When thinking about off-grid power, it is important to separate the concepts of ‘storing’ off-grid power, and ‘creating’ off-grid power. Getting off-grid portable power requires both.
In this article, we outline both concepts, and the practical considerations you need to consider to effectively get reliable and sustainable off-grid power.
Creating Power Off Grid
When we talk about creating power off-grid or generating power off-grid, what we actually talking about is converting One form of energy to another. There are multiple ways that you can create, or generate, off-grid power and all of them essentially involves taking one type of energy and converting it to another.
For example, if we think about solar panels comma solar panels are a great way to generate, create, or catch electricity when we are off-grid. But what is actually happening with solar panels is that we are using the photovoltaic cells to convert the energy transmitted from sunlight, into electricity.
Likewise, when we use a portable diesel or petrol-powered generator, we are using the fuel to run a small combustion engine, and the generator then converts that mechanical energy, into electrical energy.
It does not matter how you look at it creating power off-grid, is just a process of converting one type of energy to another, in this case, electricity, and the two main ways you can do that when you’re off-grid is with solar panels or a generator.
When you are off-grid creating electricity is 1 part of the problem, but you also need a way to store electricity for those times that you need it, when you are not actively creating it.
Storing Power Off Grid
When it comes to storing electricity when you are off-grid, this typically means some type of battery.
There are multiple different types of batteries that you can use to store power off-grid. The basic principle is that you fill the battery with electricity which you can then draw down as you need it even when the sun is not shining, or you are not running a generator.
Products that are designed to meet this need include things such as battery boxes, portable power stations, and power banks.
These battery products typically include a way to easily access the power Inside the battery. The containers are equipped with 12-volt power connectors, sometimes inverters (to get 240-volt power), and a range of other electrical ports that you may need when you are off-grid.
Using batteries, you can charge them up and then take that power would you, which is another way to successfully get off-grid power.
A 12v power station gives you the capability of transporting power from one place to another place, where power may be harder, or impossible to access.
Having Success With Off Grid Power
If you only require small amounts of power at very targeted times when you are off-grid, then something like a portable generator could be a very good solution. You can turn the generator on and off whenever you need and you are guaranteed to get power for as long as you can provide fuel to the generator.
But if you are lucky to require power for multiple devices (camping fridges etc.) that will need to be drawn throughout the day, over a long period of time, then you are likely to require some type of battery system.
The ultimate solution is to have a battery box or power station that you fully charge before you leave your grid-powered environment, and then top that up while you’re off-grid with solar power to the maximum extent you can, and have a portable generator on standby in case you draw more power than you were able to top up with the solar panel.
Most people, in most off-grid situations, can survive quite well with just a portable power station and a solar panel to top it up. But your ability to do this will depend on how many devices you have connected to the portable power station, how often they’re being connected, how much power they draw, and how long.