Off-Grid Power Use Form
Before starting the process of designing a system for your off-grid home with solar energy, we need to know your total electricity usage. Employing low-cost and easy-to-implement efficiency measures will help in designing the most cost efficient system. To help us provide recommendations for your system’s type and size, please download and complete the OFF-GRID POWER USE FORM and return your completed form via fax 530.284.6544 or scan and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need to know ALL the loads (electricity uses) that will consume even the smallest amount of power. The best way to do this is to stand in a room (in your mind if it’s not built yet!) and look around at ANYTHING that is plugged in, lighting or is utilizing electricity like a water pump, attic fan, heat tape, anything. Also imagine yourself in the garage, guesthouse, greenhouse, shop, etc. If it uses power, we need to know about it to design your system. In an effort to save you thousands of dollars, we spend the extra time up front designing a specific system for your needs rather than suggest some ballpark sized “kit”. At the end of this process, we will end up with an average daily KWhr consumption for your home that we all agree on.
Designing an off-grid solar electric system generally means making thoughtful choices with your electrical appliances, lighting, etc. You can be frugal by choosing not to have a hot tub or a 60” flat screen TV with 16 speakers or a 28 cubic foot frig with water and ice in the door. If you have to have A/C, consider an evaporative cooler. Most things that heat (EG water heater, range, oven, clothes dryer, hot tub, portable space heater) are usually powered with propane. A solar electric system is quite capable of powering these appliances, but at a significantly higher cost. Some of the above can be included without too much change in system size, but must be discussed ahead of time.
It is highly recommended that the appliances you choose be Energy Star rated. It has been shown that on average, the extra dollar you spend on an Energy Star appliance will save you $3-4 in the cost of your system… it’s a good investment. Don’t worry about filling in the ‘watts’ column on the Power Use Form.
Feel free to ask questions about any aspect of this design process.