Off-grid living has tremendously grown in popularity over the last few years. Many are flipping the switch on the big power companies and enjoying the fruits of their home grown kilowatts. In doing so they are saving a lot of money on the power they use and are becoming experts in power demand and supply. Knowing exactly how much power is on hand, what it will take or how long it will take to generate more power and how much power is being used by appliances is a great big plus. Most folks know the math functions to use when they wish to convert amps to watts. Volts x Amps = Watts (ohms law), those who don’t know it should brush up.
As the idea of off-grid living continues to spread many are concerned about pricing and natural supply. Wind energy only works when the wind is blowing and solar energy only works when the sun is shining. These are valid concerns and the answers are generally the same. Use both!
In the evening when the sun is going down until a few hours after dark the wind seems to pick up just a bit. When the sun is hiding behind storm clouds the wind is surely blowing. Most times when there is little to no breeze it is usually because the sun is bathing the earth in energy.
Generally speaking; a battery bank shouldn’t be too costly. So, bulk up when building an off-grid system. Off-grid living doesn’t mean living without the comforts we’re all used to. Most systems will have the ability to provide 240V, 120V and 12V power. So what’s the best way to use the power? The answer is simple, 12 Volt. The reason is that the system generates 12 volt and stores it in the battery bank. The inverter system is what uses the 12 volt battery bank to produce 240V or 120V.
Most power inverters are only 92% - 96% efficient at best. There are inverters out there that much closer to 100% efficient but most folks can’t afford them or just refuse to pay the price. An efficiency rating of 96% means that the inverter is drawing 4% more power than it needs and is throwing it away. The best solution is to use the stored power in its true form, 12 Volt. As the demand for already existing 12 volt products grows, so does the variety of items available.
Items intended for 12 volt use usually require fewer watts than equivalent conventional 120V items. 12 volt products such as kitchen appliances, entertainment items and personal grooming items are just a few ideas of what to look for. These are in supply but tough to find. Being that these 12 volt products will draw and use only the power that they need to operate the system will be much more efficient.