Off-grid

When you live off-grid, your home functions independently, without relying on national supply. This includes electricity from the national grid, gas from mains pipelines for heat, and even water sources that are from non-public utility supply.

I think living off-grid appeals to people who want to be completely self-sufficient. I care passionately about our own impact on the environment, and I do want to be free of energy bills for life.

Picture of my off-grid cottage.

My solution is based on being partly off-grid since I use gas for water heating and for the kitchen oven. But all the electricity is solar-based, and the heating is based on wood from my own propriety. I have my own water supply. All the water is pumped from 120 meters below ground.

My battery bank number 2.

My complete infrastructure

The sketch below shows the complete infrastructure.

Infrastructure (battery, inverters, regulators and solar panel).

My batteries

I have three different battery banks (1, 2, and 3).

Bank 1NARDA (valve regulated lead acid) – 12NDT190 x 12
Bank 2 GNB (valve regulated lead acid) – M12V155 x 12
Bank 3 Monbat VRLA battery – 12MONBAT200 x 4
The different battery brands.
TemperaturEqualization voltage
015.15
515:00
1014.85
1514.70
2014.55
Battery specifications for bank 3.
TemperaturEqualization voltage
015.15
515:00
1014.85
1514.70
2014.55
Battery specifications for bank 2.
TemperaturEqualization voltage
015.45
515:00
1014.85
1514.70
2014.55
Battery specifications for bank 3.
  • Total number of batteries: 12+12+4=28
  • Total number of Ah: (12 x 190 + 12 x 155 + 4 x 200)= 2280 + 1860 + 800 =4940 Ah
  • Total number of kWh: 4940 x 12/1000 = 60 KWh
  • Total numbers of solar panel: 16
  • Peak input (16 x 300 watt): 4800 watt

My solar panels and solar charge controller

My solar panel has a capacity of 250–320 watts, with an average of 300 watts.

Solar panel placed on the veranda.

The solar panels are placed south-west.

Solar panel placed on the wall.
Solar panels on the roof (using butyltape and asphalt board)

All the solar panels are connected to a solar charge controller, also known as a solar regulator, which is essentially a solar battery charger connected between the solar panels and the battery. Its job is to regulate the battery charging process and ensure the battery is charged correctly, or more importantly, not over-charged. In the picture below, you can see different types of solar charge controllers connected to the battery bank 1.

Different solar charge controller
Morningstar TS-60, solcelleregulator 60A
Morningstar 60 A
SRNE MPPT ML4860, laderegulator 60A

SRNE MPPT ML4860
MPPT Solar Charge Controller (EPSolar)

My different inverters

The inverter converts the direct current voltage to alternating current voltage. In most cases, the input DC voltage (12, 24, or 48) is usually lower while the output AC is equal to the grid supply (230 V). In the picture below, you see one of my inverters (Victron).

Victron inverter

You will find the manual for the Victron product here.

You will find the manual for the epever product her.

Clean Sinus inverter

Load on inverters

The maximum load on the inverters is 3000 watts (bank 1 and bank 2).

Check list for using the washing-machine

Fill up water first using the pump:

  1. Change to inverter A (switch facing battery bank 2).
  2. Turn the fuse for “water pump” to on for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the fuse “for water pump” off.
  4. Change to inverter B (switch facing to battery bank 1 =right side = same side as the sauna)
  5. Press the red button on the power cable which is connected to the washing machine.
  6. Start the quick-program on the washing-machine
  7. Turn off the red button when the washing is done.

Do not use the dishwasher or the vacuum cleaner when the washing machine is working.

Check list for using the dishwasher

Fill up water first using the pump:

  1. Change to inverter A (switch facing battery bank 2).
  2. Turn the fuse for “water pump” on for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the fuse “for water pump” off.
  4. Change to inverter B (switch facing to battery bank 1 =right side = same side as the sauna)
  5. Start the fast-program for the dishwasher

Do not use the washing machine or the vacuum cleaner when the dishwasher is working.

Checking the electricity on bank 1:

  1. Please connect to SSID=enge.
  2. Start your browser (PC, mobile).
  3. Input URL=192.168.1.3
  4. See “Live View”.
  5. Battery voltage should be over 12.7 (See sketch = bank 1).

Checking the electricity on bank 2:

  1. Check the console on bank 2.
  2. Press the esc-button beside the screen.
  3. The screen down to your right should show battery voltage over 25.4 (See sketch =bank 2).

Bank 1

Bank 2

Save electricity

  1. Always turn off devices (lights, chargers) which are not in use.
  2. Before you go to sleep, turn off all devices (not the Internet and the fridge).
    1. Washing machine/dishwasher
    2. TV/receivers
    3. Light/chargers
    4. Fuse to the attic