to have to deal with along with the therapy cost from the shock , take your spend figure and work out the details one by one ...

You know you possibly cannot afford a 10 KW solar array? , you know you might have to cut back on what you thought you needed ?
But what you do know, is that you now need to look at what you can afford and bloody ignore the rest :- )
( anyone with a bottomless cheque book need to not worry about everything else I have to say :- )

You might now wonder what you can afford ?
You might now wonder how much this gear you need is going to cost ?

1/ Well , Solar at 12 Volts can run basic gear and do most things for near pennies as compared with larger solar system costs usually go ...

2 / Installed gear costs way way more than gear you might be able to help install yourself ?

3/ Brand name gear burns up your budget at a far far greater rate .

4/ The optimum battery bank will eat up a huge chunk of your money available .

5 / Are you prepared for the costs regarding running a Generator back up on a smaller system ?

SO .. a few more questions need to be asked of yourself. ?

1/ Can you do any of the work ? ( mount panels ? , hook a few batteries up ? or just buy the gear yourself ? etc )

2/ Do you only want the best gear ? ( brand name gear is good , but it can cost like poison ! )

3/ Are you ok with batteries that may not be the absolute best on the market atm ? ( Lithium are the best but cost like poison too )

Once you go through a couple of lists like this you should be able to make choices that not only fit the biggest question asked , your budget , but you will know more about how much power you are going to be able to buy ?

I understand that none of this gives you an exact answer to your requirements or wants , but it should give you a starting point to step by step work though the rest of your system details without getting distracted by either huge quotes , or technical detail , that will just give you a huge head ache , if you have not set some parameters first using a step by step list to make sense of all the million options that will be thrown at you .

A few more quick facts based on my own experience .

12V is the lowest cost system no doubt and can and does do near everything that is required these days given what is available in 12 V
12V is not the most efficient but remember , the higher Voltage you go the more it costs generally .!

12V 24V 48V are usually the options given to you and are most commonly used .

As you go up in voltage as I said it will near double the cost of gear every time you jump up , from the equipment needed to the battery banks and panels required ..

Personally , I think using a mix is good , especially if you are on a budget. 12v can be low cost and do all lighting and small pump needs with no trouble , plus take some loads off your second main 240V system ... this may be worth looking into for you ?

I would like other existing OFF GRIDDER members to perhaps just post there basic system spec and ball park costs up , for all to look at as examples of the wide variety of sizes and cost for others to read and assess ..

This will help the new to see that many off gridders use many different systems and get by and are happy at many different levels of power ..

There are no definitive answers to any one Solar question , so all we can do is give you perhaps somewhere to start going through this in a logical manner .

I hope the new members looking at just starting out take the time to read all of this and ask there own questions .

cheers Steve and Kerri :- )