Grid power vs Off-Grid Energy mindsets

Most of us have grown up with a reliable mains grid we can plug any amount of items into, and have essentially unlimited power - as long as we have the money to pay the electricity bill! However, it’s a bit like putting your credit card behind the bar on a night out, this might be convenient at the time, but it’s not good for your/the planet’s health or your wallet in the long run! When you generate your own power off-grid you need a slightly different mindset. Whilst the energy which comes from the sun is substantial and free of charge it does have limits. You need to think in terms of budgeting your energy; being mindful of how much energy you have coming in, what you have saved in your energy bank and what you need to use.

Energy ebb and flow

It can help to think of it as a bucket of energy, the sun pours energy in and you can draw out what you need. If that’s more than the sun is providing at that point, you’ll draw some from energy you stored earlier; if the sun is producing more than you need at that point, then it can top up the battery storage for you to use later. As you would expect good energy saving practices like switching off things you’re not using and avoiding leaving T.V.s and laptops on standby are all things all off-grid energy users need to embrace, particularly in Winter when sunlight is limited.

Help is at hand

The Ark’s assistant, Bob, will help you keep track of your usage and advise you if the energy you are using is going to be excessive in the long term. Bob will help you manage your energy use and make sure you’ve got power when you need it.

It all adds up

Power use accumulates so if you are using multiple low power devices, all drawing power at the same time, this can add up to one large load. As you might expect there is a limit on how much power you can draw at any one time; you can think of this as the size of the outlet pipe from the bucket (you’ll only be able to use what can fit through that pipe at any one time). The more you open up that tap/power your appliances demand, the faster you’ll empty your bucket. Bob will always show you how close you are to maximum power so you can make informed choices about which electrical items to prioritise. Bob will prompt you if you are using too much power and, if necessary, will warn you and shut down sockets for your protection.

Electrical heating

Whatever off-grid solar generation system you have, anything that converts electricity into heat will gobble up your precious solar electricity at a high rate. Got example, An electric air heater uses a lot of power over a long period of time, quickly eating into your energy reserves. So if you want off-grid space heating it is more effective to use a non-electrical power source and save your solar electricity for all the other things you want to power. If you do want to heat your off-grid space, take a look at our Hades heater that can provide all your off-grid heating needs without draining your solar energy.

To find out what the Ark can do, take a look at our "What do I need to know?" guide here